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Saturday, April 17, 2010

New York Taxicab Passenger Enhancements Project (T-PEP)

In order to provide better service to passengers, the Taxi and Limousine Commission mandated the following equipment be installed in all yellow cabs: 

Credit Card/Debit Card Payment System - Taxicabs now accept cash and credit/debit cards for all fares.  The equipment is installed in the rear of the cab to provide a high level of security as passengers swipe their own card and are in control during the transaction.

Passenger Information Monitor (PIM) – A screen is installed in the back seat to provide both information and entertainment.  All monitors have buttons to both mute and turn off the PIM.  The PIM displays a map with the taxicab's current location and facilitates payment of all fares.

Trip Sheet Automation – Using Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) technology, the collection of trip sheet data is now automatic.  This has improved the accuracy of collected data which helps facilitate the return of lost property.

Text Messaging – A Driver Information Monitor (DIM) permits messages to be sent to drivers when the vehicle is stopped.  These messages can be used to assist drivers in returning lost property, to be made aware of large events and fare opportunities and to help avoid traffic congestion.

Passenger Frequently Asked Questions

How does T-PEP benefit passengers?
All taxicabs now accept cash or credit/debit cards, increasing passengers' payment options.   A Passenger Information Monitor (PIM) installed in the back seat displays a map showing the vehicle's current location, in addition to providing news and entertainment.  The system will also assist in returning lost property by improving information flow between the TLC and drivers.

How long will it take if I use a credit/debit card in the cab?
A credit/debit card transaction takes about 5 seconds to process, after the card is swiped.  Sometimes it is much faster and appears to be almost instantaneous.

Can I use my credit/debit card for all fares?
Yes, drivers must accept credit/debit cards for all fares; there are no minimums or fees to use your credit/debit card.

Do I have to sign the receipt?
Customers only need to sign the receipt when the fare is $25.00 and over.

Will the map offer directions or traffic conditions?
No, the map will only show where you are currently located, and may contain "breadcrumbs" displaying the route you have traveled.

Can I turn off the monitor in the backseat?
As required by TLC rules, passengers are able to turn off either the sound or the entire monitor.  If it had been turned off, the monitor will reactivate at the end of the ride to assist in payment.

What happens if my credit/debit card does not work?
If the credit/debit card payment does not process, passengers can pay in cash or use another card.

Will drivers be distracted by text messages being sent to the cab?
No, the system is designed so that text messages can only be displayed when the cab is stopped or moving very slowly.  There will be no keyboard for drivers, who will only have to push a button to reply.

If after swiping my credit/debit card, the driver informs me that the card transaction did not go through and requests cash, what should I do?
The Passenger Information Monitor (PIM) located in the backseat informs the passenger if the credit/debit card is approved.

If the screen indicates that the credit card has been approved, your card will be charged and the driver will be paid.  In most cases the last four digits of your credit card number will be noted on the receipt.

If you are double charged, call your credit card company to request a chargeback. You may also call 311 and bring a consumer complaint against the driver. If you want to press charges, you must agree to participate in a TLC consumer hearing. Passengers should always ask for a receipt.

Is a driver allowed to refuse to let a passenger use his/her credit/debit card?
No, drivers are required to accept American Express, MasterCard, VISA and Discover (and some will accept the JCB Card) for all fares. The driver must accept credit/debit cards for any fare amount.  If a driver claims the credit card system is broken and/or prevents a passenger from using their credit/debit card, please report the medallion number to the TLC by calling 311.

What if a driver says the system is not working?
The passenger should note the medallion number and call 311.  Drivers are permitted to work with a broken system for up to 48 hours as long as they have reported the problem and are awaiting repair.  Almost all (90%) system repairs must be completed within six hours.

I am concerned about security, who will swipe the credit/debit card?
All the equipment is installed in the back seat of the cab. The passenger swipes the card and can enter the tip on the touch screen located in the back seat. There is no need to hand the card to the driver.  In addition, all taxicab systems are certified by the Payment Card Industry (PCI).

Can I use a keypad to enter my debit card pin number?
The systems only work with signature based credit cards/debit cards. There are no PIN based functions built into the systems. This feature may be added at a later date. If a MasterCard or Visa logo is present on the debit card, it should be accepted by the taxis.

Which credit/debit cards are accepted?
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and in some instances, JCB
Debit cards: Signature based Visa and MasterCard.

How will I get my receipt?

The driver will hand you the receipt as they do now.

How will text messaging for lost property work and will it be available 24-hours a day?
After a passenger calls 311, he or she will be transferred to a TLC representative.  The TLC representative will create a lost property report  and perform a query to find the lost property based on trip information such as, time of trip along with Medallion/License Plate Number, Pick Up and Drop Off locations and form of payment.

Reports will be collected 24-hours a day, but initially most queries will only be performed during business hours.

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