Friday, July 13, 2007

The Future of New York Taxis and Limousines

Last January marked the 100th anniversary of New York City's first metered taxi cab. To celebrate the anniversary, there was an exhibit at the New York International Auto Show dubbed as the Taxi 07. New York taxis are probably the least high tech when compared to other cabs from first world nations. NYC's Taxi and Limousine Commission hopes to change that by approving a plan to install touch-screen monitors in all 13,000 city cabs over the next several months. Taxi owners will have until Aug. 1 to select one of four systems and starting Oct. 1, the taxis are required to have the technology when they come up for inspection. The League of Mutual Taxi Owners (LOMTO) in New York has recently announced that they already chose TaxiTech to provide them with the system. TaxiTech's eTaxi System was rated as Excellent by 76% of New Yorkers. The survey was conducted by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). Because of the TLC's approval and the rating given to them by NYC's riding public are the main reasons why LOMTO chose TaxiTech. The eTaxi has a 17 inch interactive touch screen that provides passengers with media content. The system can broadcast videos to the passenger, let them listen to music, or view a GPS map so that they can see exactly where they are. The eTaxi also enables passengers to pay via their credit or debit card and has an integrated accounting software so taxi fleet owners would not have to be burdened with manually recording card transactions on their books. TaxiTech wrote on their website that future enhancements of the eTaxi would enable passengers to buy movie tickets, make restaurant reservations or check in to a hotel. The eTaxi system also provides invaluable tools to taxi fleet owners as well as dispatchers and city officials. The eTaxi has a computerized dispatch system that only needs a PC and an internet access for the dispatcher. The eTaxi system also comes with an Automatic Vehicle Locator that lets taxi owners know the location of the vehicle from the time a passenger is picked-up to the point of drop-off. There's also a text messaging system included so owners can send SMS messages to taxi drivers, it has a safety feature so that only non-emergency messages are displayed on the driver's terminal when the taxi is stopped. The text messaging feature would make it easier for passengers to locate lost items and help dispatchers and officials manage their taxis in case of emergency. Aside from touch screens with internet content is already under way, other future technology that we might expect from New York taxi cabs are; wheelchair-accessible taxis with built-in ramps, taxi stands with GPS kiosks, LED-based roof signs, amd hydrogen powered taxis.