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September 8th, 2011

Cabbies, “Fix” Your Credit Card Machines

It never fails. I get into a cab in Chicago and I say I need to pay by credit card (really a debit card, but who’s counting?) And the cabbie says, “The machine’s broken.” Or, “Are you sure you can’t pay with cash?” Or, “I can’t take it” (which is actually against the law in Chicago; cabbies must accept credit cards).

I’ve had this happen, friends have had this happen, enemies have had this happen… it’s not a unique thing. So what’s the deal? Why do cabbies jerk people around when it comes to paying via credit or debit card?

A few years back the Chicago News Coop provided a few reasons, although the quote from the Secretary of the United Taxidrivers Community Council equating laws giving people this option with slavery is juuuust a bit extreme.

Apparently San Francisco is dealing with this problem now too, as they recently passed a law requiring cabs to accept credit cards. And whaddaya know, suddenly they’ve got a rash of broken machines too. In SF, at least, the 5% cut the MTA takes on those transactions hasn’t been well-planned – drivers can’t impose a 5% surcharge on riders.

All told, what’s happening here isn’t dissimilar to other resistance when technology comes into the fold… except that credit and debit cards are a standard part of everyday life in 2011.

Posted in Consumer Commentary, Everyday Life, Technology

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