80% of taxi drivers stayed home because of a strike in NYC, causing long lines and general grumpiness in an already grumpy city. [New York Times]

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  1. Many of the drivers are upset over a city requirement that cabs install new technology, including credit-card readers and G.P.S.-equipped passenger information and navigational screens, by next year.

    Perhaps I’m missing something. Why would the city require that? I don’t see the logic behind
    requiring cabs to take credit cards. I’m sure it would be nice to have the readers and screens but
    required?

  2. FLConsumer says:

    Good, let ‘em stay home and earn no money. Maybe they could use this time to clean their cabs (yeah, right).

  3. HeyThereKiller says:

    Grumpy rich people and grumpy tourists, what’s a boy to do! My 20 block walk was delightful and 80% safer than usual… I hope it stays this way

  4. FLConsumer says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: The city allowed the cabbies to raise their rates a few years back specifically to fund the “upgrades” that would be required for their cabs. I see a great reason for the city to require the installation of credit card readers — who carries more than $50 or so on them anymore? I usually have a hidden $50 in the inseam of the wallet, the “don’t mug me $20″ in the front, and that’s it. A big reason for the credit card / GPS system is to prevent cabbies and cab cos from dicking with the meters. The city also claims that it’ll be used to help customers locate items left behind, but I’m sceptical about that.

  5. Red_Eye says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: The problem isn’t the credit card machines. They are worried about, it’s the GPS because god forbid someone be able to track them and hold them to a higher standard, why, that would invade their privacy.

    Screw em, they dont like it they dont have to work in it. C-ya pal

  6. Buran says:

    Geez, you’d think that those GPS readers could be used to help the public access a map showing where all cabs are in real time. I for one would like to, if I were in NY, know where I have to find an available cab.

    There’s always someone whining every time a good idea starts forming.

    Hey, guys, don’t want a GPS tracker in your cab, find anther job. You already forced us to pay more for those upgrades that you are now whining about now that they’re here.

  7. matukonyc says:

    80% of taxi drivers stayed home because of a strike in NYC, causing long lines and general grumpiness in an already grumpy city.

    The 80% figure has not been confirmed; it’s a claim being made by the organizers of the strike.

    Also.. this is not a “grumpy” city, and certainly the vast majority of us can’t even afford cabs these days, so their striking isn’t likely to make us grumpy or grumpier.

  8. skittlbrau says:

    Here’s an idea grumpy folks…

    take the subway. i do it every day. it will be fine.

  9. wishlish says:

    I was out on 42nd street today, and there were plenty of working cabbies. Methinks there’s smoke, but no fire.

  10. Falconfire says:

    @matukonyc: exactly its realistically not even close to that figure, since only 20% of the cabbies where actually upset about the GPS/CC requirement while other unions had no issues with it.

    As for the requiring them to have the setup, the way their contract with NYC is, the city can require anything it wants of the cabbies who are licensed by them.

    Personally I think its a bunch of bullshit. All the cabs I have taken in Cali, Florida, and Baltimore have all had the GPS and credit card readers as have a lot of the small companies around NJ. Its only NYC who’s in the darkages.

  11. bonzombiekitty says:

    Same thing happened today in philadelphia. They’re annoyed about the GPS system. The GPS thing makes sense to me, since if you’re in an dense urban area, GPS doesn’t work too well.

  12. PlayWithSlurry says:

    This is slightly OT, but can someone explain why the number of taxis in NYC is limited (through the medallion system)? I understand that the medallions are now quite valuable and their owners do not want competition, but what public good is served by limiting the number of taxi drivers?

  13. JustAGuy2 says:

    @PlayWithSlurry:

    None, but the taxi medallion holders have a lot of political clout.

  14. skittlbrau says:

    @PlayWithSlurry: Medallions don’t limit the number of taxi drivers – they limit the number of cars. Most cabbies I have talked to seem to work the same car in shifts.

    I think it has something to do with keeping the city’s traffic *somewhat* moving.

  15. davebg5 says:

    First of all, that 80% number is a complete fabrication. The “Alliance Group” that was protesting this only represents about 1/5 of the 13,000 NYC taxi drivers.

    Second, those cabbies that are opposed to the GPS and credit card changes are a bunch of shady pieces of crap.

    In 2004 the city reached a new agreement w/the taxi drivers. Part of that agreement was the implementation of the GPS and credit card systems. In return, the taxi drivers were allowed two fare hikes that resulted in an increase of about 25%.

    If the cabbies really don’t want the GPS or credit card stuff in their cabs, fine. As long as they agree to roll back those two fare hikes and write a check to reimburse the city for the difference between the rates they could have charged w/out the rate increase and what they were actually able to charge.

  16. synergy says:

    I’m assuming this is for NY county? It’s 10-20 times smaller than my town and you can get most places here on a bus! Surely in grand old NYC these people can find a bus, subway, or (heaven forbid) walk.

  17. iqag says:

    The medallion scheme is theoretically a way to keep traffic down. It produces all sorts of warped markets and exploitative situations which make things worse for cabbies and customers. A few years ago the city introduced new medallions for the first time in decades and couldn’t even sell them all, even though before the expansion they were trading for $150k – so not even the city benefits, only the fleet owners and medallion speculators. there are still less cabs in NYC now than there were before World War II.

    Anyone who’s ever driven a route they know with a GPS system (or used Google Maps, etc.) knows that these things are awful at local routes and just try to push you to highways and main thorougfares with no regard for traffic, construction, etc. Coverage is also specifically awful in urban areas, with underprivileged neighborhoods the worst covered of all. (It’s not just the rich who need cabs.) But cabbies who don’t stick to GPS determined routes can be fined and get TLC points which can lead to losing their licenses. It’s a case of a nice idea that’s not ready for prime time, and will end up hurting lots of people.

  18. Falconfire says:

    Lets just clear things up real fast, the GPS is NOT for the Cabbie. Its for the fare to know where they are going.

  19. chazz says:

    That’s the first I heard the cabs had to stick to the GPS planned route. I find that hard to believe. If a steet is closed…..