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Chevrolet Uplander Taxi Cab

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Chevy Taxi Van Provides New Yorkers Greater Mobility
First Wheelchair-Accessible Van Approved for Taxi Use Debuts at New York Auto Show
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NEW YORK – To help celebrate 100 years of the taxi cab in New York City, General Motors is placing into the city’s taxi fleet service the only vans approved to transport individuals with mobility-restricting disabilities or spinal cord injuries.

“General Motors is dedicated to making automotive transportation easier and more accessible for the millions of persons with disabilities,” said John Gaydash, director of marketing for GM Fleet and Commercial Operations. “With the debut of our new lowered-floor van for taxicabs, we are giving New Yorkers with disabilities a key element in maintaining independence – mobility.”

The taxi van uses a Chevrolet Uplander TC (Taxi Cab) that is modified by GM’s approved upfitter, El Dorado National. A stainless steel floor that is 12 inches lower than the standard floor offers a full 58 inches of interior height without a raised roof.

“By lowering the floor instead of raising the roof we increase accessibility and keep the center of gravity low, which improves the safety of the vehicle,” said Gaydash. “This creates nearly five feet of height in the rear passenger compartment, allowing both able and less able passengers to enter and exit with ease.”

Uplander TC complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Besides public taxi service in New York and elsewhere, the lowered-floor Uplander is designed to be used by airport shuttle services, rehabilitation and extended care facilities, and private livery companies that serve individuals with mobility issues. It meets or exceeds all applicable U.S. and Canadian vehicle safety standards, and is equipped with GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability control system.

Other key features include:
  • Optional fold-down, middle-row seat and enhanced rear-seat capacity for optimum passenger load
  • Sturdy manual fold-out ramp has an easy-to-use, swing-out gate feature for quick and clear access for all passengers
  • Safe, commercial-grade non-slip flooring made of skid-resistant durable vinyl
  • High-strength tie-down belt system made by Q'Straint, the industry benchmark for safety, ensures that a wheelchair or motorized chair is securely fastened
  • GM launched its Mobility Program in 1991 to help provide transportation options to people with disabilities. On Wednesday in New York, Springboard Consulting and Work Life Matters magazine will honor GM for its dedication to the special needs community. For more information on GM’s Mobility program, visit www.gmmobility.com.
El Dorado National - Kansas (NYSE: THO) is the home of the Mobility Division of Thor Industries, the nation’s premier manufacturer of commercial and recreational vehicles. www.enconline.com.

Uplander TC (Taxi Cab) Standard Equipment
  • 12-inch lowered floor, stainless steel with undercoating
  • ADA-compliant, 56-inch ramp entry door height
  • 54-inch by 30-inch fold-out, swing-away ramp
  • GM rear axle automatic air suspension system
  • Stainless steel entry threshold / safety yellow
  • Commercial-grade Altro vinyl flooring
  • Transmission / door interlock system
  • ADA safety lighting, entry and exit
  • Manual driver seat / removable footrest
  • Rear heat and A/C conversion
  • Third-row seat modification with LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) child restraint system (GM seats)
  • Grab handles at B- and C-pillar locations
  • Q’Straint system for securing mobility devices in place
  • Interior flat-mounted compact spare tire
  • Backup alarm
  • Auxiliary fuse block for taxi equipment
  • Emergency exit rear hatch release
Uplander TC (Taxi Cab) Optional Equipment
  • NYC taxi package
  • Non-deep tinted glass, all around
  • Bronx partitions taxi shield / window
  • GM six-way power seat base for driver
  • Front co-pilot seat, fixed / footrest
  • Freedman fold-away two-passenger seat
  • All-vinyl seating upgrade
  • Upgraded rear GM coil springs (4,030 pounds)
  • 16-gauge stainless supply line shield
  • 12-guage front engine skid plate
  • “Gator Guard” lower rocker panel treatment
  • Swing-N-Stow taxi ramp / padded cover
  • Rear fan control for passenger heat and A/C
  • Q’Straint “QRT Max” 8300 retractable tie-downs

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A couple years ago when I went to the Big Apple for the first time (end January/beginning February 2005), I saw a bunch of Toyota Sienna minivans used as taxicabs, still outnumbered by Ford Crown Victorias. Interesting idea as Uplander's are cheap-looking and feeling enough, but I'd still rather have an ancient Crown Victoria over a crummy GM van anyday. Nice last-gasp derivative for Uplander though.

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Well being I live here, the other day I saw an 08 Escape hybrid cab, the funny thing about is, its the first of the 08 style Ive seen.

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Well being I live here, the other day I saw an 08 Escape hybrid cab, the funny thing about is, its the first of the 08 style Ive seen.

Yep, NYC in particular has a pretty big fleet of the first gen, and now a few of the new '08s are popping up. And according to an article that came out months ago, not only did the cabbies enjoy the fuel sipping and being able to coast around in electric mode a lot, but given the demanding and high mileage route, they found out after about 50k+ miles on some of them, they were virtually problem free aside from a water pump issue on some earlier ones and even that helped Ford see a problem they didn't, and is now fixed.

Otherwise, I myself have been wondering about the Siennas, because there is a TON of those. Granted, they're well built and refined too, but don't really have the persona of being tough and hearty beasts, yet they seem to be holding up. With the struts and FWD and all, likely more expensive to fix than an old Crown Vic, but probably nicer to drive.

As for the Uplander, I can appreciate the effort to get special disability equipped models out there for those who need them, but hopefully it stays just to that--they have enough issues in general owner use, or at least used to, let alone in standing up to day in and day out taxi rigors.

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Yeah, GM has given up on their current minivans. This is just a means to keep the plant running and cut into fixed costs, which is actually pretty smart.

On a side note, I always wondered why you don't see more minivans for cabs? It's not a fuel economy issue becuase the Crown Vic isn't exactly a beacon of fuel efficiency. Not to mention cabbies kill their fuel economy with the way they drive anyways. Is this just an availability issue where manufacturers have not historically opened up their minivan lines to fleets?

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This was a clever idea. The Uplander with the 3.9L V6 is a respectable yet out of date van in my book.

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