Yesterday, we told you about the new, GPS-enabled monitors the city wants to make mandatory in yellow cabs. Some drivers are saying they’re ready to strike over the matter, claiming an invasion of privacy (the software would show, and record, the cab’s route) but more likely don’t want to cover the new toy’s cost (reported as $7,200). Today, we got word from a city official vigorously disputing that number.
Looks like there are four tech companies bidding on the right to manufacture the monitors, all four “fiercely competitive” and expected to undercut each other. Also offsetting the monitors’ costs to the cab owners — and here’s where things get interesting — will be “advertising fees.” That’s right: After a brief safety message, the monitor will regale the passenger with ads (and simultaneously report the driver’s bank-account number to the IRS and Homeland Security — kidding!). Work continues on the technology so as not to repeat the piercing Elmo mistake of a few years back. In one respect, though, it’s already better: The thing will have an off button.