If you were looking forward to seeing New York get a completely new line of hybrid cabs in the coming months, get ready for some disappointment. Justice Shlomo Hagler of the state Supreme Court in Manhattan struck a ruling on Tuesday that NY taxi companies don’t need to abide by the Taxi of Tomorrow purchase agreement to replace their entire fleets with Nissan’s NV200 vans. The decision potentially blocks one of outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s most far-reaching taxi-business reforms just weeks before it would take effect on October 28th.
The legal battle between the Greater New York Taxi Association representing cabbies and New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission has been ensuing since the very start of the taxi program over a year ago. The Commission and Mayor Bloomberg have been arguing to replace all current, non-hybrid taxis – including the ailing fleet of Ford Crown Victorias that have been in use since the early 90s – with Nissan NV200s over the next three to five years. The cab drivers, meanwhile, have been fighting back calling the Taxi of Tomorrow requirements a gross overreach of the city and filed a lawsuit against it.
Justice Hagler rejected the mayor’s Taxi of Tomorrow initiative, stating in his decision that “the power to contract and compel medallion owners to purchase the Nissan NV200 from Nissan for ten years does not exist in the City Charter,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Things, however, could still change in the future.