The NYC "Taxi and Limousine Commission," which apparently is a real thing, is tossing around tech ideas including iPod docking, GPS, and blocking mobile phone calls in the front seat to shut up talkative drivers.
The Commission is asking for suggestions from New Yorkers, and while some of them are interesting and useful, some are pretty silly. Integration of the Metrocard, NYC's debit-card-like protocol for the subway system, would be in the former category. Some kind of navigation system would also be welcome, since in my experience, actually knowing their way around the city doesn't seem to be a requirement for getting a job as an NYC cabbie.
In the "silly" category, we're putting iPod integration and Wi-Fi: We can't see anybody really wanting to whip out a laptop and do some browsing while in the back of a cab. But the suggestion getting the most attention is the idea to block mobile phone reception in the front seat, which of course is designed to stop cabbies from yacking away on the phone instead of, you know, driving.
Cabbies insist that this is unfair. "Sometimes you have an emergency," one cabdriver said. "You have a family in the home. Sometimes you have something wrong and go back home [sic] ." The Taxi and Limousine Commission has stated they would make provisions for emergency calls, which would quell that argument.