The "Taxi of Tomorrow" today

NEW YORK– New York City’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” was unveiled this week, and the good news for riders with hearing aids and cochlear implants is that it includes an induction hearing loop.

The public got its first look at the state-of-the-art Nissan vehicle NV200 yesterday (April 6) at the 2012 New York Auto Show. The NV200 reflects many requests made by New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission. Features include a glass roof offering passengers a better view of the city than they get in today’s taxis, mostly Ford Crown Victorias.

It also boasts sliding rear access doors, convenient grab handles, opening side windows, a fully flat passenger floor, a mobile phone charging 12-volt outlet and USB port for passengers, and even breathable antimicrobial seat fabric.

The NV200 is the first New York City cab to be crash tested and to have rear occupant curtain airbags. It’s powered by a Nissan 2.0-liter gas four-cylinder engine and comes with a 150,000-mile warranty.

The futuristic vehicle is scheduled to go into use in New York in late 2013.

 

HEARING ACCESS PROGRAM PUSHED FOR LOOPS

The inclusion of hearing loops in the “Taxis of the Future” didn’t just happen. It was the result of a determined campaign by the Hearing Access Program (HAP), which since 2002 has successfully advocated for loops in many facilities all over New York, including subway information booths, museums, stores, houses of worship, and ticket booths at sports arenas.

Janice Schacter, the founder and chair of HAP, became aware of how effective the looping technology was in taxis during a visit to London. That city’s fleet has been using loops since 1998. A few years ago, at HAP’s urging, a pilot program began in New York that involved the looping of a limited number of cabs

Schacter celebrated this latest advance. She said, “No longer will a person who is hard of hearing have to worry that they will end up in NOHO when they wanted SOHO,” referring to two Manhattan neighborhoods–North of Houston Street and South of Houston Street.

For more on induction loop technology, go to www.hearingloop.org.