Janet Lee

Janet Lee
Photo:Janet Lee, injured by a taxi partition.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

taxi officials say the new message could prevent injury, passengers are smashing their faces against the bulletproof partition when drivers stop short.

By LISA REIN Daily News Staff Writer

The tawking taxi is going to tawk some more.
Starting Feb. 1, the recorded message that reminds riders to take their belongings and ask for a receipt will add a new announcement, this time when the meter turns on:
“Please remember to buckle up your seatbelt for safety.”
The message will boom from speakers inside 12,000 yellow taxis, under new Taxi and Limousine      Commission rules to be voted on in December.
Talking taxis have been on the road for four months, bringing some cheers but lots of jeers from New Yorkers, who see it as another form of noise pollution.
But taxi officials say the new message could prevent injury by nudging The TLC, which does not mandate seatbelt use in cabs, said too few riders use belts, and passengers are smashing their faces against the bulletproof partition when drivers stop short.
“This is stepped-up awareness,” said Allan Fromberg, spokesman for taxi chief Diane McGrath-McKechnie. “It’s not a legal mandate that riders wear belts, but we want them to do it anyway.”
Drivers have to make riders to buckle up. sure the belts are visible and functional, or risk fines of up to $250, Fromberg said.
The idea of a safer ride appealed to drivers and riders, but several questioned whether a recorded voice could really change the behavior of people on the run.
“The voice is already annoying and too loud,” said Lynn Wright, a Manhattan lawyer, hailing a cab near Penn Station. “The cabs aren’t all that clean. I’m not sure I want to put a seatbelt around me.”

    Said driver Kulvant Singh: “The New York people know everything already. Many people just put the buckle back in the seat. Many times they are only traveling 10 or 15 blocks.”

    Then there’s the question of which voice riders will hear: the female with the heavy Queens accent or the softer, generic voice now used in some cabs.
    The choice, said taxi officials, belongs to the two dozen meter shops that install meters and recording devices.
    But sources said the agency is considering soliciting and then rotating celebrity voices for the safety message.

    “Why not add a little shtick to it?” said Michael Higgins, publisher of Taxi Talk magazine.


Post a Comment