NYC Cabbies to Discuss GPS Mandate with Mayors Office

New York taxi drivers will meet with the mayor's office to seek relief from a GPS technology mandate.

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance is scheduled to meet with Mayor Michael Bloombergs office to discuss cab drivers demands that the Taxi and Limousine Commission cancel its mandate that all city cabs be equipped with Global Positioning System links.

Bill Lindauer, a spokesman for New York Taxi Workers Alliance [NYTWA] confirmed that representatives from the group, which represents New York taxi drivers, are meeting Aug. 28 in the afternoon with representatives from the mayors office. Also at the meeting will be representatives from the Taxi and Limousine Commission [TLC], which oversees New Yorks cabs.

NYTWA announced Aug. 23 that it would pull its 10,000 member drivers off the streets during a two-day strike, from early Wednesday, Sept. 5 through Thursday, Sept. 6 if the TLC does not squelch its mandate that all New York taxis implement a technology system, starting in October, that includes GPS.

In addition to providing an interactive map for taxi riders [along with a TV screen that will display advertisements and entertainment] the system will also enable cab drivers to accept credit cards from customers, and instant messages from TLC.

Its not clear what the meeting between NYTWA, TLC and the Mayors Office will accomplish.

"We had a couple of meetings in the past and hopefully these meetings will be productive," said Lindauer, in New York. "Were open to avert the strike, [but] we insist on getting what is necessary – getting rid of GPS."


Click here to read more about why New York cab drivers are objecting to installing GPS and other mobile technologies in their vehicles.

The issue with installing GPS in taxicabs, according to Lindauer, is that it amounts to spying on cab drivers. For TLC the technology is more about automating cumbersome paper processes, particularly those involved in collecting and maintaining so-called trip sheets, where cab drivers record each fare on paper. Its also about helping passengers better find lost goods, according to a spokesman for TLC.

But NYTWA is not budging. It wants the GPS technology mandate removed.

Its unclear what side of the issue Mayor Bloombergs office falls on. Representatives from the Mayors Office were not available for comment at press time, and e-mails sent to three separate addresses provided by the Mayors Office were returned to eWEEK as undeliverable.


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