According to this article in the StarTribune, the City of Minneapolis is considering imposing a mandate on cab companies to force them to accept credit card payments for fares through modern means (i.e. no carbon copies). While this may be a great idea, at least one cab company representative believes this sort of decision should really be left up to the market.
From the article:
The city council’s regulatory committee will hear a proposal Monday that would require taxicabs in Minneapolis to electronically process debit and credit cards.
Council member Gary Schiff, who recently spearheaded an effort to loosen local liquor laws, is pushing for the change.
“The acceptance of credit/debit cards to pay taxicab fares addresses passengers’ preferences and expectations about payment options,” Patrick Hilden, with city licensing, said in a staff report. “Individuals, whether residents or visitors traveling for business or pleasure use credit/debit cards to account for expenses and avoid carrying excessive amounts of cash.”
While Councilmember Schiff also said he is concerned about visitors being stranded downtown by cash-only cabs, one has to wonder whether this sort of regulation is as necessary as the City of Minneapolis is making it seem to be. Some cab companies are already accepting credit cards either though modern swipe machines or through the old-school carbon copies. Those that don’t are certainly not hindering visitors as there are any number of ATMs available if visitors to downtown Minneapolis are really unable to find cabs that take plastic.
Do you think that the City of Minneapolis, or any city across the metro should take the time and energy to consider such a mandate? Do you think that this sort of decision-making is overstepping the authority cities should have over independent businesses (licensed or not)? When you take a cab do you ensure you have cash on hand to pay or do you expect them to accept credit cards? Would you be concerned if a cab accepted credit cards but used the carbon copy method? Whatever you have to say go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.