iPads may replace TVs in New York taxi cabs if Square bid succeeds

February 21, 2012

In recent years taxicabs in New York have added TVs in the back seat for passengers to enjoy, but a report in the New York Times says the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission is considering a proposal from San Francisco-based Square to replace the TVs with tablets. 

The proposal would start with a pilot project that would replace 50 Taxi TVs with an embedded tablet (iPad or other tablet) that would let passengers play computer games by swiping a credit card at any point during their trip. Square is a mobile payments company started by Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey. 

Square is expected to make a formal presentation to the Commission next month following a pitch by Dorsey a few months ago. Creative Mobile Technologies, one of two companies that control the Taxi TVs used by New York cabbies, has raised objections, including questions about Square’s security, according to the Times’ article. 

But David Yassky, chairman of the Taxi and Limousine Company, said earlier security issues related to mobile transactions had been resolved. “There’s a lot that we don’t need to figure out going forward,” he said in the article. “My job is to get the best product and technology available to taxis and passengers.” 

For its part, Square says its technology has already proven itself having already processed over $2 billion in transactions a year. Also, Square's technology is already deployed by taxis in Baltimore, Orlando, Fla., Portland, Ore. and San Francisco using card readers attached to smartphones. 


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