With Some Help From NY1, News And Video Comes To The City's Taxicabs
NY1 News has teamed up with a new data-delivery company to provide up-to-the-minute news and information to the city's taxicab riders. Tech Beat Reporter Adam Balkin covered Tuesday's announcement by the Taxi and Limousine Commission, and filed the following report.
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If you spend cab rides frustrated because you're stuck in traffic or worried that your driver's about to get you killed, you're about to get a way to take your mind off things.
The city's Taxi and Limousine Commission is starting a program to install computer screens in the backseat of cabs, including some screens you interact with and some you just watch.
“What we're announcing here today is new technology that we're going to be testing and experimenting with in the back of New York City yellow cabs,” said TLC Commissioner Matthew Daus at Wednesday's announcement in Queens.
Seven companies are providing systems for the program, including "Interactive Taxi," which will provide taxi riders with local news from NY1, as well as national coverage from Fox News.
“NY1 is our emergency news and information resource,” said Corey Gottlieb of Global Vision Interactive. “We're calling out every five minutes to New York City’s top news source to find out if there's anything going on that affects the taxi-riding public, like street closures. If there's some kind of news that's breaking that New Yorkers need to know about, they'll find out here from NY1 in our taxi cabs.”
The real-time NY1 content is being supplied through a proprietary data feed system developed by NY1 in conjunction with Outlook Technologies, the Chicago-based Internet development firm.
Taxi riders will also be able to use the Interactive Taxi system to search for restaurants, movies and local entertainment.
Interactive Taxi launched their system in five specially-marked cabs on Wednesday, and company officials say they're shooting to have 100 more on the road within the next six weeks.
Other companies will be providing similar services.
“We will have a variety of vignettes and video programming on museums, on restaurants, entertainment, celebrities and fashion to name a few,” said Jordan Bienenstock of Taxi TV. “We will have the ability to have credit card transactions and ticket purchases, as well.”
“Broadway is the center of entertainment,” said Tom Haymond of Broadway TV. “And what we have is an entertainment-based program that'll make the passenger's ride more enjoyable.”
If you want something more hip, I Love Taxi TV will feature some quick flicks.
“Our programming will consist of short, independent films by New York City filmmakers,” I Love Taxi TV's Lauren Malice, “as well as programming with a host - rock and roll hall of famer and personality Joey Reynolds.”
There's also E-Taxi New York, which will offer entertainment and information, and allow you to pay for your ride with plastic.
“It provides for a safe, simple and fast electronic payment for all popular credit cards, charge cards, online debit cards and offline debit cards,” said Dick Thaler of E-Taxi New York. “And that's at no additional cost to the passenger.”
You can expect all of these technology companies to vie for your attention in the next few months. But the newfangled screens won't be everywhere; it will likely be years before most taxis have them.