NEW YORK CITY – The first Ford Transit Connect taxi is in service in New York City, and 400 more are on the way, according to Ford. The automaker said Ford Transit Connect taxi orders are approaching 1,000 units in its first year on the market. The automaker said taxi sales in the U.S. averages about 6,000 units per year.

Earlier this year, the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) approved the Transit Connect Taxi for use in the city.

Cities where taxicab company operators have ordered Transit Connect Taxis, in addition to New York City, include Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, St. Louis, Tampa, Fla., Orlando, Fla., Hartford, Conn. and West Haven, Conn.

Governing agencies in Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia have approved use of the Ford Transit Connect taxi. Also, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority approved use of the vehicle at the Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport, and the SFO Airport Commission approved its use at the San Francisco International Airport.

The standard Ford Transit Connect, which was named the 2010 North American Truck of the Year (at the 2010 North American International Auto Show), features a 2.0L inline four-cylinder engine that gets 22 mpg city, 27 mpg highway. In addition, the Transit Connect Taxi is available in CNG and LPG versions.