(Adds comment from TLC commissioner)
By Bernard Vaughan
NEW YORK, June 10 New York City's plan to create
a uniform taxi fleet with cabs from Nissan Motor Co won
approval from a state appeals court on Tuesday, which overturned
a lower court ruling that had struck down the initiative.
The "Taxi of Tomorrow" initiative developed by the New York
City Taxi and Limousine Commission is "a legally appropriate
response to the agency's statutory obligation to produce a 21st
century taxicab consistent with the broad interests ... that the
agency is charged with protecting," Justice David Saxe wrote for
a 3-1 majority of the Manhattan-based appeals court.
In 2011, Nissan won a 10-year contract worth $1 billion to
provide its Nissan NV200 cabs, a fuel-efficient minivan with the
potential to convert to full electric power. The plan was
challenged by Evgeny Freidman, a major city fleet operator, and
the Greater New York Taxi Association, which claimed the
commission could not force taxi operators to buy specific
Last October, a state supreme court justice ruled that the
TLC had overstepped its authority. [ID: nL1N0HY28R]
Saxe concluded that the city's charter granted the TLC
"far-reaching control," and said the agency "carried out its
assigned mission with an exacting process lasting from 2007 to
2011 ... to ensure a final decision that would best satisfy taxi
passengers, owners, and drivers, as well as the general public."
The appeals court also said concerns about the NV200 being a
"non-hybrid, non-handicap-accessible vehicle" do not justify
rejecting the TLC decision, noting that the NV200 can be
"We are still reviewing the ruling and its implications,
especially in view of the potential for further appeal," TLC
commissioner Meera Joshi said in a statement. "Certainly, we are
gratified by this latest decision upholding the TLC's regulatory
Nissan spokesman Travis Parman said the Japanese company is
pleased with the decision.
Lawyers for the taxi association were not immediately
available for comment. A representative for the New York City
Law Department was also not immediately available for comment.
When the contract was awarded, Nissan officials said they
expected to provide as many as 26,000 vehicles to the city's
taxi fleet over the deal's lifetime.
(Reporting by Bernard Vaughan; Editing by Jonathan Stempel,
Gunna Dickson and David Gregorio)