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Square to pilot-test iPads in NYC taxicabs


While some things about getting around New York haven't changed much -- the subway is still faster than a taxi 95% of the time, and good luck hailing a ride to the outer boroughs on a rainy Friday afternoon -- the technology inside the taxis has been upgraded quite a bit in the past five years.

Cab riders in the Big Apple have had the option of paying by credit card since 2008, and they now "enjoy" ride-long backseat video from the local ABC and NBC affiliates playing on an embedded touchscreen display (yes, there's an off button). That's not the end of the innovation road, however; the commission that administers taxi rules in the city (the TLC) began the RFP process for upgrades to taxi tech almost three years ago.

Yesterday, the TLC approved three 30-unit pilot installations of iPads in taxis, replacing the backseat displays. NY1 reports that two of the vendors testing the tablets, VeriFone and CMT, are the same ones who built out the current system. The third is a familiar player in the iOS commerce crowd: Square, known for its trademark white card reader and dead-simple payment process. TLC chief David Yassky suggests that the new systems may increase rider use of credit cards.

The iPads are scheduled to show up on the road in the next two or three weeks. If you find yourself taking a ride with an iPad, let us know.

[hat tip to Macgasm]

photo by Dave Caolo

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