New York cabs are going wireless. There are almost 13,000 cabs in the city and they will all have wireless connections by some time next year, if all goes according to plan. The Taxi Commission is currently shopping around for the best solutions from a number of companies to distribute the service among its patrons.
Not surprisingly, the first expected use of the technology will be for making payments easier by streamlining the use of credit cards. Besides that, though, cab drivers will be more efficiently alerted to waiting customers. There will also be a touch-sensitive screen in the back seat of cabs which, besides allowing for the swiping of credit cards, will display news, sports, weather and the like and may even allow people to check in to flights or hotels on the go.
The technology will also make it much easier for companies to track their drivers using GPS. They will no longer rely on trip sheets filled out by the drivers. Fares increased by 26% last year, so this is seen as a way to make customers feel better about the value they are receiving for the price, so long as the price doesn’t keep rising.
Once the Commission chooses a service provider, it will be clearer when the service will be available. Now if only the technology would help me to avoid the bitter and hostile drivers I seem to get every time I visit the city.