Feb 28 2012

iPads Could Add Interactivity to New York City Taxis

Square’s proposal would install Apple’s tablet in the city’s iconic taxicabs.

New York City’s taxis will get a dose of interactivity if Square, a San Francisco–based mobile-payment company, succeeds with its proposal to outfit 50 of the city’s cabs with iPads.

The New York Times reports that Square hopes to leverage the iPads so that its mobile-payment processing system can be used in taxis. The iPads would also allow riders to play games and use social networking apps while in the cabs.

If Square’s proposal succeeds, it will cut into the Taxi TVs that are already installed in New York City cabs, which are managed by VeriFone and Creative Mobile Technologies. This closed television network and fare system licenses news from ABC and NBC and allows riders to pay by credit card while inside the car.

But this isn’t Square’s debut at the taxicab ball. Its payment processing system is already being used in cabs in Baltimore; Orlando, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; and San Francisco. And the company already processes $2 billion transactions a year, according to a Square spokesperson.

Last year, BizTech profiled intaBORO, a small black-car transportation services company also based in New York City that successfully deployed Samsung Galaxy Tab tablets in its fleet of vehicles.

But intaBORO’s tablets — replacements for the company’s legacy radio system — were meant for their drivers, not their passengers.

“The driver can get directions to the address if he needs it,” says System Manager Andrew Ungureanu. “If their passenger is going to the airport, the driver can go online and check to see if the flight will be on time. If the driver is waiting for a long time, they can look at online newspapers or play a game on the tablet. They don’t have to worry about missing calls because the tablet is always with them. Everyone is much happier now.”

Do you operate a transportation company and are you considering implementing tablets? As a passenger, would you like to see tablets in taxicabs?

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/xjrlokix/4379281690/sizes/l/in/photostream/" target="_blank">Flickr/Ben Fredericson</a>