Whenever I take the L-Train in the morning, I expect claustrophobic conditions such as those in the picture to the right. However, whenever the cab drivers strike, the packing extends to the last part of “Option A” for my commute, the E-Train.
Drivers were protesting plans put in motion by Mayor Michael Bloomberg under which all drivers must equip their cars with global satellite positioning systems and machines to take credit cards, partially at their own cost.
The satellite system includes a monitor for passengers to follow their route, check news and weather, view advertisements, and pay their fare by bank card.
&ndashNew York taxi drivers ‘regroup’ after lackluster strike
There are many things I don’t understand about the changes that are being required that have the cab drivers in an uproar:
- Why GPS for the passenger but not for the driver? How come I still have to inform the driver of every single turn once we enter the fine borough of Brooklyn? Besides, the system is so lagged that one night the driver found the correct turn before I did as a result of the fact that I was navigating by the screen, which was five blocks behind.
- Probably half of the cabs I’ve ridden in since I moved here in March already had some kind of cheap-looking credit card reader on the back of the separation glass. Were those fee-free for the driver?
- The union(s) are claiming that the changes are also disadvantageous to the passenger. I don’t see that at all. I have ridden in the newly retrofitted cabs on several occasions already, and while hearing Jim Cramer scream at me about the stock market was a little annoying at three in the morning, I do remember there being an “off” button, which contradicts what I heard in an interview with a cab driver yesterday. And the credit card thing? That’ll make me more likely to actually take a cab, which should offset any fractional losses. Come on, it’s 2007… I pay for $2 coffees with a card. Why shouldn’t I be able to do so for a $20 cab ride?
As for this soon-approaching morning? I am seriously contemplating “Option B” again: “G to the C.”
- Getty Images via “Too Many Hipsters Bring Down L Train Grades” – New York Magazine
- “NY Taxis want no GPS” – NaviGadget