DEARBORN, MI - Ford Transit Connect Taxis will begin winding through the streets of the Windy City in March when a fleet of the alternative-fuel vehicles joins Yellow Cab Chicago.
Taxi Medallion Management purchased the 12 compressed natural gas (CNG) Transit Connect Taxis for its fleet. The cabs will be affiliated with Yellow Cab Chicago and bear the company's logo and color.
The purchase is part of the company's goal of reducing emissions by 25 percent, said Michael Levine, CEO of Taxi Medallion Management. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, CNG is less expensive and burns cleaner than gasoline, resulting in 30 to 40 percent less greenhouse gas emissions.
"We are adding vehicles with more fuel-efficient gasoline engines, as well as vehicles with alternative-fuel sources, to find a vehicle mix that best suits our customers, our drivers, the city at large and the environment," said Levine. "We are excited about testing this new vehicle."
The Ford dealership, Packey Webb Ford of Downers Grove, Ill., will deliver the taxi units to Taxi Medallion Management with an engine preparation package for conversion to CNG.
Since introduced as a production vehicle last year, Transit Connect Taxi is gaining interest from taxi operators around the country. The first taxi was delivered to Boston Cab Dispatch in December 2010.
"During product development of this vehicle, we visited cities across the U.S. speaking with taxi owners, operators, drivers and city officials on the key product attributes they wanted in a taxi," said Gerald Koss, Ford fleet marketing manager. "Of course reliability and durability were key, but fuel-efficient powertrains and sustainable solutions also were high on their lists."
In addition to CNG, Transit Connect Taxi is available with an engine preparation package for conversion to liquefied propane gas (LPG). Both CNG and LPG lower taxi fleets' operating costs and are better for the environment.