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NYC Cab Drivers Sue to Block GPS Install

September 21, 2007

On Sept. 20, a group of taxi drivers led by the Taxi Workers Alliance filed a lawsuit, countering that the city breached its authority and acted unconstitutionally in demanding the units, according to the Associated Press.Two weeks ago, thousands of drivers went on a two-day strike to dispute the rule. The suit also contains an unusual claim that some of the routes drivers take are considered proprietary, and GPS units could potentially disclose trade secrets. According to the suit, most drivers use routes they have created that they say earn them the most lucrative fares. The city’s law department is currently reviewing the lawsuit, said officials at New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission. Along with GPS units, credit card machines, a text messaging system, and television screens are being added to the taxis. The reaction from cab drivers and fleet owners has been mixed. While some welcome the additional equipment, others claim it is expensive, and violates their privacy.The Taxi Workers Alliance organized the lawsuit and filed it in federal court in Manhattan. Drivers have asked the court to halt enforcement of the requirement, and to reimburse drivers for money spent on any equipment already installed. As of October 1, cabs without the GPS units will fail city inspections. The city has also started fining taxi owners who have not yet signed contracts to install the equipment, and some have been threatened with suspension for failure to comply, reported the Associated Press.
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