It's already been two years since Nissan's NV200, aka the "Taxi of Tomorrow," was meant to begin replacing New York City's fleet. But uptake has apparently been slow, and I have yet to see the Gotham's streets awash in them.
Maybe New York made a mistake in choosing the NV200. Maybe they'd have been better off taking a look at cartoonist/inventor Steven M. Johnson—the guy who did these wacky auto concepts—and his unsolicited ideas for the Taxi of Tomorrow competition, which seem to take actual reality into account. His work is below (captions his).
We all know what everyone's NYC cabbie fantasy is. Why not enable it?
AGGRESSIVE TAXI: With a narrow front end and a whole body bumper, it means business!
AGGRESSIVE TAXI: On the street, it engages in brutal acts of pushing and crowding.
Miss the Crown Victorias, but like the convenience of the NV200s? In Johnson's world, you could have it both ways:
TRUNCATE: This design shows a taxi that is only one step from being a Crown Victoria.
TRUNCATE: When the roof trunk is lowered, the taxi looks like a passenger sedan.
Taxis made for economic realities:
PAY WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD: Poverty stalks New York City, as elsewhere! The poor are willing to stand, as on a train or bus.
Sometimes the drivers are so bad, maybe it would be better not to be able to see the road from the passenger seats. And we could save some space to boot.
SMAXI: A Smart Car enlarged elevator-shoe style, that offers a space for backseat passengers.
SMAXI (detail): Rear passengers sit almost underneath the driver!
The NSFW taxi:
RELAXI: A taxi for sleeping, meditating or sex, paid for by the minute or hour.
Not all of the concepts are crazy, this automated taxi that can help prevent traffic jams seems pretty sensible:
TAXIPOD: Passengers are shown boarding a six-passenger cassette in this driverless taxi.
TAXIPOD: On the street, a herd of Taxipods self-organizes, moves and communicates in a cluster.
This last one is my absolute favorite:
BIKE TUNNEL TAXI: This taxi's body creates a tunnel for bicyclists and motorcyclists.
BIKE TUNNEL: A flashing sign allows bikes to enter the tunnel, or warns of turning and stopping.