To taxi officials, the touch-screen monitors popping up in cabs help passengers make the 
most of 
the 13 New York minutes spent on an average ride.

Passengers can pay by credit card -- no more fumbling for cash and tip. As a cab heads
 through Greenwich Village, for example, passengers can find ads and reviews for neighborh
ood bars and restaurants. They can also view news stories and an electronic map of their cab's
 progress.

The monitors are now in 200 city cabs as an experiment, but a plan to put them in all 13,000 
cabs has angered many drivers. They see the technology as an expensive imposition that 
would co
st them money and allow taxi owners and officials to check up on them.

The issue has a delicate history: A 2003 experiment with touch-screen television in taxis ended
 within months, amid passenger antipathy. And the drivers' group leading the opposition to the
 monitors notes that it carried out a crippling one-day taxi strike over other issues in 1998.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission is scheduled Thursday to consider an October 1 deadline 
for all of the city's cabs to start installing the systems.

"This project is nothing short of revolutionary and evolutionary for the taxi industry," Taxi and Lim
ousine Commissioner Matthew W. Daus wrote in a recent agency newsletter.

The commission called for the technology while approving a 26 percent fare increase in 2004
, and the agency argues that both riders and drivers stand to benefit.


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