The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission have
passed new regulations prohibit the use of Lexus taxi cabs because they are
The city of New York has over 13,000 cabs in
operation, where the Ford Crown Victoria reigns supreme accounting for more
than half of the city's taxis. But that is about to change since the Taxi and
Limousine Commission just selected the Nissan
NV200 as the Taxi of Tomorrow, which is an effort to encourage
the adoption of environmentally friendly vehicles.
Despite New York's plan to integrate hybrid
vehicles into the taxi system until all the cabs are hybrids, there is a
certain hybrid vehicle that doesn't make the cut: the
Out of 13,000 cabs cruising NY city streets, only
six of them are Lexus models. These hybrid models are the Lexus RX 400h or the
RX 450h, and they cost over $40,000 per vehicle.
The Lexus taxi first came about in 2006 when a
taxi fleet was testing these particular models. These vehicles were modified
for taxi use with additions like roof lights, a camera and of course, a yellow
Cliff Adler was the first to drive a Lexus taxi.
He then persuaded his friend Samuel Pekoh to drive one as well.
Later, four more Lexus taxi drivers were added to
the list, including Sushil Maggoo, Neil Newmark, Shmuel Poper and Ilya
Together, these six cab drivers make up an elite
force of Lexus
enthusiasts, and care for their vehicles very much. Customers are not to
slam their doors or put their bags on the leather seats, but it's the extra care
that draws customers to these luxury vehicles. The drivers have sometimes
received tips as much as 50 to 100 percent of the cab fare, and a couple of the
men even mentioned driving their kids to school in style using their Lexus
In a city full of $28,000 Crown Victoria's
whipping around street corners and battling loads of traffic, one might wonder
why a cabbie would pay so much money for a Lexus cab. The cab drivers note that
they do not make more money in fares and tips, but rather, they bought the
vehicles for two reasons: individuality and health.
There are thousands of yellow
cabs on the streets of New York, so cabbies are constantly trying to make
their cars stick out and attract more business. Most of the time, cab drivers
use bumper stickers to stand out amongst the crowd, but with a Lexus, Newmark
notes that the unique factor is a no-brainer.
"A cab driver is dying for
individuality," said Newmark. "I sort of feel like a celebrity."
Lexus cabs also offer a more comfortable ride,
which is important for physical health when cabbies are driving over deep
potholes and sitting in traffic for long periods of time. Newmark, in
particular, notes that the Lexus' smooth ride helps him manage knee pain.
In addition, the six Lexus drivers noted that
their vehicles require less maintenance than most other hybrid vehicles.
But recently, the NY Taxi and Limousine Commission
passed regulations that forbid the Lexus taxicab from roaming New York City
streets. The reason for this ban is because the vehicle are "too
Of course, the Lexus cab drivers disagree with the
Taxi and Limousine Commission, and hope their vehicles will be grandfathered
into the hybrid
"If I'm willing to spend the money on a
Lexus, why won't they let me?" said Mr. Newmark.
As of right now, the Lexus cabbies plan to enjoy
the time they have left with their vehicles until they must be retired. Cabs
are typically retired after a three to seven year period depending on the
vehicle, but a Lexus cab has a six-year cab life. Adler will have to retire his
vehicle next year, and Atanelov, who was the most recent Lexus cab buyer, said
he plans to retire along with his Lexus when the time comes.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission plans to clear
out most varieties of cabs in anticipation of the newly adopted Nissan NV200.
quote: They just spend it on anything BUT the roads.
quote: They need to just pick a fuel efficiency target and just let anyone buy any cab they want that meets that target. This is a huge waste of time and money.
quote: The Nissan does 25MPG; the Lexus is rated at 30MPG! Even if it's only 20-25MPG in practice....