City Hall Considers GPS Tracking for Cabs

Integrated GPS system would track movements of all taxicabs in Chicago

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    City hall may soon be tracking cabdrivers' whereabouts in Chicago.

    The city's inspector general Joe Ferguson recommended that all licensed taxicabs incorporate an integrated GPS system with a tracking device in their cars, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. GPS systems have been mandatory in all Chicago taxicabs since 2007, but tracking devices were not required.

    Ferguson says the idea is to safeguard cabdrivers and passengers, help locate lost property and identify cab drivers who are involved in hit and runs.

    In 2009, there were 56 cases  of pedestrians and bicyclists being hit by cabs in hit-and-run crashes in Chicago, according to the report.

    Ferguson looked at similar set-ups in New York City and Boston. He developed a proposal with a cost to Chicago Taxpayers of less than $2 million dollars, and about $833 dollars annually to the owners and operators of Chicago taxicabs, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

    "The IGO is pleased that its analysis has revealed a readily available, low-cost option that would improve public safety and customer service in an essential city program," said Ferguson in a written statement.

    Business Affairs and Consumer Protection commissioner Norma Reyes opposes the idea. In a written response to the report, she said she "does not believe it is in the best interest of the industry to mandate a technology that duplicates or is incompatible with existing technology."

    But the Inspector General argues there are plenty of benefits of installing this new system. Earlier this year, an MBA student from the University of Chicago was killed in a hit-and-run accident involving a cab. Ferguson believes this tracking system could have helped find the cabdriver involved.