NEW ORLEANS -- Taxicab passengers here can help themselves to drinks on the go thanks to a new breed of onboard vending machines. All of New Orleans Carriage Cab and Yellow-Checker Cab's 250 vehicles will be equipped with the machines. Passengers select one of five canned beverages, priced at 99¢, using a touchscreen display and swipe their debit or credit card to dispense the drink. Each automated unit has the capacity to hold 36 drinks.
Garber, who operates more than 1,200 taxicabs nationwide, said he has been testing the dispenser for the past six months in his own vehicles. He would like to expand deployment of the machines to his own fleets in Chicago and New York. In addition to his New Orleans fleet, Garber claims to be the largest individual taxi operator in Chicago, with 800 cabs. He also owns 300 taxis in New York City.
"The vending machines will be accessible to any operator that wants to have this technology in their cabs," said Garber. "Passengers across the country will appreciate knowing they can have a cold beverage on the go at an affordable price. They will not have to make an extra stop to get a drink."
Separately, a New York-based startup company called TaxiTreats is exploring a similar concept. | SEE STORY