NYC Cabbies Resist GPS

from the and-I-know-the-way-so-no-funny-business dept

One place where GPS tracking seems like it could be eminently useful is in taxicabs. It could help cab companies better route their cars, help drivers find their way around, and benefit consumers by giving them some assurance they were being taken to their destination expeditiously. Now, with the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission considering making GPS required equipment in the city's cabs, cabbies are saying they don't want it. They don't want to shell out the $3000 to $5000 per car for the equipment, but like a lot of workers, they just don't want to be tracked. They're afraid the systems will violate their rights by monitoring for speeding and other offenses, but could it just be a concern that they'll no longer be able to take unwitting passengers on the scenic route?


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    clouser, Oct 3rd, 2005 @ 5:35pm

    think

    i think its just the upfront money. $3K-$5K. who has it liquid and ready to go for something unproven.

    and what's in it for them.

    they just don't see the benefits yet to take the risk and incur a negative cash flow with a murky NPV.

    nothing more than that.

    we need an ethnographic research project here...someone go ride around with them a bit an really find out what the issue is...

     

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      Fyre, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 12:49am

      Re: think

      The issue is pretty much the following:
      1) GPS enables companies to track their driver to a finite measurement (within 10 feet or so, usually), as well as enabling them to track speed, speed over time, speed relative to distance, etc...
      2) An extension of 1, for those dispatched cabbies, if they're not where they're supposed to be, when they're supposed to be, they will no longer be able to lie to the dispatcher. Also, they could face automatic discipline based off of speed.

      I know when I was dispatching for a cab company here in Houston, we used GPS on all vehicles. We were able to track the cab in real-time (invaluable during an emergency), as well as tell when a driver was lieing to us about his/her whereabouts in relation to a dispatched trip (which happens often). Additionally, anytime a driver exceeded 77 mph, the system alerted us and we checked on the driver. Normally they were just in a rush and we warned them to slow down, but once or twice that ended up being a trouble signal when they couldn't hit the emergency button without being seen.

      Basically, cabbies who don't want GPS don't want to give up their ability to cheat, easily. I should know... I was a hack (err, that would be "taxi driver"), myself, before I dispatched.

       

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        Ivan Sick, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 5:41am

        No Subject Given

        It is probably a combination of the lack of privacy and the cost. I don't know how things work in New York, but in Chicago a cabbie has to pay $30,000 just for the license to drive a cab, in the form of a medallion bolted to the hood. And now they should pay another $3,000? Who can blame them, especially when they still must operate under somebody else's system? I know it's a different business model, but when I am employed by someone else, I expect them to cover my expenses. And the taxi industry model is clearly not good for the drivers; most of them work 72 hour weeks just to break even, after living expenses and buying that stupid medallion.

         

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    clouser, Oct 3rd, 2005 @ 5:43pm

    gps

    BTW we use GPS here in the UK for taxis and it works like a charm. they like it.

     

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    DGK12, Oct 3rd, 2005 @ 7:09pm

    Makers

    Well tell the makers of GPS that they're worthwhile, because a lot of people have may lose faith in them when they decide that the world needs to change how they read time, so that they would have an easy workaround to their oversight of how time actually works. The system simply doesn't work well with time, so they want to push the blame (or the problems responsibilities at least) onto everyone else. See http://news.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=1975362005 for details.

     

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    Rob Henderson, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 3:02am

    "Required" is the key issue

    We can discuss all day whether is is a good idea for a particular cab company or individual to install GPS systems, and come up with lots of pros and cons. This is exactly what each business should do on its own. Having the city commission mandate GPS use seems like a rather inappropriate intrusion into the free market.

     

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      Ron, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 5:38am

      Re:

      There is a lot to be gained though, if you can guarantee that all cabs have GPS, you are ensuring that there is a certain level of safety and a reduced likely-hood of being taken on the scenic route. That is good for the industry, and the tourist industry.

      Just knowing that some of the cabs have this (and not knowing which ones) is not going to give anyone a warm-fuzzy.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 7:45am

      Re:

      For those unfamiliar with the peculiarities of the New York taxi market, there are no private operators here. All of the taxis are operated by the city taxicab and limousine commission. So there are no private companies to decide whether or not they want the GPS installed in their fleet.

       

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        TLC Rep, Mar 20th, 2006 @ 12:27pm

        Re: Re:

        Actually, "Anonymous Coward's" comment is entirely inaccurate. New York City taxicabs are owned and operated by a mixture of individual owner/drivers, fleet operators and lease agents that lease cabs to drivers by the week, month or longer term. The Taxi and Limousine Commission does not operate any of the city's 12,779 taxicabs, but rather is the governmental regulatory authority. In other words, we license, regulate, enforce and adjudicate.

         

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    Ron, Nov 21st, 2006 @ 12:42pm

    GPS tracking

    Two things on this topic. First off, if the cabs are owned by the city and leased to the drivers, then the driver's should not be responsible for the cost of the system. The city should pay for it. Secondly, there are other way cheaper solutions for tracking.

     

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    JOSE, Jan 19th, 2007 @ 6:12pm

    NYC CABBIES RESIST GPS

    I'M A NYC CABBIE. THE FASTER I CAN PICK-UP AND DROP-OFF THE MORE MONEY I MAKE. 95% OF MY TRIPS ARE WHITHIN MANHATTAN, 85% OF MY PASSANGERS LIVE OR WORK THERE. THE ISLAND IS LESS THAN 2 MILES WIDE SO THE ONLY WAY TO TAKE THE SCENIC ROUTE IS TO GO THE WRONG WAY ALL-TOGETHER, TRAFFIC IS TERRIBLE.
    YOU BETTER BELIEVE I'LL GO THE FASTEST WAY POSSIBLE.
    IT'S ALL ABOUT INVASION OF PRIVACY. WE ARE NOT PAID BY THE CAB COMPANIES OR THE CITY. WE RENT THESE VEHICLES FOR OVER $100 PER 12 HOUR SHIFT. WHY SHOULD WE BE TRACKED. NOT EVEN THE CITY BUSES ARE TRAKED THIS WAY. PLUS THE GPS SYSTEM DOES NOT PROVIDE THE DRIVER WITH DIRECTIONS OR A MAP, THE SCREEN IS IN THE PASSANGER SIDE OF THE SAFETY PARTITION. THE POSSIBILITIES FOR OWNER AND GOVERNMENT ABUSE ARE NOT WORTH THE BENEFIT. WHAT BENEFIT IS THERE TO THE DRIVER?

     

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    Rozal, May 11th, 2007 @ 1:50pm

    Helping or hindering

    I've been a cabbie for over 17 years in NYC and when I heard that today they passed the bill to put GPS on cabs I was stunned. I must agree with Jose because the city is not paying cabbies nor are the cab companies. When a cabbie rents a cab for a week, the car is his and he has to pay the cab company no matter if he works or not. The cab company is not charging him based on how much he makes, there is a large base fee and he has to pay even if he doesn’t work a few days of the week. Also this GPS dose nothing but make the cabbies life difficult. For those people who thinks that the GPS will help catch those cabbies who try to cheat, to them I would say “when have you not cheated”? Also how would you feel if your boss stood behind you at work and sow every move that you were making? This is just another way to keep tracking devices on people. Now, it may seem harmless but this may be only the beginning to the start of a global tracking system on the public. Sure they are only using this on cabbies now but it will not take long before they pass it on to the public. It's basically invasion of privacy.

     

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    Joseph Nicholas, Jul 26th, 2007 @ 8:28am

    gps in taxis

    NYC taxi medallions are now selling for over 600000. It's not the drivers that are going to pay for the installation of the gps devices, it's the medallion owners. I have no sympathy for the owners- they have seen tremendous asset growth in the last decade. It is high time for them to make some improvements. I don't understand why the TLC isn't making the taxis switch over to hybrid vehicles more rapidly.... Just the fuel savings would allow the drivers to earn much more money...

     

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    unknown, Sep 4th, 2007 @ 4:51am

    ethics

    Today ethics, greed humilty and honesty is an issue all around the world not just in the taxi world. look at our real estate scandle. See how our governement and a consortium of banks (citi, lehman, merrill and credit suisse) help bail out kkr and first data. ethics, greed and honesty. this is bigger than tlc, the mortgage foreclosures, black tuesday and the oil prices. lets get a grip people. their are dishonest people of all shades in all businesses.i.e mechanics?? do unto others as u want them to do to you. not screw u and everyone else or see where its going.

     

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    sam, Oct 15th, 2007 @ 10:07am

    gps in taxis

    aside for the invasion of privacy, big brother issues etc. having GPS and tracking vehicle locations becomes a possible legal issue as it can place people in locations during events or accidents that until now the taxi company and the driver can deny being there. although it sounds nice to have in theory, it does add to the possible legal costs, defending your drivers who are near the scene of a crime/accident that until now cant be proven - without the data evidence, you can play dumb - its hard to do that when the data is unforgiving.

     

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    Dennis Baldwin, Oct 18th, 2007 @ 10:12pm

    Taxi GPS Tracking in Kenya

    I completely understand the privacy concern as I work for a company that sells a simple GPS tracking product. Our customers always have concerns and generally ask us what our policy is regarding whether or not to tell their employees about being tracked. We don't believe in covert tracking and that this should always be disclosed to whoever is being tracked. In a lot of cases the tracking is of a mobile asset such as a portable generator so privacy becomes irrelevant. Unless the machine feels violated, of course :)

    At any rate, I stumbled across this VERY INTERESTING video that details some of the pros/cons of tracking taxi cabs in Nairobi, Kenya. The system appears to be much more affordable than what is being pushed on the NYC cabbies, but maybe the technology is significantly different. I thought all the cabbies out there would find this interesting. The IT guy in the video does make mention of one deployment where all the drivers in the company left after the system was intalled.....YIKES.

    http://www.gpsvids.com/view/491

     

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