Posted on August 29, 2016
Taxi TV has been around for a good decade and now it comes to an end. The days of the flickering, flashing little screens in the back of the cab are coming to an end in 2018
Taxi TV has been around for a good decade. You would need to be living under a rock not to notice the bright little displays embedded in the back of yellow city cabs all across New York City. However, the days of the flickering, flashing little screens may be coming to an end. The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) announced that it would test out alternatives to taxi technology. The new “Taxi Passenger Enhancement” plan intends to upgrade the system, replacing it with a virtual GPS meter that tracks fares and distances. The traditional TV screens will be switched to tablets. The new meter system will mirror how apps such as Uber charge their customers. The elimination of Taxi TVs raises a red flag for Broadway advertisers, as they will lose a crucial advertising medium. Broadway shows have been using the traditional TVs as a channel to capture their tourist target market for years. This advertising platform mirrored the old TV medium, as they could drop TV spots onto the push technology of Taxi TV, and get eyeballs on their content without too much additional marketing expenditure, but not anymore. “I thought I was the only one who didn’t like Taxi TV” Since the announcement by the TLC was made, many New Yorkers have voiced their support for the new idea. A board member from the Commission, Nora Marino, noted “I thought I was the only one who didn’t like Taxi TV.” According to the Taxi Commission, passengers and drivers often complained about the TV screens. The flashy monitors, repetitive ads, and often broken displays were just some of the factors that made the average 20-minute ride a nuisance. The TLC has received many complaints about the “mute” and “off” buttons not working properly. Drivers, in particular have loathed the Taxi TV for a long time. Customers also complained that if they were taking a cab ride out to JFK (lasting an hour or more) and the mute button was broken, they would be force-fed commercials for the whole ride. Drivers who lease their own cars don’t gain revenue from the TV’s advertising, and credit card companies charge them a processing fee of 5% of their earnings. When the TVs were first installed, cab drivers complained that the monitors overheated the seats, where they spend 8 to 12 hours a day. The Taxi and Limousine Commission has finally acknowledged the complaints from passengers and drivers, and the new virtual system is anticipated to innovate taxi meters nationwide.