NYC Cabbies Who Resisted Credit Card Machines... Now Making More Money Because Of Them

from the resisting-technology dept

A rather common theme around here is how often various industries resist the use of new technologies, fearing that those technologies will somehow harm or even destroy the industry. And yet, before too long, the opposite turns out to be true. Remember how Jack Valenti declared the VCR to be the "Boston Strangler" to the movie industry? Just a few years later, revenue from VCR rentals and sales represented a massive part of the movie business's yearly income. It happens over and over again. The NY Times has a different kind of example of the same basic thing. Two years ago, Mayor Bloomberg in NY pushed for taxis to be required to take credit cards. The cabbies resisted, complaining that it would cause all sorts of problems. They even went on strike over the issue.

And yet, two years later, having easy to use credit card readers in the back of every cab means that more people are taking cabs, because it's easier, and they tend to tip more as well. Part of that is because the machines have "preset" tip suggestions that many riders use, which often result in higher tips than average. While the article still quotes a few angry cab drivers who insist that higher tips aren't true, the reporter was able to review the receipts from a few cabs and found that the average tip was 18%, with the preset tip suggestions being used more than half the time. While it's still early, it certainly seems like this was yet another overreaction to new technology that has actually ended up helping, rather than hurting.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: cabs, credit cards, nyc, technology


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  1. icon
    Javarod (profile), 10 Nov 2009 @ 9:57am

    Laughs, "This is news? Five years or so ago, i was one of the few drivers at Allstate Cab who took credit cards. It was volutary, but you had to give the company a 10% processing fee, so most of the drivers didn't want them. I looked at it as an oppurtunity to get more calls, and more than once, i became the only car that could take a call, because no one else logged in took credit cards. Sure, it cost me 10%, but i pay the company that, lease and gas, and keep everything else, so being able to get more calls puts more money in my pocket, so why not accept credit cards? Heck, in NY, its easier and offers more features, including the aforementioned tip recommendation feature, built in card swipe, and so on (back then we did it manually and phoned dispatch to get an approval number), which makes it quick and easy. Frankly i can't see why they resisted, especially with Visa pushing for increased credit card use (with policies such as not requiring a signature on card swiped transactions under $25).

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat

Warning: include(/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/pear:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/..') in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8
Recent Stories
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.