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Good Taxis

13

Comments

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,578
    Maybe Ford wants to discourage using the Taurus for taxi service, since it would hurt its image.

    That's a shame, because the 500...er, Taurus, would actually make an excellent taxi. Its trunk is actually larger than the Crown Vic's! As far as back seat comfort goes, the new Taurus seems almost limousine-like with regards to legroom. Much better than the Crown Vic, IMO. Plus, you have larger door openings, less of a center hump, etc. Now shoulder room is a couple inches tighter than the Crown Vic, so I guess it's a tossup. Two big people would be more comfortable in the back of the Taurus, but three short people would be a bit better off in the Crown Vic.

    The only area I thought the 500/Taurus came up short in was legroom up front. Seemed a bit tight for my tastes, but then I am kind of tall. Probably more than adequate for most people.

    I'd imagine that a Crown Vic could still take a harder pounding than a Taurus could, though. So when pressed into abusive taxi service, it might hold up longer, and be cheaper to operate in the long run. Still, as big, beefy cars of that type become more and more scarce, I see all sorts of other cars being pressed into taxi service, so maybe they can take it, too?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    One place the Crown Vic will shine over many other cars is cost to repair after a collision. Insurance should be cheaper than a lot of smaller cars. Crumple zones are a major expense in a minor collision.
  • writerwriter Posts: 116
    Would a driver let a passenger in the front seat of a cab in New York? I would not expect that. Cab drivers get attacked some times. If not, then the Crown Vic is only a 3 seater in normal cab use.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    Most of my cab riding was in Anchorage. I always jumped in the front seat. I guess it is not as uncivilized in Alaska as in NY. I do think it would be hard to get more than one in the front seat with all the stuff a cabby has laying up there.

    It will be interesting to see how people take to smaller taxi cabs like the Prius. They were very popular in Victoria BC.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    I observed on numerous occasions that taxi drivers in Europe, and also Asia, are not as rough on their cars as U.S. drivers are. There's a notable difference, on average. They may drive faster, but they have more respect for their cars. I don't know whether this is largely due to the difference in the price of fuel or to cultural reasons, but it occurred to me that driving style may be a key factor in the vehicles that are used as taxis, and a key component to increasing the fuel efficiency of our taxi fleet.

    Would gas guzzling Crown Vics be so popular - indeed, could they be justified - if drivers abused their cars less, by driving more gently? Not slower, necessarily; just more gently.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,578
    Would gas guzzling Crown Vics be so popular - indeed, could they be justified - if drivers abused their cars less, by driving more gently? Not slower, necessarily; just more gently.

    I dunno...that's an interesting thought. Do the taxi drivers in Europe own their own cars, or do they tend to be owned by the company? In the United States, there actually seems to be a mix. I had a friend in college whose father moonlighted as a Cabbie, for Yellow Cabs I think it was (black cars with yellow doors). He always used his own cars, which would be painted company colors. I remember him having an '83 or so Electra, and then trying to work on a Versailles, of all cars, to get it ready for service, but soon after buying an '86 or so Town Car that he was getting ready to put into service. Last time I saw my friend's Dad about 3 years ago, there was a late 90's Town Car taxi in his driveway, so I'm guessing he's still doing it.

    Seems to me that if you're using your own car, you'd be more gentle on it. But then, maybe that's one reason why these guys would get these cheap, sturdy, durable battlecruisers...so that they COULD abuse them, and could just get by as cheaply as possible. In those days, when gas was cheap, I doubt if a more economical taxi would have paid for itself simply in fuel savings, but today, with higher gas prices, it just might.

    Aren't cars typically more expensive in Europe, when compared to a typical person's salary? If so, that could be one reason the cabbies treat them better. If they're using their own cars, they want them to last, or if they're company cars, maybe the company gives them a lot of grief if they abuse them?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    I am not sure about cabs. I have used Cloud 9 shuttle to the airport many times. The drivers tell me the Chevy full size vans go 400,000+ miles before being replaced. Ford Vans rarely get to 250,000 miles. Not sure if repair is cheaper on the GM van or what. I would expect a Crown Vic to last at least 250k miles.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    I know that in some cases taxi drivers in europe own their own cars, because I chatted with some and learned this, but I don't know if it's typical or not. Regardless, I've ridden in cabs in numerous European countries, and in China, and I've never seen a driver drive in an abusive manner. Fast, many times, but not always. I've also experienced cabs that get uncomfortably close to pedestrians, cyclists, and other cars, but they seem to do it with great skill. As far as I recall I never experienced a jack rabbit start (adjusted for less horsepower), followed by slamming on the brakes, as cabbies sometimes do in this country.

    One difference is that the percentage of people who drive cabs as a career, and not in between jobs, or part time, is greater in some other countries.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    This discussion has been inactive for more than a year.

    Did anyone suggest Ford Crown Vic hybrids or diesels for taxi service? Since the taxi industry seems to like the attributes of these cars, adding a hybrid or diesel option, or, maybe even better, a diesel hybrid, would be a way to keep these cars in service. Sure, they would cost more, but since big city taxis are run around the clock, the incremental initial cost and higher maintenance costs (for hybrids) might be totally offset, or even more than offset, by fuel savings.

    A Lincoln Town Car version could serve the limo industry.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    There are thousands of Crown Vics running on CNG here in CA. Cops and taxi cabs. More plentiful than regular gas and cleaner than a hybrid.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    Doesn't CNG take up a lot of space?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    I am not sure where they put the tank. I know the trunk is huge as I have ridden in them. Of course the back seat is very roomy. Much better than the Escape or Prius so many people would like to see take over.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    I know I'll hate myself for having to ask but when did they stop making Checkers? They were great cabs. I remember having 4 or 5 passengers in them without a big problem.

    In high school I knew a kid who was one of 10. his folks would get either Checkers or Ford airport wagons.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,578
    I think 1982 was the last year for Checker. I always thought they were neat rigs. I think Shifty had one once, or at least drove one a long distance, and said the front seat comfort was horrible. I sat in one that was for sale at Carlisle once, but can't remember how it was. I don't remember it being bad, but it's hard to tell from just sitting in something for a minute or two.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I just think you are in a world of your own sometimes, Gary.

    I don't know of anyone else I know other than you who picks a cab and says, "Dang, I'm glad this cab has 45 inches of legroom !!"

    I have taken cabs maybe 60-70 times in my life. In various countries. And NEVER EVER have I given a darn about how much room was in the seat. I'm 5'9" and medium build.

    I don't pick a taxi for the luxury and comfort level. I have usually picked cabs only as a last resort and WHATEVER can get me there, I'm happy to have.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,578
    I have taken cabs maybe 60-70 times in my life. In various countries. And NEVER EVER have I given a darn about how much room was in the seat. I'm 5'9" and medium build.

    Funny thing is, I don't think the Crown Vic is all that great, given its big external dimensions. I'm 6'3", and find legroom kinda tight in the back. Definitely tighter than the Caprice or the old Mopar R-body. Heck, even the old M-body Gran Fury/Diplomat weren't any smaller, IMO.

    I think the current Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable would make a great taxi. Roomy back seat with almost limo-like legroom, and a trunk that's actually bigger than the Crown Vic's!

    The Crown Vic probably wins out as a cab because they're rugged and durable, and can take a beating.

    I can't even remember the last time I was even in a taxi cab. It was long enough ago though, that I remember it being a '91-96 Caprice.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    Last time I was in one was in China in 2002. Volkawagen Jetta. The driver had a seat belt. The passengers didn't!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    I'm trying to remember my last cab ride. It was probably in Xtapa or Mazatlan. They have all small cramped taxis like the Prius. I prefer and usually go in a shuttle van. By far my preference. Unlike some people I will not ask someone to ride in the back of a vehicle I own that I would not ride in. Usually first place I sit is in the back seat. If it is cramped not a chance I would buy the vehicle. When you are charging the customer their comfort should be considered before your own personal preference or cost to do business. I understand why they use the Prius in Canada. I think most people would if they know many Canadians.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,379
    and as an ex-NYer have ridden in the back of cabs hundreds of times, the cramped back seats of the CVs always made me long for the days of those roomy checkers

    Of course, the armored partition found in most NYC cabs doesn't do a thing for leg room but I once rode back-to-back in a CV with no partition and then an Impala.
    The Chevy was way more roomy in back.

    Supposedly the Taxi Fleets preferred less roomy RWDs for reasons of lower maintainence and longevity but now I see FWD vans, particularly Siennas catching on as cabs everywhere.

    If Mayor Bloomberg has his way the entire fleet will go hybrid in a few years. I wonder how owners will feel about replacing those battery packs. :sick:
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    I'm an inch shorter than you and am amazed at how cramped a back seat can be. What the heck do tall people do?
This discussion has been closed.