NYC Cabs Getting Text Messaging, Locator Technology, Passenger Screens - InformationWeek

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12/15/2006
04:24 PM
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NYC Cabs Getting Text Messaging, Locator Technology, Passenger Screens

All New York City cabs will have information monitors, credit card readers, and satellite maps by next year.

New York City cabs are going high-tech.

All cabs in New York City will soon have information monitors, credit card readers, and satellite maps. Yellow taxis are scheduled to have the technology enhancements by next year; some will have them by January.

The information monitors will provide passengers with information and entertainment on small screens with muting and off buttons. They will allow passengers to receive news, sports, weather, and public service announcements. They will display the cab's current location on a map and provide passengers with payment options. All major credit and debit cards will be accepted and transactions will be completed within five to 10 seconds.

In addition to improving convenience for riders, the credit card system is likely to reduce hassles faced by drivers seeking change for an overload of $20 bills spewed out by the city's ATM machines. The Taxi & Limousine Commission hopes the systems also can reduce the likelihood that cab drivers will be robbed, since they will probably be carrying less cash.

New Automatic Vehicle Locator technology will log trips automatically, which the commission said would improve accuracy and help passengers retrieve items they leave behind in cabs. It will not provide passengers with directions, which could cause an annoyance by encouraging "back-seat drivers," according to the commission. The technology will not be used to track drivers, the commission said.

A Driver Information Monitor will allow drivers to receive messages when the car is stopped. The messages will contain information about lost property and traffic congestion. Text messaging also will be used to communicate in the event of a citywide emergency and notify drivers when large public events are scheduled. Some messages will contain a pre-programmed response allowing drivers to respond to queries about lost property claims with the touch of a button.

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