New York City approves Ford Transit Connect for taxi service anyway

In two years, New York City's taxicabs are scheduled to switch into fugly Nissan commercial vans. Until then, it's a hodgepodge — one that grew today to include the Ford Transit Connect van, the Nissan's chief competition.

With the last new Ford Crown Victorias trundling into service, the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission today approved Ford's request to sell the Transit Connect and the Taurus to Gotham's not-as-finest. Ford says it has about 100 Transit Connects already in use as taxis around the country; in standard gasoline-powered form they can get 23 mpg at highway speeds, or be converted to run on compressed natural gas.

So, New Yorkers voted for one taxi, the city selected a different one, and then approved the one that was neither selected nor chosen in the public vote. It's the kind of government you get when your mild billionaire mayor thinks he's a king.

The city is still finalizing its contract with Nissan to supply a version of the NV200 small commercial van as the exclusive choice in 2013. But it's a smart play by Ford to sprinkle its vehicles into the fleets before the end of summer — giving operators and maybe even customers more reasons to question the city's choice.

Still: If the Ford Transit Connect and Taurus will be the taxi of today, and the Nissan NV200 will be the taxi of tomorrow, can't we just keep the taxi of yesterday?