Since 1970 New York cabs have been required to be painted bright ‘taxi-yellow’ as Lands’ End might name the color. But at the moment that is about the only thing that distinguishes one of the city’s more ubiquitous transportation modes for New Yorkers. Today New York City taxis can be sedans, minivans or sport utility vehicles, but all that is about to change. On Monday of this week Mayor Bloomberg revealed the three finalists in the competition for the ultimate design of the only car model which will be officially recognized as a New York City cab.
Not since the glory days of the famed Checker cab has the look of the streets of New York been so homogeneous. And perhaps it is not a coincidence that all three offerings on the finalist menu resemble that nostalgic, oblong, bulky and roomy look of those Checkers of by-gone days.
New Yorkers can expect to begin seeing the winning design on their city streets in 2014, when the city’s fleet of more than 13,000 cabs will be the exclusive domain of the winning manufacturer for at least the following ten years. Estimates from taxi representatives say the contract is worth upwards of one billion dollars.
With so much money at stake, as well as the aesthetics of New York’s general ambiance, it is no wonder that the mayor seems to be hesitating.
“Each is promising, but none is perfect” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said of the design entries. “We are not obliged to go with anything if it does not meet our needs.”