Advertisers looking to reach New Yorkers on the go will have to start looking outside of taxis. Since 2006, brands have been reaching consumers as they bustle around the city through TVs in the back of cabs.
But those screens are on the way out, after the Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a pilot program on Thursday that will eventually eliminate the TVs.
This may come as a relief for some taxi drivers and riders, whom the TLC has said find the screens annoying. But for advertisers, it's likely disappointing news.
Verifone, which handles ad sales for about 14,000 yellow and green cabs, said in a statement that it welcomes the change.
"We welcome the TLC's decision to allow technology companies more freedom to define the consumer-engagement experience inside the taxi," said Jason Gross, VP-strategy and innovation, Verifone, in a prepared statement. "Verifone has been a leader in delivering new technologies, such as digital media, alternate currencies, mobile payment and e-hailing to the taxi industry and riders. We look forward to helping define the next generation of the in-cab experience."
The vote means the TLC will begin testing a new GPS-based meter system that could use smartphones or tablets to calculate fares and process payments, thus eliminating the need for the TV screens.
The TLC has said that drivers and riders have complained that the screens are noisy, content repetitive and often the "mute" and "off" buttons don't work.
But some advertisers have found the screens useful, allowing them to target by locations and events and reach a highly affluent consumer.