For nearly a decade, the Taxi TV has been a large part of the New York City taxi riders experience. But those screens are on the way out, after the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) approved a pilot program that will eventually eliminate the TV’s and replace them with sleeker tablets or smartphones for customers.
The newly proposed tablets would have a credit card reader to collect the fare and would also be filled with apps, which would allow the rider to do things such as listen to music, or search dining options. Wi-Fi is also being looked into in order to allow riders to make calls on the tablet.
Verifone, one of the companies that brought Taxi TV to cabs shared that a few of the changes could be available to riders by the end of the year. Four companies will take part, and be limited to 250 cabs each.
“I do believe that technology has improved, that we should explore pilots such as this,” TLC commissioner Edward Gonzales said. “Customers’ preferences for payments and content and things like that change over time.”
Jason Gross, the global head of product and marketing for taxi systems at Verifone, stated, “ What we’re really hoping to do is partner with the Googles, the OpenTables, and the Pandoras of the world and allow the marketplace to determine what consumers want to do.”
Based on feedback from New York commuters, they would welcome the introduction of the tablet or smartphone.
“I can save my battery and just listen to music in the cab,” Tara Little said Saturday, as she waiting for a taxi in Brooklyn.
This advancement in technology would also feature a GPS taxi meter that would calculate the fares, a security camera and also a fingerprint scanner that would act as a shift clock and also a panic button.
“With so many advances in for-hire service tracking and payment, and years of feedback from passengers and drivers about what works and what needs improvement, it’s timely to give both existing and new technology providers an opportunity to test more streamlined systems,” said TLC commissioner Meera Joshi.
The Taxi TV, with 12-hour ad loops, has been a notorious annoyance for riders and drivers since the devices began appearing in 2007. A survey in 2011 found that the Taxi TV was the second worst part of the ride, only after the fare.
YellowCabNYCTaxi.com Staff Writer