Picture yourself saying, “Let me tell you about the fantastic taxi experience I had today!” Thanks to Ford, you might just say that the next time you hail a taxi in New York City, and we think that the taxi drivers themselves may also offer up some praise. The first Ford Transit Connect Taxis are now in service there and are part of an initial order for the vehicle following the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission’s approval for their use in the city.
Now, how can we be certain the Transit Connect Taxis will make life grand for taxi drivers, too? Because they helped to develop the vehicle! Ford visited cities across the U.S. to speak with drivers, owners and city officials about what they wanted, and the feedback on the final product has ranged from comfortable and roomy to durable and “great.”
Headroom, visibility and easier passenger entry and exit through the sliding doors are among the vehicle’s assets. A 39-foot turning diameter takes the pressure off drivers, making it easier to handle tight spots, and the 2.0-liter inline-four engine gets an estimated 22 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, an improvement of about 30 percent compared to traditional taxis. The Transit Connect Taxi is also available with an engine prep package for converting to compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied propane gas (LPG).
More than 400 of the Transit Connects are headed to NYC (total orders across the United States are approaching 1,000 in its first year on the market). Cities where taxicab company operators have ordered Transit Connect Taxis in addition to New York include Los Angeles, Las Vegas, St. Louis, Tampa, Fla., Orlando, Fla., Hartford, Conn. and West Haven, Conn.
Transit Connect Taxi also has been approved by governing agencies in Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston, cities that require taxis to meet certain requirements. Additionally, it has been approved for use at Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and at San Francisco International Airport by the SFO Airport Commission.