Miami taxi cabs to get technology update

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Associated Press

Posted on January 29, 2014 at 6:07 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 29 at 7:00 PM

MIAMI (AP) — Taxi cabs in Miami will be getting an overdue technology update.

Miami-Dade County commissioners voted Wednesday in favor of requiring all cabs to accept credit cards, install SunPass transponders, GPS devices and digital security cameras. Drivers have two years to adopt credit card machines and six months to get GPS and backseat cameras.

Only one commissioner voted against the changes, The Miami Herald (http://hrld.us/1e7Qqo6 ) reports. Commissioner Jean Monestime said he was not convinced the cost of improvements won't come out of drivers' pockets.

In a separate vote, commissioners established new requirements for picking up passengers at Miami International Airport and PortMiami. The changes include a dress code for drivers and a special decal for drivers participating in the "ambassador cab" program.

Drivers without the decal will be able to drop off but not pick up passengers at the ports.

"This is huge," said Emilio González, director of the county's aviation department. "We want to make sure that the process is transparent, is professional, is passenger friendly and gives Miami the best first look."

Several drivers, however, told commissioners they were disappointed with the vote.

"I'll have to put more money out of my pocket to buy a new car, to buy everything that is going to be required," said MIA taxi driver Miguel Lantigua of the New Vision Drivers Association.

Lantigua and others want the county to scrap its taxi-medallion system, in which a limited number of permits valued at more than $300,000 a piece belong mostly to cab companies and investors who then lease them to drivers.

Miami-Dade's taxicab industry is highly regulated. Commissioner Audrey Edmonson introduced legislation to deregulate the industry and allow digital car-booking services like Uber to operate. However, she withdrew the plan last month.

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Information from: The Miami Herald, http://www.herald.com

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