Running perpetually late, I hopped a cab to work this morning and was instantly mesmerized by this glowing, talking, foreign object in front of me. (Sorry for the crap phonecam pics. here is a video I shot as well) Well, not SO foreign. The LCD touchscreen showed my current position on a map of NYC (stuck in gridlock at 34th and 6th Avenue) with cute little blue dots denoting my progress. This held my attention for about 10 seconds (probably just long enough for the NBC.com advertisement to subliminally give me the urge to watch Heroes) and after pawing the screen I was presented with news, weather, and sports videos. Sweet! After reaching my destination at 41st and Park Ave, my fare appeared on the screen; I swiped my debit card right there and was on my way. A little Googling gave me this overlooked news bit from December:
From the AP Wire:
NEW YORK – New York’s next generation of cabs is coming – complete with TV. The new features – designed to help riders pass the time, pay the fare and even find their lost umbrellas – are expected to start hitting the streets within two weeks.
The city Taxi & Limousine Commission gave a preview Thursday, showing off a touch-screen device that lets passengers check news and weather reports, look up restaurant reviews and track their cab’s progress on an electronic map.
The tracking feature also promises to make it easier for riders to retrieve things they leave behind. Rather than racking their minds for a medallion number, riders will be able to call a city information line and say where they were dropped off and what was lost. The taxi commission will work from that to try to find the cab.
The new features also include a credit-card reader, a significant addition for the largely cash-only taxi system. Riders can even calculate a tip.
Any of you readers been in one of these new NYC cabs yet? Or maybe something better in another city!?