I dunno what it is, but for some reason sharing a taxi with a total stranger seems uncomfortable. Nevermind that most New Yorkers share subway cars with dozens of strangers every single day. I guess a taxi feels different because you're paying a premium to have the space to yourself (or with people you know). Just last night, I was on the subway and some lady scratched the hell out of my hand when she reached for a handle without looking. That's the stuff you put up with for a $2 ride. But, a $20 ride in a taxi? I better not get scratched. Anyway, this is on my mind because of a recent report that the Taxi and Limousine Commission will meet this week to discuss possible shared-taxi programs. From a post on The Gothamist:
In a pilot program, 1,000 yellow cabs would be equipped with meters that could calculate two fares at once, allowing cabbies to stop en route and pick up additional passengers. The taxis would be retrofitted with electronic signs showing the neighborhoods where they're headed, and when a second rider hops in, the first rider would get a 50% discount on the rest of his or her (awkward? romantic?) journey.
In the second proposal, several taxi stands would serve as group-ride pickup locations during the morning rush, from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. The cabs would travel in a designated corridor, say, from Penn Station up Sixth Avenue to 59th Street, and charge passengers a flat fare of $3 or $4 to be dropped off anywhere along the route.
And, perhaps most importantly, as The Gothamist asks: "All fine ideas, but who gets to choose which channel to watch on the taxi TV?"