4/13/2006Philadelphia Cabs to be Monitored with GPS
The city government in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will track everyone who uses a cab in real time.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has ordered all 1600 taxicabs in the city to install global positioning system (GPS) black boxes by October 10 so that the city can monitor and log the whereabouts of cabs and passengers at all times. Another mandate took effect on Monday requiring that all cabs be retired after accumulating 250,000 miles. On the same day about two hundred cab drivers gathered in front of the Philadelphia Parking Authority headquarters, the city agency that regulates cabs, to protest the new regulations.
According to the new rules, "All Taxicabs must have a device that allows its position to be tracked by the Authority and, in the case of Medallion Cabs, their Certified Dispatcher."
The Parking Authority gave the $4.1 million black box contract to Taxitronic Inc, a company that makes the "eTrack" GPS unit for $2600. According to a Taxitronic filing with the Philadelphia Parking Authority, eTrack "provides real time vehicle location (including address), direction, speed, status (vacant/hired), etc. The system... is capable of locating a single vehicle, a fleet, or any demographic/geographic parameter desired."
The cost for the black box will be paid from the fees already assessed on taxi driver licenses. Cab drivers would be stuck paying for installation, maintenance and $18 monthly fee for the device. Taxitronic also makes credit card systems used in 1000 New York cabs.