The city has chosen the paradigm for a new taxi, to be adopted universally throughout New York City, beginning in October 2013.
You can see the bad news more fully at http://www.taxioftomorrow.com/web/index.php.
In as few words as possible, I can simply say that technology has triumphed over common sense.
Every conceivable bell, buzzer, whistle and gizmo that could possibly be added has been added. Every possible form of communication between passenger and driver has been diminished.
Now, after close to 30 years of driving, I don’t want to sound as if I think I know something, but I’d like to say something about passengers and drivers.
The best insurance a passenger has that he or she will be well served by a cabdriver is the quality of the passenger’s own ability to communicate.
A communicative person is aware of the proper time-tested and effective ways of getting what he or she wants and need out of life. This is not some idea I just concocted. It is, in fact, the considered opinion of professional managers and leaders.
Time and again I have experienced the contribution a good passenger makes to the speed, efficiency and safety of a particular trip. All it takes is :
a pleasant introduction (for instance, “how are you doing today?”) — thereby putting the driver at ease that he is not “under the gun”;
clear requests and directions;
a cooperative attitude when difficulties (bad traffic, for example) arise;
and maybe even a companionable conversation.
By now I am not surprised by the results these inputs have on my performance, but for years I was amazed at how quickly I could get people places when they bothered to establish and maintain a proper mood.
It seemed sometimes as if routes I scarcely knew I knew opened up , and that traffic — almost miraculously — disappeared.
But : the Taxi of Tomorrow will have none of this.
There is a solid, permanently closed glass wall between customer and driver, making communication harder rather than easier.
Result : less communication rather than more, and — as a predictable result — worse service, and all brought to you by the Taxi and Limousine Commission, the presumed ensurer of good service.
Nowadays there is increasing concern over the prevalence of autism among children. I would suggest that autism among adults is a clear menace as well.
There is even an increasing threat of autism in government agencies, even more pernicious than the other two, because choices made by government influence the actions, expectations and habits of millions of people, especially the young.
Now, with the Taxi Of Tomorrow, the autism problem is coming to a government agency near you!