But there are some misconceptions. I don't claim to be an expert but I will try to clarify a few points.
1. It's not a TV, it's a video terminal and a card swipe. According to Chris Hayashi, it will have no audio. It will, however, carry advertisements and public service messages. I don't know if it can be turned on and off by the customer.
2. The taxi companies WILL NOT pay for the terminals. The vendors will pay for all equipment and pay for their costs out of the fees collected and advertising revenue.
3. The cab companies WILL NOT share any advertising revenue with the drivers. The vendors will get 90% of the profits above the installation costs and 10% will go to the Drivers Fund.
4. The taxi companies ARE NOT currently allowed to be merchants for credit card accounts ( for obvious reasons), although some companies are requesting the SFMTA to be allowed to be merchant account holders themselves. The actual cost of the merchant account is closer to 3%, so there is potential profit involved.
5. Despite it's prominence in the field, Verifone will probably not be the only vendor. Any company that meets certain standards set by the MTA could qualify. CMT and Wireless Edge are also planning to compete.
6. Although drivers are required by law to take credit cars, I notice that there is no regulation that says that a driver MUST use a specific credit card cashing system, especially since the drivers are not employees. Drivers are free cash them anywhere or any way they like.
- Many drivers - especially those at Desoto Cab already have their own merchant accounts.
- For drivers with smart phones Square - which is a free and charges 2.75% - is a good option.
- There are other companies on the market with similar or possibly lower rates such as Obopay which claims to charge only 1.5% per transaction and doesn't need a swipe.
- I understand that the Russian speaking lady near Checker Cab will still be happy to cash receipts for 10%.
7. Taxi companies have the option of not putting in the terminals in which case they are responsible for paying to cash the credit card receipts.