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Mean Streets

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Turkish company Karsan, a candidate to provide the city’s Taxi of Tomorrow, showed its glass-roofed prototype to reporters last week, a ploy meant to highlight its memorable design and the panoramic views from its passenger seats. A more important consideration for the TLC as it weighs the three finalists: choosing a model that stands up as well as the discontinued Crown Vic to the singular abuse a New York cab takes.

Bumped Around

24 %
Portion of nation’s “major metropolitan roads” that are in poor condition, according to a study by transportation-research firm TRIP

53%
Portion of New York metro-area roads that are in poor condition

“The roads are horrible, especially the crosstown streets,” says cabdriver and Lebanese native Charbel Sfeir. By comparison, “Lebanon is a poor country, but the roads are not bad.”


24 Hours in the Life of a Taxi

9,300
Times a typical cab brakes each day

175
Miles the typical cab is driven per day

90
Times per day the typical cab’s rear doors are opened and closed


Why the Crown Vic Endured
Most cars have a unibody construction that crumples upon impact in a way that makes repairs costly. The Crown Vic is built like a Lego set. “A Crown Vic can get into an accident that would put most cars in the junkyard, and they can put it up, separate the frame, and the next day the vehicle’s on the road again,” says Schenkman. And with over 1.5 million Crown Vics sold since 1992, spare parts have been widely available.


Permits issued per year allowing Con Ed, National Grid, Verizon, et al. to rip up city pavement: 200,000


A Conversation With Former Assistant TLC Commissioner Peter Schenkman:

P.S.:The NYC Department of Transportation has a division called HIQA—Highway Inspection and Quality Assurance—that is supposed to make sure that potholes are not left when someone digs up the street.

New York:Do they do a good job of that?

P.S.:What do you think?


The Cautionary Tale

1980
Year MTA added 851 new Grumman Flxible buses to its fleet

$89M
Amount it spent on the acquisition

1983
Year by which the buses were entirely out of commission owing to cracks in their undercarriages and other durability issues

$40M
Amount the manufacturers paid the city in a settlement

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