Starting today, new rules require owners of yellow cab to switch to the Nissan NV-200 minivans when they retire their current cars. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed this report.
The so-called taxi of tomorrow is now the cab of the today.
Starting Tuesday, new yellow cabs hitting the streets must be Nissan mini-vans manufactured according to uniform city standards.
"I think they're fine as long as they get you where you need to go safely," one New Yorker says.
Passengers we spoke with don't seem to mind the city shift to what looks like a box on wheels.
What you'll find inside: lots of leg room and space for luggage.
"More room. If you got suitcases it's easier," says one man.
Each vehicle will also have back seat airbags, air conditioning controls and sliding windows—but it's the sliding doors the drivers like.
"I have a whole bunch of bicycle bumping into my door everyday. That problem won't be happening on the sliding door," one driver says.
More than 750 mini-vans are already on the road. Thousands will be added each year at a cost of about $30,000 each.
Herzenberg: "What do you think of it?"
Driver: "I like it it's good."
The taxi of tomorrow was a pet project of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The Taxi and Limousine Commission awarded the bid to Nissan valued at a billion dollars—but there was a bitter fight.
Evironmentalists tried to put the brakes on it, demanding more hybrids that use electricity.
Disability advocates complained that the new cabs would have to be converted to acommodate wheelchairs.
"And we want this issue looked at—is this the safest, best vehicle?" says one advocate.
The city eventually won in court.
Cab owners have the option of choosing models that are hybrids or wheelchair accessible.
Some critics say the Taxi of tomorrow might soon become the cab of yesterday because of the rapid changes forced on the industry by app-hailing services like Uber.