Televisions in the backseats of New York City cabs are about to change, the Times reports. (For those of you bemoaning the lack of progress humanity has made, read that sentence aloud to someone in 1980 and watch them flip their shit.) A survey of taxi passengers came out Thursday, and 31 percent of respondents cited the TVs as the worst element of a yellow cab ride.
So they’re just going to remove them, right?
Of course not; they’re going add more programming. Taxi commish David Yassky — the guy who appears on the TVs when you first get in a cab and talks about redesigning taxis for the future or something but you don’t really know what he’s saying because you’re frantically trying to turn off the TV but can’t because YOU HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL DAVID YASSKY IS DONE TALKING TO TURN OFF THE DAMNED TV — spoke with the Times about the survey:
“I do sympathize with passengers who don’t like the content on the Taxi TV screens right now.”
“We are not going to be a government censor here, but we want to offer more options to passengers in taxis.”
“We are working with the two companies that operate those devices to try and get some better content,” he continued, “and some content that will be more compelling to passengers.”
It’s not just the passengers who hate the TVs. Runnin’ Scared interviewed Eugene Salomon, a cabbie, earlier this month. He views Taxi TV in its current state as a safety hazard — and that has nothing to do with the content:
“The main reason for the existence of the Taxi and Limousine Commission is to do whatever they can to ensure the safety of the passengers. So the presence of an unnecessary device which is irritating and distracting to the driver is utterly and completely contrary to its reason for existence.”
Sure, the programming on Taxi TV is bad — Oh my God, they’re interviewing the owner of a pastry shop where you can take your dog!!!!!! — but the Taxi and Limousine Commission needs to realize that New Yorkers who are taking cabs are doing so because they’re probably late or tired. (63 percent of respondents in the survey from which they gleaned the TV info said that’s precisely why they took taxis.) They’re not in the mood to have a gym advertisement scream at them.
Eugene Salomon, our taxi-driving friend, has a solution:
“As it is now, both the picture and sound of the TV come on when the meter is started. Change it so only the picture comes on and the passenger has to touch an icon if he wants the sound.”
Now, that makes sense.