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First Ford Transit Connect Taxi in U.S. Delivered To Boston

Boston and New York have a great rivalry in baseball but now Boston can claim bragging rights in the taxi game with the announcement that the first Transit Connect taxi in the U.S. will be located there.

New York City is in the midst of deciding which new cab design will get the nod for its Yellow Cab fleet but Boston has beat them to the punch with the announcement today at the New England Auto Show that Boston Cab Co. will take delivery of the first Transit Connect taxi.

New England is demonstrating a strong interest in the Transit Connect for taxi duties with the simultaneous announcement that two Connecticut taxi operators are adding alternative fuel vehicles to their taxi fleets beginning with Ford Transit Connect Taxi CNG units.

The Transit Connect Taxi is designed specifically for the taxi industry. Passengers get expanded second-row passenger space, taxi operators have the choice of a CNG/LPG engine prep package (as the two Connecticut companies opted to do) and a rear view camera and back-up sensor. Taxi bumpers the world over should look less beleaguered thanks to that innovation.

Actually, in general, passengers are going to like the Ford Transit Connect taxi a lot more than the warhorse Crown Victorias that populate the streets of major cities across the country. Legroom is almost abundant in comparison and the Transit Connects, when properly equipped, have more cargo capability. They should also be more fuel efficient for taxi companies.

The taxi was outfitted by Creative Mobile Technologies of Long Island City, N.Y., which provides equipment such as payment processing and passenger information systems in the taxi, including an 8.4-inch electronic infotainment and navigation screen that shows cab fares, news, weather, sports scores and stock ticker.

Transit Connect Taxis also are on their way to other New England taxi companies. George Summers, president of USA Taxi, has added a Transit Connect to his Boston fleet. And two Connecticut operators, Bill Scalzi, president of Metro Taxi in West Haven, Conn., and Marco Henry, president of The Yellow Cab Company in Bloomfield, Conn., have ordered compressed natural gas (CNG) versions of the Transit Connect Taxi for their fleets.

In April, the Licensing Division of the Boston Police Department approved Transit Connect for taxi use, making Boston the first city in the country to do so. To be approved, the vehicle had to meet basic size requirements for passenger headroom, legroom and cargo space. “Transit Connect fits the bill,” said Mark Cohen, Licensing Division director. “The size, shape and configuration of this unique vehicle make it comfortable for both driver and passengers.”

While the small perimeter dimensions and tall shape of Transit Connect make it easy for drivers to maneuver and park, the standard 2.0-liter I-4 engine gets 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway mpg, an estimated 30 percent improvement in fuel economy versus traditional V8-powered sedan-based taxis.