We’ve written before about plans to use satellite tracking technology to follow the progress of New York City Transit buses.

No one seemed to complain about that idea, since being able to see exactly where the bus you’re waiting for is on its route is of undeniable benefit to the riders, and at worst makes no difference to a bus driver.


But a plan to put GPS in New York City taxis has cabbies screaming and honking like — well, like New York City cabbies:

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance — which accounts for more than 8,000 city drivers — is threatening to curb their cabs on Sept. 5 if the Taxi and Limousine Commission does not get rid of their GPS system, which the union says invades a driver’s privacy….

The issue over a driver’s privacy is the driving issue in the debate, with a driver’s location being tracked no matter where he or she goes.

"The Taxi & Limousine Commission wants to spy on drivers and they want drivers to pay for it," argues Desai.

Both sides agree the TLC uses satellite GPS technology to track everywhere a taxi cab goes and keeps a log of that information. The dispute is over how that information will be used and just who will have access to it.

Mateo says it’s understandable that the taxis are fitted with the technology and adds it’s even advantageous to each driver. "It indicates where you’re located, you can see where you’re going," he says.

But Desai says there is a different motive for the TLC to install the satellite. "They will use this information to decide on drivers’ incomes," she says.

Sources within the TLC and individual taxi drivers tell CBS 2 that the GPS fears have nothing to do with privacy and everything to do with money. Many drivers fear the IRS will use the data to audit drivers and alert the INS about illegal immigrants driving cabs.

Could this be the first strike ever started by GPS?