As a pilot program, Square is proposing to replace fifty of New York's often criticized "Taxi TVs" with “similarly shaped iPads or other tablets” in the rear seats of cabs, and without the noise, according to the New York Times.
Verfione Media and Creative Mobile Technologies (CMT), two companies controlling the Taxi TV market, and who have contracts with major networks like NBC and ABC to target the industry's vast and captive audiences nationwide, have blocked Square at least once before from fraying into the New York territory.
But David Yassky, chairman of the TLC, told the New York Times, "Our job isn't to look out for the welfare of a particular company". In that article, he later added, "My job is to get the best product and technology available to taxis and passengers." The New York Times full story can be read HERE.
If approved, Square could enable passengers to swipe their cards from the back seat at any point in the cab ride, note their location, interact in social networking, and while some people (including this author) could think it a little silly, even play computer games.
But more importantly to cab drivers, Square could challenge the dominant, taxi industry practice of 5% that companies like Verifone, CMT, and others are currently charging taxi drivers all over the country for credit card fees. Square could bring the fees down to 2.75% across the board, a rate generally considered more normal for day to day businesses.
Square card processing on a smart phone
“The city may ditch the blaring taxi TVs that drive passengers and cabbies nuts and replace them with iPads, officials said yesterday." (February 21, 2012)
The same New York Post story published this about Square's offer to the New York TLC.
"A private company has proposed a pilot program that would remove the current screens — which run a continuous loop of local news segments and commercials from TV stations — and install the tablet computers, city officials told The Post. It would be tried out in 50 cabs.
And in the same article, at least one New York cab driver's opinion on Square is,
“It sounds better than this,” said Orlando Morales, a cabby for two decades, as he pointed to the screen in the back of his yellow taxi.
“It’s all the same garbage over and over. It drives me nuts listening to this s--t all day long.”
“...don't be shocked when this program gets a green light on March 1. And don't be upset!
The program would not only mean that cabbies wouldn't have to deal with an endless loop of pithy news bites, it would also mean that passengers would be able to swipe their credit card at any time, get receipts via text or e-mail, play some games even and use a far more familiar interface than the hodgepodge currently available.”