Observations from Taxi Cab Payments

Although I take the subway nearly everywhere as my main form of transportation, I still occasionally take cab rides throughout NYC. At the end of each ride, the electronic payment process begins. Typically there are two electronic interfaces to assist with payment: one flat panel touch screen where I can select my form of payment (cash or credit card, and then how much I would like to tip) and the credit card reader. The credit card reader/swipe machine is usually located just adjacent to the touch screen, yet occasionally further away than is comfortable. For people who take cabs frequently, the process is familiar, yet not instinctual. Occasionally, the touch screens will have what appears to be a credit card swipe slot along the edge of the screen. I have definitely swiped in this vacant area anticipating it reading my card to only have to be told from the driver that I needed to use the main card reader. The main stumbling block that I witness with people issuing payments in cabs is that the sequencing of events is almost never right. When you arrive at your destination, you are either in the midst of traffic, in the way of pedestrians or in cue to have your cab taken by another passenger. As a result, one often is rushing to complete the transaction and move along. If you are paying with cash, this process is simpler, but many people I know almost never carry cash and are thus forced to always pay via credit/debit card. As a result of the necessary haste, I have often witnessed people swiping their cards as soon as possible. Unfortunately, you need to use select your fare and type type prior to finding and using the adjacent credit card reader.This process is an exercise in patience all of its own. Do you have the card on the right side. Is it reading it? Do I need to wait for a light or a sound to confirm that the card has been read? If I swipe twice will I be charged an additional fare?

There has to be a clearer, more unified system for submitting credit/debit card payments in cabs.