NYC Cabbies Protest GPS Installation
New York City cab drivers protested outside the city’s taxi commission offices Monday against the installation of global positioning systems in their taxis, Newsday reports.Taxi regulators have been exploring the possibility of requiring all New York City cabs to come equipped with the location devices. The system envisioned by the city might be able to feed drivers information about traffic, let passengers see how close they are to tourist attractions and allow taxi officials to find a vehicle quickly in an emergency.But cost and privacy issues worry drivers. Rally organizers claim the systems could cost $3,000 to install, plus another $125 to $175 per month to maintain, according to Newsday.New York Taxi Workers Alliance executive director Bhairavi Desai said in the report that because cabbies are independent operators, not city employees, officials have no right to monitor their whereabouts, she said.Taxi Commission Chairman Matthew Daus scoffed at fears of government spying and disputed the cost claims, but he failed to put forth an expected cost, only saying there might be little or no extra charge to cabbies.The GPS units would be installed as part of other technological upgrades, including allowing passengers to pay by credit card.Some cab companies already use GPS to aid dispatching. However, New York City regulations bar cabs to be dispatched to a specific location. Drivers must find fares on their own. New York residents who need to schedule a pickup must call a car service.