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Taxi StrikeAn integral part of New York City business and life is the taxi transportation system. Monday morning starting at 5:00am EST on October 22nd the taxi transportation system will face a partial shut down over GPS equipment and credit card machines that are to eventually be installed into all NYC taxis.

The GPS tracking system will allow passengers to see a live map with their location. The mapping system will help taxi passengers find close restaurants, movies, shopping and concert venues. The GPS system also provides the potential for giving 24/7 tracking on all taxis. City officials claim the GPS services are strictly for passenger use and will not be used for taxi surveillance.

In addition to the GPS installation to taxis the new touchscreen devices being added to New York CityGPS Tracking’s taxis will also sport a credit card billing and swiping setup. This will allow taxi passengers to pay for their fare with a simple swipe of their credit card. The NYC taxi commissioner has tried to encourage acceptance of the new credit card system stating that when passengers can use their credit card they often tip better than if they had to pay with cash.

An organization called the Taxi Workers Alliance has come out against the new proposals and mandates to add the new technologies to cabs. The Taxi Workers Alliance was founded by Bhairavi Desai and has adamantly opposed both the GPS technologies and the credit card terminals. Ms. Desai states, “A passenger may swipe their credit card and jump out of the cab, which is understandable, but then three minutes later the message comes on the screen that the credit card was declines. Who’s going to compensate the drivers?” Another problem taxi drivers have with the new credit card system is that every transaction imposes a minimum 5% fee on the total cab fare and tips. Cabbies are upset about the charges because they aren’t required to pay any of these fees when the customer pays cash.

The Taxi Workers Alliance is also concerned about future use of the GPS tracking system to invade the privacy of taxi drivers. Ms. Desai said, “The city is more invested in the technology than they are in the hard working men and women who make this industry run.” Thousands of taxi drivers have expressed serious concern over being monitored through GPS tracking and the credit card transaction systems which impose a 5% surcharge.

Every taxi has to go through a yearly checkup and it is at this time the new systems are to added to all taxis. Most taxi drivers hope that striking will remove the forced installation of the new tracking and billing system.Taxi Strike Sign

Disruptions due to striking are a very real problem for New York. The Taxi Workers Alliance boasts a membership of about one-fifth or about 8,800 of the 44,000 taxi drivers in New York. The members of the TWA have been encouraged to strike for a 24 hour period by providing no service to anyone in New York.

New York is trying to fight the attempt at disrupting commuters by enacting an emergency contingency plan with the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission. The plan will charge taxi passengers a flat $10 rate and $5 for each new zone the taxi ride takes the passenger through. The plan requests that all taxis that are operational to pick up multiple passengers to ease the overflow of distraught passengers.

This isn’t the first time the Taxi Workers Alliance has enacted a strike due to the GPS and credit card billing. On September 5th, 2007 the TWA pulled off a strike attempting to block the mandatory system installations.

If you use a taxi every day and think the taxi strike is the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do we want to hear from you. Should Taxi’s be forced to use GPS Tracking? Would you be happier to pay a taxi with a credit card even though they will be forced to pay a 5% surcharge? If you are a taxi driver and want to speak your mind or you are regularly a taxi passenger and want to speak your mind we want to hear from you.

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19 Comments to “GPS Tracking forces NYC Taxi drivers to strike”

  1. on 22 Oct 2007 at 10:41 pmDan M

    Let them strike, cabbies are awful and reckless drivers and I’d love to see less of them polluting NYC’s air. Use the subway or take a bus.

  2. on 22 Oct 2007 at 11:55 pmdallasdano

    Of course they don’t like the GPS’s. With them installed…a tourist can tell when the cabbie is screwing around to get a better fair…

    As far as the credit card machines? Income brought in on a credit card can’t be easily hidden. Do you honestly believe that all these guys are reporting all their fares and tips? I think not.

    I’m played stupid tourist before just to check a cabbie in different cities I’ve been well familiar with…(for a magazine story)…and more often than not, the cabbie’s not taking the shortcuts…

  3. on 22 Oct 2007 at 11:57 pmxubean

    I think having the convenience of running a credit card to ride a taxi is a wonderful idea. Ms. Desai makes no sense when she says “A passenger may swipe their credit card and jump out of the cab, which is understandable, but then three minutes later the message comes on the screen that the credit card was declines. Who’s going to compensate the drivers”. That same problem could arise in millions of stores all over the world! All they have to do is wait until the credit card is done processing! Its only going to take a few extra seconds!
    Also having a GPS system is a great idea. The passenger will know exactly where he or she is going and what places of interest they’re passing through.
    I think this is an advantage not only to the passenger but to the driver as well. Because having such conveniences a few more people will want to ride the taxi compared to taking their car or riding the bus!

  4. on 23 Oct 2007 at 12:03 amwhatever

    their last strike was a joke, just like this one. they already agreed to the GPS devices in earlier TLC negotiations. i hope they strike for a year — we have too many taxis and they drive very poorly.

  5. on 23 Oct 2007 at 1:55 amDan M

    Sorry everyone, I meant to say “first.”

  6. on 23 Oct 2007 at 2:09 amH3nrch

    Let’s not forget that a significant number of taxi drivers in NYC are illegal immigrants - the billing and GPS systems expose them to a greater risk of being identified by INS.

  7. on 23 Oct 2007 at 7:20 ammark

    great article! check out for all your nyc taxi needs

  8. on 23 Oct 2007 at 1:39 pmmark, you spammer

    Hey Mark! Thanks for the spam!

  9. on 05 Nov 2007 at 7:43 pmGabe

    I have been a taxi driver for the past 22 years. Few points to dwell upon: 1.– If at the destination the passenger finds out that there is no wireless communication (as it often happens between tall Manhattan buildings) he will feel verry inconvenienced when the driver will go few extra blocks in order to get a signal for the wireless transaction to be procesed. Just imagine if you are late to work. 2. — I have had the credit card for the past 2 years now. >>> on 6 different ocassions due to poor sattelite connection or data scramble the client was charged the amount without the decimal point for the fare (example 5.90 $ became 590 $ the client got reimbursed of course but it takes sometime 2-3 months for it. One fare I had was 20.50 $ and it transfered in my bank account 2050 $ … it was reimbursed 8 months later. And lastly the transaction takes between 1 to 3 minutes in some cases… many arguments have started between incoming passengers waiting outside and the leaving passenger… some with verry rude words. (especially when is rainy weather or an otright downpour). It is true that there are better tips for credi card transactions, however they get lost due to the 5% charge of the bank plus the 25 $ monthly service fee…. charges that comes out of my pocket. On another issue >>> passengers have to realise when they pay with credit card that their exact location travel and position cold always be verified by the authorities up to two years latter.
    My most important inconvenience and worry is that somebody (a worker who might have a prior criminal record) who is emplyed by the tracking company would have access to the data and know precisely how far I am from my house throgh GPS tracking. I am a single father of two teenage daughters and I don’t like the GPS idea at all….. he can call his ‘buddies’ to break into my house or worse.
    Food for thought… nothing is just black and white….

    PS As for Dan M (see the first comment) stereotyping… not all women are weak, not all african americans are criminal, not all jewish or muslims or christians or whatever are somehow…… etc etc etc….

  10. on 03 Mar 2008 at 5:00 amGPS

    GPS just steals the privacy of taxi drivers. They can’t use their taxis for doing mischievous acts.

  11. on 04 May 2008 at 10:22 pmmack

    all guys who think wrong abut cabbies are digusting…if u dont know about somthing dont just make assumption….what a cabbie can do is just take you home….okkk if 1 % cabbie do bit of extra run for bit of more fare…..just tell me do u guys work in your officees with complete honesty???????? give advise to yourself & then say something abt smeone…..thanks

  12. on 16 Jun 2008 at 3:22 amed

    A cab driver swore at me tonight because I used a credit card.

  13. […] and credit card billing systems with 5% surcharges. Drivers are afraid of unauthorized more | digg […]

  14. on 10 Nov 2008 at 6:26 amgps

    Ever feel your phone could be more communicative? A prototype developed by German and Swedish researchers uses pulses of heat on your skin to get the message across, and to direct you using GPS.

  15. on 26 Jan 2009 at 4:18 pmrony hack

    what about our taxi’s

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  17. on 23 Aug 2009 at 7:02 amRobert Quinn

    if it is a problem with them they should find another job

  18. on 12 Feb 2011 at 7:37 amLeisa Leisy

    I think that GPS either on the computer, a phone, or an actual GPS prevents gouging, and most people have one in their phone. It is 2011, US credit cards should be taken by all taxi companies in the States. If you are being honest, paying taxes etc drivers should not have a problem with these issues. The taxi industry needs to become more transparent, then the image of taxi drivers will be more respected, credible and our standards need to be higher. After all we are transporting people depending on our honesty & safety, there should be required drug testing as well.

  19. on 19 Apr 2012 at 9:40 pmDAVE

    fuck you all the people who commented against taxi drivers. taxi driver invest money on their lease. you cant say what to do and what not to. even mc donald in manhattan they dont accept credit card. when u go to pay your parking ticket at finance dept they charge u extra 2 dollar when u pay with your credit card…so if you understand then keep on understanding or else fuck off and fuck your own business.

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