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Taxis Soon Likely To Actually Accept Credit Cards

By Alexander Hough in News on Jun 22, 2009 9:00PM

Photo from CMT's website
Hell hath no fury like a cab driver handed an American Express card. Technically-speaking, cabbies are supposed to allow payment with credit card; however, we suspect that, technically-speaking, many of you out there have gotten into arguments - or have been flat-out refused a ride - because you tried to pay with plastic. But taxicab travel is set to improve immediately now that New York-based Creative Mobile Technologies and Chicago's Taxi Medallion Management, home of the 2,600 cars of the Yellow, Checker, and Blue Diamond fleets, are beginning to install touch-screens as part of a ten-year deal signed last December.

The touch-screens, which are currently in thirty cabs and will come to an additional 760 vehicles next month, allow passengers to swipe their credit cards from the comfort of the backseat. Passengers can also follow their trip via Google Maps, and eventually there will be additional shiny things, such as news, entertainment, and restaurant listings. And if you like advertisements, you're in luck, because CMT is providing the touch-screens free of charge in exchange for rights to ad revenue.

The reasons for cabbies' reluctance to accept credit is clear: 5% of the fare gets taken by the credit card company. But according to a study by Visa, people paying with credit cards tip significantly more, a robust 22% as opposed to the 15% average that cash customers shell out. Sure, there seems to be a glaring conflict of interest in a study about the benefits of using credit cards conducted by a credit card company, but the increased gratuity seems reasonable, especially considering the touch-screens' built-in tip calculators. [Tribune]