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#1 of 67 Good Taxis
Oct 08, 2007 (6:34 pm)
I do not generally have a lot of interest in taxis. However, I recently bought a minivan, and I realized that there were a lot more minivans being used as taxis than I had been aware of. Having thought about it, I realized that depending on the area that the taxi was going to service, a minivan could be a very good choice. On the other hand, I could also think of other areas where a different vehicle would be a better choice. It is not surprise that there is a wide variety of vehicles being used for taxis in my city.
So what current vehicle do you think could make a good taxi and why?
#2 of 67 Mazda 5
Oct 08, 2007 (6:36 pm)
One vehicle that could be a good taxi in a downtown area would be the Mazda 5. The only problem I see is that the motor is a bit small if a heavy load attempted.
#3 of 67 Re: Mazda 5 [writer]
Oct 08, 2007 (7:11 pm)
If it's a vehicle used mainly in downtown use, I don't think you'd have to worry too much about blinding acceleration, so the Mazda 5's engine might be okay. After all, a great deal of the old Mopar taxis were just slant sixes, and many Checkers just had Chevy 230/250's.
I think the main thing taxis have to be is durable, rugged, and cheap to fix. And that's not necessarily the same as reliable.
#4 of 67 Re: Mazda 5 [andre1969]
Oct 25, 2007 (12:19 pm)
think the main thing taxis have to be is durable, rugged, and cheap to fix. And that's not necessarily the same as reliable.
Yep, that's the reason Taxis fleets like Police Depts have stuck so long with the antediluvian Crown Victorias. CVs are awful to ride in, extremely cramped in the back with low roofs, and not great to drive as the seats are bad and they're really thirsty. I notice in recent years fwd sedans and vans have been used more and more as cabs.
A minivan is almost ideal for taxi use in places like NYC because they're easy to get in/out of, have plenty of luggage space and get reasonable gas mileage (compared to Vics and GMs). Toyota Sienas are particularly popular in New York right now.
There is legislation pending in NYC to revamp taxi standards with an eye to better fuel efficiency and lower emissions. Mayor Bloomberg's goal is to convert the entire fleet to alternative fuels, good for him. I personally can't understand why they didn't go to diesels back in the 70s when gas prices started skyrocketing.
#5 of 67 Re: Mazda 5 [andre1969]
Oct 26, 2007 (11:18 pm)
First, I should clarify that I have never worked in the taxi industry, but a long time ago, I did work for an engine rebuilder. So I did hear, second hand, how the taxi industry used their vehicles, and what they thought were good, and why. All the comments are about right, particularly how the "big sixes" were fairly common, and rugged was a central theme.
I think the thing to do is start with a standard of some kind and then see how the job determines what is a better vehicle. So I have in mind as a standard, the old Checker Marathon, or more correctly, the '55 - '58 Chevys that the Marathon was based on. I do not have as much experience with the actual Marathon because I rarely saw it in Canada.
The basic factors were, room for 3 passengers and a huge trunk. That carried through to the last cabs I had real experience with (as a passenger) which were the old Chey Biscaynes and equivalent Fords and Chrysler products (the classic big cars before the front wheel drives came along). Note that comfort and good looks are also serious matters for the bigger companies. The big companies (and the better small operations) realize that a good experience can get them repeat business. Cabs are kept as clean as reasonably possible, and yes, dents *are* removed from most of them fairly quickly.
I think the Mazda5 is particularly good for downtown because it can hold 2 passengers comfortably and another 2 passengers, acceptably comfortably. If you have ever sat in the middle seats, of the Mazda5, they are not quite as good as a Mazda3. I am not sure exactly why, but that is what I felt. The back seats are harder, and you are supported only in your lower back and your head. The seats do not come up to your shoulders.
But with more than 2 passengers, the luggage space disappears very quickly. With 1 rear seat up (3 passengers), you can stash, maybe 2 thick briefcases per passenger. That is a guess, but I am fairly confident about it. So you could take, say a lawyer and a couple of assistants to a court for a fairly big case. Or maybe 3 people to some other big meeting. But you would not want to try 3 people heading to an airport for a week's vacation. With 4 people, they would be with their computer cases on their laps.
The other drawback is that the sliding doors have a hinge on the bottom which is exactly where you want to put your foot when you get out from the back seat, and that hinge specifically has a sign that says not to step on the hinge. In that regard, I would say that it would have been better if the Mazda5 in North America were sold with swing open rear doors. The car is narrow enough that such doors would be comfortable in most situations. Besides, bigger taxis have been in use for years with swing open rear doors, so there is no reason not to have them.
The biggest advantage though, is that it is shorter in length and narrower than any vehicle that I have ever seen in use as a taxi in Toronto, and I expect, tighter turning as well. So, aside from acceleration, it should have an advantage getting around in bad traffic.
The step height into the rear seat seems to be about 16" which is not quite as low as I thought, but still than a typical full-size minivan.
#6 of 67 Re: Mazda 5 [writer]
Oct 27, 2007 (4:45 pm)
Your comment about sliding doors makes me wonder how those popular Siena cabs are faring. Sliders seem to be fairly trouble prone in ordinary family usage. I can imagine they'd be a real pain in fleet service.
I've come to detest the full sized vans used by many airport livery services. They are way too high to get into easily and have a really bad ride.
#7 of 67 Re: Mazda 5 [andys120]
Oct 28, 2007 (10:21 pm)
Sliding doors would be less desirable for taxis than families because in the case of taxis, passengers generally get on or off at a curb or other unobstructed location. The only situation I can imagine where a sliding door is any kind of advantage is when some of the Minivan style taxis take on or let off wheelchair passengers.
The problems I have heard about sliding doors have all been obvious, particularly the dangers of injuring children when power doors are used.
Oct 29, 2007 (6:36 am)
Scion xBs and xDs, and VW Rabbits might make good taxis for 1-3 passengers, since they're space and fuel efficient, easily maneuverable, and relatively low cost. Diesel versions of these vehicles would be even better. Larger vehcles, such as minivans, would be required for more passengers and luggage.
#9 of 67 Re: Good Taxis [hpmctorque]
Oct 29, 2007 (11:57 am)
When I was in China five years ago there were tons of diesel Jetta taxis. They manage to put enough of us in one.
The thing that gave me real pause is that not only do they drive with millimeters between cars and use the horn instead of the brake, but they only have seat belts in the front seats! I noticed that both the driver and our translator were wearing them which left the rest of us relying on prayer.
I have to admit, though, that I didn't see an accident the whole time we were there.
#10 of 67 Re: Mazda 5 [andys120]
Oct 29, 2007 (1:18 pm)
I have measured the step-up height in my 2003 Montana (standard length) when it was almost empty (carrying about 50 lbs. of random stuff) and the step-up to the front driver side is about 16.5". The rear height is harder to determine because it depends on whether you are aiming for the middle seats or the back seats. I measured it in the middle of the door and it was about 19.5". I would guess that the later Chryslers, and most other minivans in this size range are about the same. As I noted, the 19.5" is not really that much higher than the 16" for the Mazda5. I have been in a Ford E series van, but I did not measure the step-up height. It did seem to be a bit more than my Montana. But I would want to measure it to be sure.