Article I did on taxi drivers.


On Friday in New York City local cab drivers organized a protest against a new technological policy being established by the New York Transportation and Limousine Department. The mandate states that Globalized Positioning Systems (GPS's) are to be installed on all 13,000 cabs by January 2008.
Melissa Plaut, a taxi driver and author, states that, "It's an invasion of our privacy." She further states, "The device has no navigational abilities. The monitor, which is set into the partition separating the driver from the passenger, cannot be seen or accessed from the front of the cab. It does not give directions or plot routes. All it does is keep track of where you are — both on- and off-duty — and this information is then stored in the commission's databases."

According to Mohammed Amjal, a taxi driver, "The issue with the system is that it is costly. We have to be sidelined for a week while the GPS is being installed. So that is time I cannot work and I cannot afford that."
Mohammed's friend, who is a cab driver too, but asked to remain nameless, stated that the cost of the system is coming out of the cab drivers pockets, not the local government or the cab company. This means that the cab lease fees will be much higher so it can pay for this new system. "To add insult to injury, they also want us to shell the cost of using credit card fees too. So if I get a $100 fare, I have to give 10% to the credit company handling the transaction. To us $10 is a lot."
According to the Transportation spokesperson Jennifer Post, "New York is a great city with one of the best transportation systems in the world. This is just going to enable a higher level of service to our residents and visitors."
The system, which looks like a television, shows the fare's cost, trip's trajectory with surrounding landmarks, shopping centers and upscale restaurants. It also features news and sports video segments with an interactive touch screen menu the customer can control.
The cab companies are stating that the system would be used to track the nearest taxi driver to a fare. "We receive a call from a customer; we would then look at the tracking device to see which driver is closest to the client. This would cut waiting time and a loss of a fare." The information will also be kept in a database to make sure a passenger got from point A to point B not by the way of point Z.
The NY City Cab Drivers have decided to protest. There have been various public demonstrations, protests and a promise to stage another 48 hour walkout.
Governor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, decided to downplay the whole situation even making a light joke on radio, "Last time they protested an issue people said they saw less traffic and less congestion during rush hour traffic." He also added that there are some cab drivers who are going to work due to the higher rate of fares they will receive.

GPS, Globalized Positioning System, is a locator traced by satellite. This chip gives an accurate positioning and history of its user.

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