As a pedicab driver, I sometimes feel marginal, compared to a taxi driver: When I slow down to find out where they’re going, taxi hailers are wont to wrinkle their noses and say, “I want a regular cab” (or a “a yellow cab,” or “a real taxi”). The taxi is the known quantity; the pedicab is the outlier. The taxi is trustworthy; the pedicab is risky. The taxi is the object of desire; the pedicab is a poor surrogate.
So you’ll forgive me for squeaking with delight when I read the following in Ralph Gardner Jr.’s “Urban Gardner” column, titled “Whitewashing Taxis,” in today’s Wall Street Journal: “If there’s one thing the city has succeeded at with remarkable consistency since the Checker Cab went the way of the horse and buggy, it’s to make you feel as if you’ve been nailed into a coffin, no matter the make, model or size of the vehicle.”
Guess what kind of vehicle-for-hire you can ride in if you don’t want that coffin feeling?
The impetus for the column was a survey conducted by The Design Trust for Public Space and the Taxi & Limousine Commission to solicit feedback on the Taxi of Tomorrow. I have a hard time choosing which of the three models I like best, since they all share the same fatal flaw, that is, they all guzzle gas. What kind of choice is that? I know a great little company in England that could school Ford, Nissan, and Karsan, in designing next-generation NYC passenger transport, any day.
How about that, T&LC? Let’s put some real options on the table!