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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia taxicabs will get some spiffy new equipment — including television-like screens in the back seat for riders — after the Philadelphia Parking Authority today approved a new agreement for technology services in cabs.

But taxi owners are unhappy with the arrangement.

Philadelphia cabs got the ability to accept credit card payments five years ago — a big breakthrough at the time — but technology changes quickly.

So, the Parking Authority today approved an agreement to put new technology in the city’s cabs.  General counsel Dennis Weldon says it will have many advantages.

“Every one of these meters produces a receipt. That’s another first in Philadelphia history. We never had a machine that produces a receipt in a taxicab,” Weldon says.

But taxi owners are unhappy because they will be forced to get the equipment from a single provider and use only that provider until the agreement expires in June 2013.

Alex Friedman of Checker Cab testified against the arrangement.

“I think monopoly is no way to do business in the City of Philadelphia,” he said.  “The market has to be open for all the possible technology, to implement to the best of our abilities.”

Weldon says taxi owners will be free to choose… after June 2013.


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