The high-tech world may soon make its way into the backseat of New York’s fleet of yellow taxis, as the Taxi and Limousine Commission begins to consider whether cabs should offer embedded tablet computers as an option for customers’ use while scurrying around the city.
It hasn’t been too long since New Yorkers were confronted with Taxi TVs, a way to entertain cab fares with news, ads, and late-night comedy while stuck in traffic or just bored while getting from point a to point b. Taxi TVs let the passengers pay with their credit cards, and the cabbies pay the fee for each transaction.
Now the company Square, a mobile payment company headquartered in San Francisco, is seeking to replace 50 Taxi TVs with iPads and other tablet devices. If the commission approves the pilot program then passengers will be able to play computer games, and swipe their credit card anytime during their trip.
The chairman of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, David S. Yassky, explained that the technology which Square will bring to taxis will pave the way for increased content and computer applications which enhance the traveling experience of the passenger. Some possibilities would be giving passengers access to Foursquare, a social network which lets its members say where they are located at any time, or computer games with taxi-related themes.
Square is scheduled to make a formal presentation to the commission at a meeting on March 1st.