Friday, August 24, 2007

NYC Taxi Drivers Alliance Promises to over GPS Plans

August 06, 2007 (Computerworld) -- New York taxi drivers have promised to go on strike next month unless the city halts plans to require that Global Positioning System technology be installed in the city’s 13,000 cabs by early next year.

Members of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which represents about 8,400 drivers, are worried that their bosses will track their whereabouts even when they are off-duty, according to statements from six drivers and Executive Director Bhairavi Desai.

At a press conference late last month, driver Lea Acey said a GPS is “like an ankle bracelet they put on criminals.” The alliance plans to announce a strike date in mid-August.

Diebold must fix its optical scanner by Aug. 17.
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission last week said that it does not plan to change the schedule for implementing the Technology Enhancements Service Project, which would let passengers pay fares via credit cards, eliminate some paper rec­ords and let riders watch the taxi’s route in real time on a screen.

Under the plan, all taxicab owners must sign contracts with one of four approved technology vendors — Creative Mobile Technologies LLC, Digital Dispatch Systems Inc., Taxi Technology Corp. or VeriFone Transportation Systems Inc. — this month and have the systems installed between Oct. 1 and Jan. 31.

“It’s reasonable for an employer to deploy GPS,” said Craig Mathias, an analyst at Farpoint Group in Ashland, Mass., who has consulted on GPS projects.

“This is not 1984 or tracking citizens,” he said. “It is tracking people with objects, and it will improve efficiency.”

At the same time, Mathias said he understands the concerns. “People are rightly worried about Big Brother,” he said. “It should not be used unless consent is given.”

1 comment:

Lauren said...

Wouldn't it be really easy (and maybe even cheaper) to use portable GPS units that could be removed from the cabs during off-duty hours?