New York City has just six Lexus taxis. That’s out of over 13,000 cars, with most being Ford Crown Victorias. The Lexus RX 400h or RX 450h hybirds cost over $40,000, with a typical cab hovering around $28,000 — but there’s actually no financial incentive for having a nicer yellow car. “But cachet?” the New York Times reports today. “Most definitely.” Come on, guys, grow up.
“I sort of feel like a celebrity,” says Neil Newmark, who has driven a Lexus for two years. According to the Times, “When they see each other on the streets of New York, they often honk, wave, flash their lights, and sometimes even stop to trade maintenance advice.” In other words, they act like high school jocks.
But no fear for the little guy because the city wants to stamp out the Lexus crew. The Taxi and Limousine Commission argues that the cars “are too powerful,” and soon all cabs will pretty much just be the Nissan NV200, a/k/a the Taxi of Tomorrow.
The Lexus drivers claim practicality — and more comfort for a bad heart or a bad knee — but it sounds like they’re just spoiled and superficial. “If I’m willing to spend the money on a Lexus, why won’t they let me?” asks one. Another driver “added that his daughter has grown fond of being dropped off at school in a Lexus.”
But as a customer, there’s something distinctly New York about climbing into a grimy Ford, not knowing whose or which bodily fluids your butt is about to touch in an unidentifiable car. And if you lose something, it’s probably gone forever. These are the high-risk games we play.
If you want a Lexus, move to Westchester.