Ach, Turkey! Is This the Taxi of Tomorrow?

karsan taxi Ach, Turkey! Is This the Taxi of Tomorrow?Back in November, the city announced it would be replacing the iconic Crown Victoria with the first-ever purpose-built yellow cab. It released a questionnaire seeking input on what New Yorkers want from their new cab, as well as seeking votes on which of three designs–from Ford, Nissan and Turkish light-truck manufacturer Karsan–people preferred. Last week, the results of the survey were released, and today Karsan trumpeted the news that nearly 2/3s of the voters like their model, the most unusual of the three for sure. This was compared to 42 percent that liked the Nissan and 38 percent that liked the Ford. (The question was “yes-or-no,” not “pick a favorite.”)

A spokesman for the Taxi and Limousine Commission cautioned that the voters are merely advisory, but they will “certainly inform the committee’s decision.” A decision is expected in the next month or two.

If this seems like a loss for American manufacturing, it actually turns out that the Ford model would also be built in Turkey, and the Nissan in Mexico. But don’t complain too much, because those iconic Crown Vics have been designed in Quebec for years now. God bless NAFTA.

What is really interesting, though, is the results of the survey [.PDF]. Of the 22,600 people who responded, 41 percent take the taxi weekly while a quarter do so daily, and 52 percent of riders find their trips to be average, compared to 3 percent who call it excellent, 31 percent very good, and 12 percent poor. People’s favorite thing about cabs is the ability to pay with a credit card (59 percent–remember when that was a big deal?) followed by the ease of hailing one (31 percent–remember when that was a big deal?) and that it is faster than the subway or the bus (30 percent–that is still a big deal).

Not surprisingly the biggest complaints were that taxis are too expensive (39 percent) and that Taxi TV is annoying (30 percent).

SLIDESHOW: The Taxis of Tomorrow–And Yesteryear. >>

mchaban [at] observer.com | @mc_nyo