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>> Ford is rethinking the taxi which is kind of their birthright since the Crown Vic is the backbone of the business. This funky new box-shape is way more spacious than a Victoria and they say it mimics the skyline of the cities it will serve. Okay. A scrawny two-liter four-cylinder does the job and gets 19 miles per gallon in the city plus taking away the V8 from some of those insane cab drivers out there might just make America a little safer. This flat-panel at top glows clearly green if the cab is available; orange if it's occupied. In the back, a 13-inch touch screen shows you the fare, scrolling news, weather, sport and stocks, a choice of video and music channels and a GPS-enabled map so you can see where you are and if the driver is taking you on a fare-petting detour. If you're paying cash, you use Sputnik, a rotating billet aluminum softball-sized orb that let's you put cash in, spin it around, the driver pulls it out and gives your change the same way. Here's a fold flatwork area with the computer up in the driver's compartment and Garmin and Microsoft are involved in developing all these technology. The Transit Connect is still a concept but it is based on an actual Ford truck platform, so it's not that far from potential reality.
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