Frankly, it's almost embarrassing. Miami is one of the few major cities in America where taxi drivers aren't required to take credit cards. Yet, as the Miami-Dade County Commission mulls over a proposal that would require some cabbies to install card readers, drivers are still resisting the change.
New Miami International Airport director Emilio González is the man pushing for the change. He says cab drivers are often the first people tourists deal with once they're out of the airport, and he's sick of hearing travelers complain about rude drivers and the inconvenience of having to pay cash. The rules change would mean any taxi that services the airport or the Port of Miami would have to install card readers and accept credit card payments.
Some drivers are pushing back against the proposal. From the Miami Herald:
Drivers worry that upkeep for the credit-card processing equipment would take a bite out of their wages. One possibility is for the county to require firms that sell the equipment to pay for installation and ongoing maintenance.
Another pocketbook concern for drivers: the delay in receiving payments from credit-card companies -- up to two business days, according to the proposal.
Drivers in almost every other major city are required to take credit cards and seem to get by. In the past two years, metro areas such as San Francisco, D.C., and Minneapolis have adopted such standards, and the impact seems to be minimal. In D.C., for example, the companies that manufacture the card readers pay for their instillation and upkeep and make their profit on transaction fees.
Of course, Minneapolis reported a problem that seems like it could very well happen in Miami:
Council Member Gary Schiff says he again has heard stories about people having trouble getting taxicab drivers to accept credit cards during the holidays.
Instead, drivers often would tell would-be riders that the machine was broken and offer to drive them to a cash machine with the meter running before driving them home.
And even if the ordinance passes, there's no requirement that drivers would have to accept cards for trips that aren't to the airport or the port.