Sunroof on a 'Taxi of Tomorrow' shatters on passengers

HARLEM (WABC) -- Imagine the sunroof shattering right onto your head in a terrifying ride in a new taxi in New York City.

Is the so-called "Taxi of Tomorrow" a danger for riders right now?

The last few days have not been kind to this Taxi of Tomorrow that is now sitting in a Harlem garage.

The driver says its panoramic sunroof started to splinter during a ride on Monday and rained down on passengers below.

"They were terrified, their glass ceiling was falling, you don't know what's happening when a glass ceiling is falling on your head," said Ethan Gerber, an attorney.

Ethan Gerber represents owners of city cabs who've been mounting a bitter battle against the Nissan NV200 since the Taxi and Limousine Commission first picked it four years ago, handing Nissan a 10-year, $1 billion contract to manufacture all city cabs.

The TLC has hailed creature comforts like that panoramic roof.

"Why they needed a panoramic roof we don't understand, why they need a glass roof we don't understand, but we know cabs and we know cabs need to be durable, and to have a glass roof that is a really dangerous, bad idea," Gerber said.

So far, Nissan's delivered just 80 of the minivans out of 14,000 cabs citywide. This is the second incident involving a sunroof just this week.

When a manhole cover exploded under this cab near Grand Central Monday, a Good Samaritan spoke to Eyewitness News about what the impact did to the sunroof.

"The passenger couldn't get out because both passenger doors were jammed shut as well, but the sunroof actually collapsed in, so he climbed out the top of the sunroof and I escorted him down," the Good Samaritan said.

"New York City has rough streets, we have bad pavement, bad roads, cabs take a beating, they are on the roads 365 days a year, seven days a week, and it's very foreseeable that the cabs are going to be beat up a lot as they drive," Gerber said.

TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg released a statement saying, "We're investigating this report of what appears to have been a one-time occurrence, and we're very pleased that there were no serious injuries."
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