NEW YORK – The first Ford Transit Connect Taxis in New York City are now in service and soon will be joined by hundreds more as orders and interest soar for the versatile vehicle.
The initial Transit Connect Taxis are part of the first order for the vehicle in New York City following the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission’s approval of it for use in the Big Apple. The new units feature the iconic “NYC Taxi” painted in black on the two front doors.
More than 400 Transit Connect Taxis are destined for New York City. Total orders for Transit Connect Taxis across the United States are fast approaching 1,000 in its first year on the market. The new taxi market in the U.S. averages about 6,000 units.
“Taxi operators are realizing the Transit Connect Taxi is a great vehicle and there’s a good reason – they helped us develop it,” said Len Deluca, director, Ford Commercial Trucks. “During product development, we visited cities across the U.S. speaking with taxi owners, operators, drivers and city officials on the key product attributes they wanted in a taxi.”
The result is today’s Ford Transit Connect Taxi, a vehicle that has been winning over customers from coast to coast.
“I drove it personally and found it to be a lot more comfortable than any other taxi I’ve ever driven,” said Chris Harisopoulos, general manager, McGuinness Management. “The roominess is another great thing about this vehicle, both for passengers and drivers, along with its overall durability. It’s just a great taxi.”
Cities where taxicab company operators have ordered Transit Connect Taxis in addition to New York include Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, St. Louis, Tampa, Fla., Orlando, Fla., Hartford, Conn. and West Haven, Conn.
“We are pleased the Transit Connect Taxi is delivering what customers need all across the country,” said Deluca.
In addition to being approved for use by the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission, Transit Connect Taxi has been approved by governing agencies in Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston – cities that require taxis to meet certain requirements.
The vehicle also 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.
“The Transit Connect Taxi provides the necessary durability needed for the harshest of conditions, from the desert-like conditions of Las Vegas to extreme New England winters,” said Larry Gach, sales manager, Ford Commercial Truck Sales and Marketing.
The open architecture of the Transit Connect Taxi provides excellent interior headroom and passenger visibility, and – with 6.5 inches of ground clearance – passengers step easily through the sliding doors. The rear door opening is 50.2 inches wide at the floor and has a height of 52.1 inches.
The Transit Connect Taxi is certified to Ford Light Commercial Vehicle Durability Standards while suspension components and the underbody structure have passed requirements for potholes and curbs. The 39-foot turning diameter makes it easier to handle tight spots.
The standard Ford Transit Connect – 2010 North American Truck of the Year – features a 2.0-liter I-4 engine that gets 22 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, an improvement of about 30 percent compared with traditional taxis.
Transit Connect Taxi is available with an engine preparation package for conversion to compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied propane gas (LPG). Both CNG and LPG lower taxi fleets’ operating costs and are better for the environment.