The first batch of Ford Transit Connect taxis in New York City are now in service.

The initial units are part of the first order for the Turkish-built vehicle in the city following the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission’s approval of it for use.

Over 400 of the new taxis are destined for the Big Apple and Ford said total orders for the models across the United States are fast approaching 1,000 in its first year on the market. The new taxi market in the US averages about 6,000 units. Big US sedans including the iconic Checker have been replaced in recent years by SUVs and minivans though the Ford Crown Victoria is still a common sight.

“Taxi operators are realizing the Transit Connect Taxi is a great vehicle and there’s a good reason – they helped us develop it,” said Len Deluca, director, Ford Commercial Trucks. “During product development, we visited cities across the US speaking with taxi owners, operators, drivers and city officials on the key product attributes they wanted in a taxi.”

Other cities where taxicab company operators have ordered Transit Connects include Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, St. Louis, Tampa, Orlando, Hartford and West Haven.

The new Ford model has also been approved by governing agencies in Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston – cities that require taxis to meet certain requirements.

The vehicle also has been approved for use at Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and at San Francisco International Airport by the SFO Airport Commission.

Ford offers the model with an engine preparation package for conversion to compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied propane gas (LPG).