The monopoly on mobile video and fare technology of Taxi TV is being threatened by a possible move toward iPads in taxi cabs in New York.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission is reviewing a proposal by the popular mobile payment company Square to replace Taxi TV in 50 cabs with iPads or other tablets, which would allow riders to play games, check in on Facebook and pay for their cab fare all at once.
Taxi TV, which is currently used in the majority of cabs in New York, is controlled by Verifone Media and Creative Mobile Technologies. The companies have contracts with ABC and NBC to create news and advertisement spots that are shown on the in-cab video screen. Passengers can also pay for their fare by using Taxi TV and the cabdriver pays the transaction fee.
Square’s proposal would allow passengers to play with a tablet device and pay with their credit card through their mobile payment service. The biggest benefit would be to cabdrivers who would be able to pay a lower transaction fee for the service.
Verifone and Creative Mobile Technologies are not going down without a fight. Square’s original presentation was set for January 19, but due to a letter from Jeffery Wilson, general counsel for Creative Mobile Technologies to David Yassky, chairman of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, the presentation has been delayed to March 1.
Wilson questioned Square’s security technology suggesting that it could leave passenger’s information at risk. He also asserted that Creative Mobile and Verifone both went through extensive testing before their services could be used with Taxi TV.
Yassky said that, at that time there was less research available on credit card security and that “There’s a lot we don’t have to figure out going forward.”
Square boasts more than $2 billion in transactions a year and is already being used by taxi drivers in Baltimore, Orlando, Portland and San Francisco.
Some cabdrivers that currently have Taxi TV in their cars have already started using Square’s payment services because credit cards are verified immediately when they are swiped, and the transaction fee is significantly lower than Verifone or Creative Mobile’s.
[via The New York Times]