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Taxicab Passenger Enhancements Project (TPEP) Archive

Overview of the Technology Passenger Enhancements Project (T-PEP)

Better Communication & Better Service

In March 2004, the TLC's Board of Commissioners mandated that specific technology based service improvements be implemented in all medallion taxicabs. T-PEP focuses on four areas: automated collection and submission of trip data, the installation of a passenger information monitor (including a passenger information map), incorporating electronic message transmission capability into the taxicab, and finally, the addition of equipment to enable the acceptance of credit/debit cards.

T-PEP represents a rare opportunity to significantly improve the riding experience of countless New Yorkers and visitors, as well as for drivers. The new technology greatly improves communication between the TLC and its constituents. All medallion taxicabs will  offer varied payment options for the riding public. The ability to communicate with taxi drivers on a real time basis has enabled the TLC to increase the level of service available to the riding public in groundbreaking ways.

Text Messaging
Text messaging services offer many benefits to drivers and passengers: communication with taxis in the event of a citywide emergency; streamlining the process for lost property claims; and directing taxicabs to fare opportunities by advising drivers of cruise ship schedules, major public events, and other needs for transportation.

The new system allows the TLC to send short alphanumeric messages to cabs and receive pre-programmed responses from the driver. The driver is able to transmit a response by pushing a single button. 


Automated Trip Sheet Data Collection

Before T-PEP, drivers were required to maintain a trip-log that details each and every fare that they served. The trip sheet was filled out by hand and stored in paper form. Medallion owners were required to maintain these paper trip sheets for three years.

By leveraging  state of the art vehicle location technology, the TLC has automated this process. By integrating with the taximeter, the T-PEP equipment automatically captures the pick-up and drop-off location of every fare. Paper trip sheets disappear as the TLC receives the data electronically.  The data collected is also more accurate.


Credit Card / Debit Card Payment

T-PEP allows all taxicabs to accept credit and debit cards as a form of payment. Credit cards and debit cards are widely accepted as a payment mechanism in the United States:

• 22% of all consumer payments are made by credit card
• 31% of all consumer payments are made by debit card.

Research shows that acceptance of credit and debit cards presents an opportunity for increased revenue - more trips and greater tips! Drivers will also benefit from increased safety.  Although the crime rate is near an all time low, since there is less cash on-hand, the use of credit/debit cards should further diminish the possibility of theft.

Passenger Information Monitor (PIM)
The passenger information monitor (PIM) is a flat screen monitor, similar to a laptop screen, that provides information such as news, sports, and weather to the passenger.

The PIM is installed in the rear-seat passenger area of the taxicab where it is used to complete the electronic payment process. The PIM displays the total fare at the end of every trip. The PIM is also used to communicate TLC Safety and Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and provide a map allowing the passenger to follow his or her journey through New York City and surrounding metropolitan areas.

The PIM does NOT provide "directions" to the passenger. Every PIM has an on/off and a mute button that can be controlled by the passenger.

 

Driver Frequently Asked Questions


Is the TLC going to use this technology to track drivers?
No, the TLC will only use this technology to provide those customer service improvements described here.  Even more importantly for drivers, the TLC is replacing the current hand-written trip sheets with automatic electronic trip sheets which are limited to collecting pick-up, drop-off, and fare information, all of which are already required. This technology will also provide TLC with credit card tip information.

I have heard that this system will cost drivers between $3,000 and $5,000. Is this true?
The primary cost of the system is the responsibility of medallion owners, not drivers.  There will be some transaction or service fees or monthly charges.  The TLC worked hard to negotiate fair contracts with vendors to minimize the cost to our licensees.  Monthly service fees are about $50/month to the medallion owner.

How will the system be maintained?  Who will pay for maintenance?
Repair locations have been set up throughout the City and, in many cases, the repair shops will be meter shops.  Medallion owners may pay for a maintenance contract to cover all equipment repairs and replacements or pay for repairs as they are necessary.

Are there any benefits for drivers?

Yes, we expect more trips and the data shows larger tips due to the acceptance of credit/debit cards.  Most retailers have reported increased revenue when they start accepting credit/debit cards. The text messaging system will continue to alert drivers to fare opportunities such as the arrival of a passenger cruise ship or the end of a large event.

Are passengers going to use the map displayed on the screen in the back of the cab to give drivers directions to go to a location?
The map does not encourage "backseat" driving by passengers.  It only shows the current location of the cab and the path the cab has traveled - no directions are provided.

Are there any other benefits?

Use of credit/debit cards means that the driver will have less cash on-hand, which creates safer conditions.  And the text messaging system means drivers can be notified in case of emergency situations. 

Will I need training?  How will I be trained?
The systems will be made as user-friendly as possible, but some training may be necessary, at first.  Suppliers are required to provide training and it should take about one hour.  The first training session is available free of charge. In addition, vendors have posted their training materials on their websites.  Click here for:

Taxitronic/Verifone Transportation Systems (Note: you will be leaving the TLC website)
Creative Mobile Technologies with Mobile Knowledge (Note: you will be leaving the TLC website)
Digital Dispatch Systems Inc. (Note: you will be leaving the TLC website)


Will my trip/fare information be transmitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)?
No, your fare information will not be automatically sent to the IRS.  There will be no changes to the current system, in which the IRS must send a subpoena to the TLC requesting trip sheet information.

Do I need to enter my Social Security Number to log onto the system?
No, your Social Security Number is not required to log onto the system.  Each driver is given a unique ID number and password based on the vendors' requirements.

Will the systems be used to issue speeding tickets or other similar infractions?
No, there are no plans to issue tickets for speeding or other similar infractions using the systems.

If a driver forgets to press "End of Shift" on the DIM at the end of his/her shift when will he/she be paid for credit/debit card fares?
If the driver does not submit an "End of Shift" request, the credit card fares are not processed.  For this reason, payment will be delayed until after a driver logs-off by pressing "End of Shift" or the automatic process takes place when a shift is not ended after 24 hours. 
 
What happens when a driver does not login at the beginning of his/her shift?
If a driver does not login at the beginning of his/her shift, credit/debit card payments will go into the account of the driver logged into the system, rather than the current driver.
 
When do drivers get paid for credit card transactions?
If you are a:

Fleet Driver - You are paid at the end of your shift.  Print out an "End of Shift" report from your system which shows all credit card charges during your shift and present it to the garage's cashier.  The garage will deduct up to 5% of the credit card charge.
 2nd Driver for Individual Owner - You operate under the owner's merchant account, and will be paid after your shift or have your credit/debit card fares deducted from your lease fee.
 DOV or Working with an Agent - This is basically the same as with a 2nd driver for Individual Owner. (See above.) Details need to be negotiated between the medallion holder and driver.

Can the driver act as his or her own merchant for credit card transactions?
In most cases no.  Credit card companies generally permit only one merchant account per medallion.  This means the medallion owner will act as the merchant for the driver in most cases.

Do I have to accept credit/debit cards for all trips?
Yes, drivers are required to accept credit/debit cards for all fares, even if they are only $2.50.  Setting a minimum payment amount is not allowed under the agreement signed with the credit card companies.

Can a driver charge the passenger for the credit card fees?
No, drivers are not permitted to charge more for credit than for cash.


If a passenger is paying by credit/debit card, can they also charge their tip on their credit/debit card?
Yes, the passenger can place the tip on the credit/debit card. The systems ask the passenger how much tip they would like to give to the driver.

What happens if the systems go down?
First, the driver during the shift must report the problem to the help desk's toll free number.  If the meter is still functioning, the driver may continue his/her shift.  In no event may a vehicle operate for more than 48 hours following the report of the system's malfunction.  If the meter is not functioning, the driver must return the taxicab for repairs.
The 24-hour help desk numbers are:

CMT       -  (877)268-2947
VTS       -  (888)432-7031

What happens if a passenger uses a stolen credit/debit card?
As long as the driver follows these simple requirements, he/she may be paid.
#1 - The driver must receive an authorization code from the credit/debit card processor.
#2 - If the amount of the fare is over $25, the driver must also get a signature from the passenger and save the receipt.
If these two rules are followed, the driver will receive his/her money for nearly every fare.

Is the credit/debit card fee a percentage on the total fare including the toll and tip, or just based on the fare?
Credit/debit card fees are based on the total charge including toll and tip.

How do drivers access their electronic tripsheet data?
All drivers are able to access their electronic tripsheets by logging on to a secure website provided by their technology vendor, using their unique userID and password.  If the drivers do not have access to the internet, they can request their tripsheet from their fleet or agent.  Some vendors may also have kiosks at their service stations where drivers are able to access their trip sheet information.

Do drivers have to maintain handwritten trip sheets, even if their cab is enhanced?
No, handwritten trip sheets are only required if there is a failure in the T-PEP system.

Can the driver share in advertising revenue from the PIMs?
As the medallion owner is responsible for the costs of the T-PEP systems, he/she/it is also entitled to enter into an agreement with the vendors for a share of the advertising revenue.

What should a driver do if a passenger has no cash and his/her credit/debit card is not accepted by the system?
Credit/debit cards can be rejected for two main reasons:

1 - The taxicab is in a "dead spot" and unable to connect to the data network for credit/debit card approval.

If located in a "dead spot" driving to another location may result in a successful credit/debit card transaction.
 2 - The passengers credit/debit card is invalid / over the limit.
In this situation, the driver should seek out an ATM to enable the passenger to pay in cash.  If the passenger is unwilling to locate an ATM, the driver should suggest going to the nearest police precinct instead.

In both cases, when they seek a location with a signal or an ATM, the cab should go off duty, using the code "Fare Dispute".
 

 

 

 

 








Can a driver request that the passenger swipe his/her credit card at the beginning of a long trip?  Is it possible to request pre-authorization of credit/debit card fees?
No, under the current rules, a driver cannot request that a trip be pre-paid.  The TLC is investigating pre-authorization of fares as many drivers have expressed interest in seeing this feature introduced for longer trips.
 
Is it possible to enter a negotiated flat fare for certain trips specified in TLC rules into an enhanced taxicab which would allow the passenger to pay by credit/debit card?
Yes, all enhanced taxicabs accept negotiated flat fares, which is rate code 5 on the taximeter.  Negotiated flat fares are input at the beginning of the trip.  Please see your driver's manual or call your 24-hour help desk for assistance on how to use this feature.

What happens when someone drives an enhanced cab more than 12 hours?
TLC Rules state "A driver shall not operate a taxicab for more than twelve (12) consecutive hours."

What happens if a passenger disputes a charge?
 

a.  If the fare is below $25 and the driver received an authorization, the driver will be paid in almost all situations.  Only in rare circumstances will the driver or merchant account owner not be paid 
 b. If the fare is above $25, the credit/debit card company may request the passenger signature to ensure that the signature is valid.  For this reason, it is important for drivers to save all signed credit card receipts.  In this instance, a chargeback may be charged to the technology vendor, merchant of record or driver. 






 

  

What happens if a passenger wants to pay by credit card, but the driver already pressed the "cash" button?
If this is a CMT  system, the solution is easy as there is a "Back" button on the DIM.  The driver simply presses the back button to allow the passenger to pay by  credit card.

If this is a VTS solution, the driver should enter a negotiated fare (Rate Code 5) and allow the passenger to pay by credit card.

 

 

Owner Frequently Asked Questions


If I gave TaxiTech a deposit or any amount of money, can I get my money back?
It is possible that you may not get your money back from Taxi Technology, but please save your receipts and proof of what you paid to Taxi Tech.

Can I get an extension if my retirement date is just after my inspection date?
No, there will be no new extensions granted.  You have the option of installing the T-PEP system in your current cab and then have it transferred to your new cab, or you can purchase your new cab early, and bring it to your regularly scheduled inspection.

I currently have the TaxiTech equipment in my cab, can I keep using it?
No, you need to have the TaxiTech equipment removed and one of the other vendors’ T-PEP equipment installed.  If you are charged for the removal of the TaxiTech equipment, save all receipts.

Who will remove the TaxiTech system that I currently have in my cab?
TaxiTech was obligated to remove the T-PEP system at the medallion owners’ request at the end of testing.  Your new T-PEP vendor should be able to remove the equipment.  If you are charged for this service, save all receipts.

Who makes the T-PEP systems and where can a medallion owner buy one and have it installed?
The two competing companies, in alphabetical order, are Mobile Knowledge Corp. doing business in New York through its agent, Creative Mobile Technologies; and VeriFone Transportation Systems Inc. d/b/a Taxitronic.  Each of the service providers has subcontracted with various garages and meter shops to install and service the systems or have conveniently located dedicated facilities to provide service to you.  Contact information for the vendors is available here.


Who is responsible for the costs of the T-PEP system?
The costs of the T-PEP system and its installation are the responsibility of the medallion owner while the costs of the credit card transaction fees are primarily the responsibility of the driver.  These costs are offset by the fare increase enacted in March of 2004, the largest increase in the history of the TLC.

Is there a recommended form for the contract?

Yes, the vendors must use a specific contract form with medallion owners. This form includes TLC negotiated specific protections for medallion owners and which is consistent with the contracts that the TLC has with the vendors.  The form contract also notes the maximum price that a vendor is allowed to charge.  A medallion owner can attempt to negotiate a lower price and determine whether he or she wants additional optional services. Click here for a sample of the form.

How much will it cost to install the T-PEP system?
Fixed costs: There will be an up front cost of between $0 and $4,115 followed by a monthly service charge of between $43 and $200.  The maximum total cost of ownership over a three year period depends upon the vendor and options that you choose.  The maximum total could be between $2,900 and $7,200 based upon the contract between the vendors and the TLC. Advertising fees may offset costs.   Some vendors are offering systems at minimal costs.  In many ways, signing up for T-PEP is similar to cell phone contracts.  Each vendor offers different packages, with different fee structures.

Variable  credit/debit card transaction costs:  Credit/debit card fees for owners are expected to average 3.5% to 4.00%.   These costs include fees for banks and vendors.  On a $25 credit/debit card charge, costs for owners will be $0.88 to $1.00.

Can I negotiate with a vendor for lower prices?
Yes, the figures cited above are the maximum prices permitted.

How much of this cost can I pass onto drivers?
The owner can charge the driver not more than 5.00% of the credit/debit card charges incurred during the driver's shift.

What if a medallion owner has a previously existing contract for a meter that includes a point of sale credit card device and wants to choose a different service enhancement system?
Medallion owners that currently accept credit cards cannot be bound by the terms of that contract and are free to choose whichever T-PEP system that they want.

If a medallion owner currently has rooftop advertising, does he or she have to use or buy that company's T-PEP system?
No. The medallion owner has the option to choose any approved System without any financial penalty.  However, the contract regarding rooftop advertising remains in effect.

Will the taximeter currently installed in my cab work with all Technology Enhancements vendors solutions?
Not all meters will work with the systems.  There are some that are inadequate for the task.  Meters require sufficient memory and processing capability to interface with the Technology Enhancements. Please check with your vendor before purchasing a new taximeter.

The following taximeters may or may not work with any of the two enhancement vendors:

The following meter requires an upgrade to work with the  enhancement vendors:

The following meters are inadequate for the task:

Centrodyne - 620

MetroMeter 21R

Pulsar - 2020R

Centrodyne - 610

 

Pulsar - 2010R

Genie Taximeter - Genie

 

Synalta - 720

Pulsar - 2030R

 

 

Taxitronic - TX-36
older versions require an upgrade

 

 

How long will the contract last?
The contract will last for up to three years.  Owners may have the option to extend this contract for one or two years more.

Can I switch vendors after I sign a contract?
Yes, but cancellation fees will apply.  It is similar to a cell phone contract.

Are we going to get a fare increase to pay for the T-PEP systems?
The fare increase authorized in March, 2004 included a mandate for the T-PEP systems.  There was also a subsequent fare adjustment that benefited all drivers in November 2006.

Will the medallion holder own the technology after the contract expires?
In some cases, yes.  This varies depending on the vendor and the option chosen.

What is the term of the contract? 
Medallion owners may choose a one, two or three year contract.

Is the standard three year contract extendable? By how much time? For the same terms?
The TLC has mandated the T-PEP systems be installed for three years.  After that, the future is uncertain.  There is the possibility that more vendors may enter the market.  There is no guidance after three years at the current time.

After the initial installation, who is responsible (for costs) for the maintenance of the T-PEP systems?  Who pays if my screen in the front or back seat (PIM or DIM) is damaged in an accident?
That is something to ask each vendor.  Some vendors offer service contracts and differing warranties.

Will the vendors offer warranties or insurance for the T-PEP systems?
Warranties and/or insurance options vary widely among the vendors.  Some include it in the cost, while others may charge for protection, similar to cell phone contracts.  The TLC recommends that you read the Vendor's information carefully and choose the T-PEP system that best suits your needs and concerns. 

Furthermore, medallion owners should check your vehicle's insurance plan to learn what is covered in terms of vandalism, accidents, or theft.

Are smaller cars (such as hybrids) offered a smaller PIM? If so, where will it be mounted?
Two vendors offer a screen small PIM which is installed in the back of the driver's headrest.  The small screen PIM is only available for small clean air or low emission cars without a partition.

Do the smaller cars, like the Prius, have enough room in front for the DIM?
Yes 

What if the T-PEP system does not work but the meter still operates.  Will the taxicab be able to continue to pick-up fares?
Some Systems work independently of the taximeter, others do not.  If this is important to you, make sure you ask the vendors this question.  Either way, if the System has a malfunction, those taxicabs will continue to operate for hire for a period of time so long as their meter is working properly. (Owners, drivers and agents will have required reporting and maintenance guidelines/ timelines for system malfunctions.)

When a new taxicab is hacked up with the enhancements, are TLC stickers (Passenger Information, City Map) required?
No, when hacking up an enhanced taxicab, stickers are not required since the information is available on the PIM.

If a car is set to be retired more than 6 months after the mandatory installation date, will the vendors charge to move the equipment from one cab to another?
Vendors are permitted to charge for a de-install and re-install.  This is something to negotiate prior to signing a contract.

If an owner's enhanced system in unreliable, what can they do?  What can they do if the system is defective?
The enhancements are required to work properly based on standards set by the TLC.  If problems are encountered the contract permits the owner to not pay monthly fees and the contract can even be voided.

What happens if a medallion owner refuses to have the enhancements installed or the driver simply drives around with them turned off?
If the enhancements are not installed, the owner will be subject to fines and suspension. If a driver tampers with the enhancements system and drives a cab with the enhancements turned off, the driver will be subject to fines and suspension.

If an owner wants to transfer management of his/her medallion to an agent that does not work with his/her current technology vendor, can the contract be broken?
If the contract is broken, the medallion owner will be responsible to pay all penalties stipulated in the contract between the medallion owner and technology vendor.

Chart of Vendors Offering Sale, Lease, Rent or Use of Equipment
 Mobile Knowledge Corp./
Creative Mobile Technologies LLC
 
VeriFone Transportation Systems Inc. d/b/a Taxitronic 
Method
of Acquisition
 
UsePurchase - Plan #1 -
Upfront payment + Monthly Payments
Plan #2 -
Monthly  Payments Only
Details Two Advertising
Models
Advertising Model


 

Technology Enhancements Email Updates
The Taxi and Limousine Commission has sent out periodic updates regarding the Taxicab Technology Enhancements program. If you would like to sign up, please click here


Technology Vendors Contact Information
is listed below:
 
Creative Mobile Technologies, LLC
Contractor Agent for Mobile Knowledge Corp.

Billing Address: 
42-50 24th Street
Long Island City NY 11101

Service Address:
11-51 47th Ave
Long Island City NY 11101

www.cmtnyc.com

T: (718) 937 4444F: (718) 472-4CMT (4268)
24 Hour Help Desk: (877)268-2947
                             (877)CMTaxis


President and Chief Technical Officer:  Jesse H. Davis
Chief Financial office & Chief Operating Officer: Jason Poliner
Vice President Sales & Customer Relations: Michael A. Sahm
Vice President Operations:   Jed Appelbaum
Associate General Counsel: Jeffrey Wilson



VeriFone Transportation Systems
3703 21st Street
Long Island City, NY 11101

www.verifonets.com 

T: (718)752-1656
24 Hour Help Desk: (888) 432-7031



Focus Groups

The TLC has commissioned three focus group studies to help evaluate the response of taxicab drivers and passengers to the technology service enhancements.
You can view the findings of the studies using the links below:

 Driver Study 2005 (PDF Format)

 Passenger Study 2004 (PDF Format)
 Passenger Study 2006 (PDF Format) 



Medallion Taxicab Technology Enhancements Service Archive

Pre-Proposal Bidder's Conference
On March 15, 2005, the Taxi and Limousine Commission held a Pre-Proposal Bidder's Conference.  For more information click on the links below:

List of Conference Attendees (PDF Format)
Press Release
The Price Proposal Worksheet (Excel format)
Service Enhancements RFP (PDF Format)
Addendum 2 to RFP (PDF Format)
Addendum 1 to RFP (PDF Format)


Request For Information (RFI) - Informational Exchange Conference

On Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 2 Washington Street, the TLC invited all of the companies that responded to the Request For Information (RFI) for an Informational Exchange Conference. For more information click on the links below:

IEC Presentation (PDF Format)
IEC Agenda (PDF Format)
List of Participants (PDF Format)


Recommended Contract between Vendors and Fifty Test Cabs
In preparation for the rollout to the entire taxi fleet, up to 200 taxicabs will be enhanced with the new technology.  In an effort to make this pilot program as successful as possible, the Taxi and Limousine Commission recommends the use of the following contract for the medallion holder and the technology vendor, which is approved by the NYC Law Department.  Click the link below to download the contract.

Contract between Vendors and Fifty Test Cabs

 
Contract Between Medallion Holder and Technology Vendor
Medallion holders and certain others will be required to enter into contracts with one of four authorized vendors to provide taxicab enhancements systems and services.  The generic form contract between the medallion holder and an authorized vendor which is linked below is the single basic form created by the TLC that each authorized vendor must use, and in which each vendor will set forth its respective pricing and other pertinent terms.  Some vendors may have, in addition to the basic form, additional contract terms that supplement, but do not take the place of the basic form.

Disclaimer
Please note this generic form Attachment OCF (Owner-Contractor Contract Form) to the Medallion Taxicab Enhancements Service Agreements is intended for general information only and should not be relied upon as a replacement or interpretation of the Medallion Taxicab Enhancements Service Agreements, with Attachments OCF, executed between the City of New York through the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) and contractor signatories. The TLC makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the contents of this document and will not be responsible for errors or omissions.

Attachment OCF (Owner-Contractor Contract Form)


Technology Enhancements Seminar

On Saturday, September 30, 2006 medallion owners, drivers, and agents of NYC Yellow Taxi Cabs attended a seminar to learn about and view the Technology Enhancements. Vendors and TLC representatives were on hand to answer questions.
 
To view the presentation click on the following link
Technology Enhancement Seminar (PDF Format)