Earlier this week the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) approved the Ford Transit Connect and Taurus for livery duty in the nation's largest city at a public hearing, Ford announced in a press release.

The aging fleet of Ford Crown Victoria taxicabs, used in the Big Apple for decades, is due to be replaced. Ford will close the Canadian plant that builds the Crown Victoria next month ending fleet production of the full-size body-on-frame sedan.

"For decades, Ford has been synonymous with New York City taxis, and we are pleased residents and tourists now will benefit from our next-generation vehicle," said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas, in the press release. "We have Transit Connect Taxis in service across the country, and people tell us they love its spaciousness and its fuel efficiency."

The Nissan NV200 was announced as the winner of New York City's "Taxi of Tomorrow" contest in May. Nissan will get the sole contract for taxicab duty starting in late 2013. Until then, the Transit Connect and Taurus will be sold as the "taxis of today" now that the Crown Victoria has been laid to rest.

The Transit Connect has been approved for livery service in cities across the nation including Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Las Vegas and others. Less than a month ago the compressed natural gas (CNG) version of the Transit Connect Taxi was CARB approved for use in California.

Ford claims the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine hooked to an automatic transmission in the Transit Connect achieves a best-in-class 23 mpg in combined driving - estimating a 30 percent increase over current taxicabs. In addition to the CNG prep-package Ford also offers a LPG (liquefied propane gas) prep-package.

"We applaud TLC Commissioner David Yassky and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission for approving the only next generation purpose built taxicab currently available on the market, the highly-reviewed and eagerly anticipated Ford Transit Connect Taxicab," Ron Sherman, president, Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, was quoted in the Ford press release.

"This provides our 35 fleets with the opportunity to transition from one purpose-built commercial taxicab - the Crown Victoria - to the Connect as early as this fall. Ford has been a great partner with the New York City taxi industry for decades and this vehicle represents its commitment to the future of the taxi industry throughout the country."