New York City will soon be requiring that all taxi cabs be outfitted with GPS tracking systems, and the cabbies don’t like that one bit.
The city currently has more than 13,000 cabs that would fall under the new regulation. Starting October first of this year, the taxis must all have the GPS system, as they come up for inspection.
The system would include both the GPS tracking equipment, plus touch screen monitors that would allow taxi passengers to pay by credit card, check on current news stories, and even look up destination information, such as restaurants, shopping and entertainment venues.
The plan is required by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.
If the plan goes ahead as promised, the Taxi Worker’s Alliance group has their own promise, that they will idle the cabs and stop work. The Taxi Worker’s Alliance is an advocacy group, not a union. The group, which has more than 8,400 members and is represented by Bhairavi Desai, executive director, objects to the GPS tracking system part of the requirement. They are concerned that the GPS system is an invasion of the privacy of the cabbies, since the GPS system would allow for the possibility of the movement of taxis being tracked.
If the Taxi commission abandons the tracking part of the plan, “then there’s room to sit down and talk,” Desai told the Associated Press. He said that if the commission does go through with the plan then the group will organize a work stoppage. No details as to the dates, times or length of the “strike” were given.
What do you think of this story? Are the taxi cab drivers privacy threatened by GPS systems? Should the drivers in fact be accountable for their locations during the time that they are working, as they drive people around the city? I tend to go with the later opinion. I’m not sure why exactly the locations of the cabs should be so secret during work hours. But perhaps I am not seeing the bigger picture. I’d love to hear your opinion.
Mary Ann Romans also writes for the Frugal Living Blog here at Families.com, where she shares money saving tips for today’s families.