The world of urban transportation is changing. Fading fast are the days of thrusting one’s hand into the air in the rain or freezing cold to hail a cab. Now you can locate a ride in less than five minutes using your smartphone.
Also changing is how to pay for a taxi. For Emerson students, cash is going out of style.
In the fall of 2012, Emerson, Suffolk University, and Northeastern University launched a program that allows student identification cards, which have a debit card function, to pay for cab rides in Boston.
The ECcash function on Emerson ID cards has already been used successfully in the campus bookstore, vending machines, laundry, and off–campus dining locations.
The colleges have partnered with The CBORD Group, Inc., and Creative Mobile Technologies to carry out the rides program.
“Having another option to pay for cabs encourages students to use them,” said Faith Howes ’13, a Theatre Education major. “For safety reasons, that’s great.”
Emerson has posted a video online showing how to use ECcash in cabs. It is essentially the same as swiping your debit or credit card on an electronic device from the back seat, except the customer chooses “Student ID” when prompted on the touchscreen. A choice of schools will appear, and the student selects “Emerson,” then leaves a tip amount before getting a receipt from the driver, if needed.
Emerson Assistant Director of Business Services Thomas Doyle said there has been “no negative feedback” on the program, which was used by 230 students between October and January.
“That’s got to be a good sign,” Doyle said.
“It’s a good service for students whose parents give them ECcash,” said Alexandra Lonati ’14, a Theatre Studies major. “This may be good for emergencies.”
The participating taxi companies are Boston Cab, Metro Cab, 617 Cabs, and Independent Taxi Operators Association (ITOA).
The Emerson Police Department also provides vouchers for students to take taxis from the four cab companies.