NYC Taxi Driver Would Rather Retire Than Give Up His Crown Vic
For decades, the Ford Crown Victoria has been one of the most easily recognizable vehicles on the road. Police, fire departments, and most notably, taxi services have all relied on the Ford Crown Victoria’s ability to run for years with only basic maintenance. However, Crown Vics steadily left American roads, with their production run ending in September 2011.
Crown Victorias are still found on American roads today, just in lower numbers. With this steady decline in Crown Vics available, one New York City taxi driver is ready to call it quits, willing to retire instead of finding a replacement for his Crown Victoria.
It’s a Crown Vic or nothing for one NYC cab driver
Ravinder Sharma, a New York City taxi driver, is still driving a Ford Crown Victoria. According to Ford Authority, Ravinder Sharma’s Crown Vic is 12 years old with over 550,000 miles on the odometer. Sharma bought this car new and is so dedicated to his classic American taxi that he is bending the rules to keep his on the road.
The NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission has a process that retires any taxi over seven years old. This may seem excessive, but remember, NYC taxis are abused all day and night. It isn’t uncommon for taxis to drive around 70,000 miles a year. Having a seven-year lifespan keeps taxis from breaking down on busy streets.
Drivers like Sharma are still driving their Crown Vics, but to avoid any mandatory shutdown, they are happily taking fines from the city. Any city inspection would deem these vehicles unfit for service, and the meters would be frozen. Multiple missed inspections could lead to the city using wireless signals to freeze the meters remotely, an act that could set up a driver for license suspension.
Drivers like Ravinder Sharma are willing to put their entire career on the line for their faithful Crown Vic.
Old-school NYC taxis were already a dying breed
Ever since ridesharing apps became a widespread occurrence, they have taken a large chunk of the taxi service away from cities. Years ago, New York taxi services were a goldmine for operators and drivers. The only way to operate a taxi cab in New York is with a medallion.
This small stamp gives taxi drivers the right to drive cabs in the city, and for the prospect of making money with a limited amount of medallions available, it was a sound investment. According to The Guardian, NYC medallions were going for around $1 million in 2014.
However, with Lyft and Uber, among other rideshare apps, giving nearly everyone the ability to be a part-time cab driver, these medallion values have plummetted to around $80,000 apiece. Not a bad price for the ability to be a cab driver in the biggest market in the world.
Those who still rely on a taxi for transportation are usually able to find the new modern-day cab, a minivan, or Toyota Prius, a little more modern than the old-school Crown Victoria.
There are only a handful of classic Crown Vic taxis cabs left in the city
Other than Ravinder Sharma’s Crown Victoria taxi cab, there is only one other Crown Vic taxi still in service. This other cab is quickly approaching 500,000 miles, and, just like Sharma’s, is only one inspection away from being discontinued forever.
While the old-school NYC taxi is antiquated compared to other taxis like the Toyota Sienna and Toyota Prius, it is a staple of American taxi history. If you find yourself looking for a cab in NYC, keep an eye out for one of the final two Crown Vics on the streets. They are a part of a chapter of American automotive history that is on the brink of being concluded.