End of an era: Taxi TV will soon be replaced with tablets

By Virginia K. Smith | August 23, 2016 - 2:59PM 

Good news for those of you who still take yellow cabs: soon, Taxi TV will join the Son of Sam, Times Square peep shows, and countless "needle parks" among the annals of mercifully departed New York City scourges. The New York Daily News reported over the weekend that Verifone, one of the media companies behind Taxi TV, is working on plans to replace the TVs with multi-functional tablets, a change that could start rolling out as early as the end of the year.

The news doesn't come as a huge shock, as New Yorkers have been fairly vocal in their general dislike of Taxi TV, and the Taxi and Limousine Commission told the Times last year they'd voted on a pilot program to ease out the TVs. (Anecdotally, the screens are bad news if you're at all prone to motion sickness, and nigh-impossible to turn off. Or as one anonymous friend told us via email, "Hailing a cab is already so loud and hectic, the last thing you want is to be bombarded with blaring, obnoxious ads when you get in.")

A quick scroll through Twitter would imply this won't be a tearful goodbye:

In their place, Verifone is planning on touchscreen android tablets that will potentially come with wifi, options to book restaurant reservations, buy movie tickets, and stream music. On the more practical side, the tablets might also allow touch-payment options such as Apple Pay, and will feature GPS technology to calculate fares, as well as security cameras, and panic buttons for drivers.

A lot of these upgrades would seem to take aim at the extras offered by services like Uber and Lyft, and Verifone global head of product and marketing for taxi systems Jason Gross told the Daily News, "I like to think of this as a dashboard for your taxi ride. [...] What we're really hoping to do is partner with the Googles, the OpenTables, the Pandoras of the world and allow the marketplace to determine what consumers want to do."

As long as the "off" and "mute" buttons on the tablets actually work, we're all for it.


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