Janet Lee

Janet Lee
Photo:Janet Lee, injured by a taxi partition.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Hybrid Taxis for NYC. Just Say No? By Edward Niedermeyer on October 9, 2008

Marketwatch reports that Honda and Toyota are warning against using their hybrid vehicles as taxi cabs, on safety concerns. Ford, GM and Nissan have also refused to certify the crashworthiness of their hybrid vehicles as hire cars. The story starts with an August 29 letter, sent from the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), asking automakers to certify that their hybrids or alternative fuel vehicles are manufacturer-approved to be used as taxicabs and safe when modified with partitions and other TLC requirements. This letter in turn came from a Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade (MTBT) legal challenge to TLC’s mandate that all new NY taxis be hybrids or other vehicles that achieve 25 miles-per-gallon. Citing a 2008 engineer’s report that finds hybrids to be unsafe and unfit as New York City taxicabs, the MTBT have held up TLC’s mandate in court, and now that automakers won’t certify their safety, the TLC mandate may be DOA. 

Issues over safety partitions and their interaction with side-curtain airbags and other safety equipment prevent automakers from certifying the safety of their hybrids when modified for taxi use. 

Since nobody crash-tests hybrids modified with safety partitions, nobody will take any legal responsibility for them, and thus they may well die on the vine.

Meanwhile, in less hellishly violent corners of this great nation, cabbies are turning to hybrids with enthusiasm. As long as you don’t need several inches of bulletproof glass between you and your customers, hybrids are a safe, efficient choice for taxis.


Nobody NEEDS a partition in a taxi. 

WE certainly don't need the design flaws.

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