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Non-Alcoholic

New Orleans taxis now serve up cold drinks on the go

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    Simon Garber, owner of New Orleans Carriage Cab, poses inside a taxi cab with a backseat vending machine in New Orleans.AP/Gerald Herbert

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    March 19, 2013: A backseat vending machine inside a taxi in New Orleans.AP/ Gerald Herbert

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    March 19, 2013: A soda sits in a dispenser behind the back seat of a taxi in New Orleans.AP/Gerald Herbert

Forget about TV in taxicabs—that’s so old school. Now passengers in New Orleans cabs can grab a drink on the go.

With a click of a button and swipe of a credit or debit card, New Orleans Carriage Cab and Yellow-Checker Cab passengers can pick from a selection of non-alcoholic beverages (sorry folks) for $0.99.  About 200 taxis have been outfitted with custom soft drink-vending machines, which hold up to 36 cans of Coke, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, iced tea and orange Fanta. 

“We decided to introduce the vending machines in New Orleans because it is the nation’s hub of innovation. The city welcomes new ideas. Couple that with its long-term history of being a hospitality leader, launching the drink dispenser here made sense for the city and the tourism industry,” said New Orleans Carriage Cab and Yellow-Checker Cab owner Simon Garber in a prepared statement.

For those not in the Big Easy, Garber says future vending machine rollouts are being planned Chicago and New York.

“The vending machines will be accessible to any operator that wants to have this technology in their cabs,” said Garber.  “Passengers across the country will appreciate knowing they can have a cold beverage on the go at an affordable price.  They will not have to make an extra stop to get a drink.”

Mark Romig, head of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp., said the concept reinforces the city's lock on hospitality.

"We pride ourselves on being No. 1 in hospitality," he said. "It's yet another example of how we can foster economic growth through tourism."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.