Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a cab driver? Yeah, me neither.
Since legal woes have stopped Nissan’s plans of being the exclusive NYC taxi provider, plans for educating the public about the company’s next generation Taxi has hit full stride. Nissan’s marketing team has deployed a #HailYes campaign encouraging New Yorkers to choose their cab over the competition.
In conjunction with that effort, Nissan let us borrow one of their new NYC Taxis. For 2 days I found myself captain of a bright yellow Nissan NV200. There was only one thing I could do; head off to the city to test out the ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ and pretend I am a real taxicab driver. Albeit one that has no idea where he is going or what he is doing.
Excited and energetic to make a few extra bucks I hit the road… and quickly discovered I had a serious problem. The NV200 taxi comes with everything you need to run your own cab business, minus 4 crucial items.
First, the Passenger Information Module (or PIM for short) is basically the TV that shows you advertisements for the city’s hot attractions as you speed to your destination. Actually, the screen is there, it just flashes ‘no signal’ at start-up, then goes blank. I don’t think my customers will mind a non functioning PIM.
Second item missing is the DIM, or Driver Information Module. The meter that sits on the dash is the device that counts the miles and calculates the amount to charge. Who needs a DIM anyways? I’ll just use the tripometer and a calculator.
The third item missing is the credit card reader. A spot for it is there and it even looks like it would work, but no luck. My handy phone has a credit card reader, and I could always accept cash. Hopefully no one will ask about my operator license. “Hi, I’m David Klahr. Where to?”
Fourth and most devastating, I discovered that the Medallion was not actually real. What did I expect? New York City taxicab medallions cost upwards of 1 million dollars. Besides, a NYC medallion wasn’t going to help me in New Hampshire anyway. I would not be able to pick up passengers and charge them a fair. Well, not legally. Just like that my dreams were squashed.
Cruising around town in the NV200 was comfortable thanks to a 6-way adjustable captain’s chair and plenty of legroom. Credit that to an industry first bullet proof partition that was designed and crash tested from the factory, rather than a space hogging aftermarket add-on. Yes, thats right, I said bulletproof.
Behind the wheel, the taxi drives almost identical to the NV200 Cargo van, so nothing interesting there. Powered by the same 2.0l inline 4 and xtronic CVT, the NV200 is adequately powered. A veteran cab driver used to a crown vic may completely disagree with me on that. This transmission and engine combination achieves 24mpg city and combined. Fuel efficient vehicles are cheaper to operate and make for a cleaner city ta boot.
Inside you find loads of new gadgets for the driver such as touch-screen navigation, bluetooth, and steering wheel controls for both audio and cruise control. Can your crown vic do that?
Another common sense item is an intercom system allowing the driver and passenger to still hear each other despite the partition. Both driver and passengers have the ability to turn off the system if they choose, so privacy can be retained.
Seatbelt buckles and handles are bright yellow so they can be quickly found. The box cab is roomy and gives a lot more legroom than you are used to having. Passengers have their own HVAC controls and USB ports are also available for charging. Like most USB ports in vehicles these days, they are not powerful enough to keep up with my power hungry smart phone. Dont expect to grab a quick charge, rather just be happy you’ve stopped it from depleting so fast.
I drove around Concord on main street for over an hour but not a single person hailed me. Confused looks and double takes where plentiful, but that ultimately didn’t convert to a single customer. Next time I think I will hang ‘Free Taxi’ signs on the side.
Without any clients my first experience as a taxi driver was comfortable but utterly boring. Strictly speaking as a passenger, I preferred the NV200 hands down over every other taxi I’ve ever been in.
The next time you are in New York city consider giving a #HailYes and go for a ride in Nissan’s Taxi of Tomorrow. Then leave us a comment and let us know what you thought.