NEW YORK – A taxi drivers' group has set a strike date next month to protest new rules requiring all cabs to have electronic equipment including GPS and credit card systems. Other drivers' groups say they'll oppose a strike.
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which counts more than 8,400 members, will call for drivers to idle their cabs Sept. 5-6 to protest a requirement that all cabs have Global Positioning System technology, executive director Bhairavi Desai said Thursday.
The group fears the device could be used to track drivers' movements. The alliance also has expressed concern about fees drivers would pay for credit card processing.
"We are ready, willing and able to walk out," she said.
But other driver groups said they were not.
"It's not called for. It's unfounded and it's unfair," said Fernando Mateo, a spokesman for the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, which represents many livery cab drivers.
Four other taxi groups, together representing the drivers of about 10,000 cabs, also released a statement opposing any strike.
The Taxi & Limousine Commission is requiring all 13,000 city cabs to have touch-screen and GPS as the cabs come up for inspection, starting Oct. 1.
The technology will let passengers pay by credit card, check on news stories, map their taxi's current location and look up restaurant and entertainment information. The commission says the GPS could help recover lost property.
The Taxi Workers Alliance is an advocacy group, not a labor union. The group organized a one-day strike in 1998 that caused headaches for many residents and tourists and had city officials hustling to line up buses and vans.