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Touch-screen monitors have cab drivers fuming in NYC

If you've ever been to New York City, you should have a pretty healthy appreciation for taxi cab drivers, especially if you're a pedestrian! Taxi cab drivers are everywhere -- that is, when they're not on strike, which is the current state of affairs in the Big Apple. Why? New GPS touch-screen devices for passengers.

If you've ever been to New York City, you should have a pretty healthy appreciation for taxi cab drivers, especially if you're a pedestrian! Taxi cab drivers are everywhere — that is, when they're not on strike, which is the current state of affairs in the Big Apple. In fact, an estimated three quarters of the city's taxi drivers have put it in park. See the news story, "GPS Tiff Drives Cranky NYC Cabbies to Strike Again." (TechNewsWorld | AP)

Here's the lowdown:

Some of the city's taxi drivers went on strike Monday to protest new rules requiring installation of equipment that would let passengers watch TV, pay with credit cards, and check their location on GPS. City officials say the touch screen devices help passengers by making payments more convenient and lost items easier to locate. However, the Taxi Workers Alliance said it called the strike — the second over the issue in six weeks — because the technology is a costly invasion of cabbies' privacy and works erratically at best.

Ok, I can understand the "working erratically" part. If a passenger swipes a credit card, leaves the cab, and a couple minutes later the machine says the card was denied, that would put a cabbie in a potentially expensive predicament. However, I fail to see how GPS is an bad thing, especially in such a large city where taxis can be car-jacked, people's luggage can be forgotten in a back seat or a truck, and passengers can actually see the shortest travel route and not be taken advantage of (or as easily anyway).

What are your thoughts about this new technology in taxi cabs? Are you for or against it?

About

Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.

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