Cabbie GPS Strike Still on Track

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2007-08-28 Print this article Print

Driver's union cites moral and financial arguments.

Next weeks taxi strike is still on and it will coincide with one of New Yorks bigger events of the year: Fashion Week. Bill Lindauer, a spokesman for the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said the group, which represents about a quarter of the citys 44,000 licensed cabbies, confirmed on Aug. 28 that despite a planned afternoon meeting with New York City Mayor Michael Bloombergs office to address some of NYTWAs issues, the strike has not been cancelled. "Theres been no change," said Lindauer, in New York. "Were ready to go on strike. The Mayors Office is pretty mad that we announced that we were meeting with the mayor. Its like settling a lawsuit out of court," and the parties are not supposed to say anything.
NYTWA called for the strike last week to protest a Taxi and Limousine Commission mandate that a technology system which includes GPS [Global Positioning System] technology be implemented in all New York cabs starting in October.
TLC did not return calls to eWEEK. The system would also include a monitor that will flash advertisements and entertainment to customers, and allow them to pay for cab fares using a credit card. A monitor in front of the cab will take in Trip Sheet data— which includes information on pick up, drop of, number of passengers and fare data—and enable the TLC to instant message cabbies. Click here to read more about why New York City taxi drivers are prepared to strike to keep GPS devices out of their cabs. The issue, however, is the GPS system that TLC says will be utilized to show passengers where their cabs are at any given time, and to help customers better trace lost goods by tracking a cabs whereabouts. NYTWA sees the GPS technology as having a more nefarious tinge. "There are two issues [with GPS]. One is moral and constitutional, the other is financial," said Lindauer, in an Aug. 25 interview with eWEEK. "Under the system [mandated by TLC] drivers are tracked, theyre spied upon. Its like were under surveillance. Not only are we under surveillance, we have to pay for the dubious privilege." The strike, scheduled to begin on Sept. 5 and last through Sept. 6, will coincide with Fashion Week, when tens of thousands of people are expected to flock to Manhattan to view the latest in spring fashion. According to IMG Fashion, which produces Fashion Week, about 100,000 people are expected to attend the more than 75 fashion shows planned from Sept. 5 through Sept. 12. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.

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