Puerto Rico’s tourist taxi fleet is racing into the 21st century through the adoption of new multimedia equipment able to offer tourist information, directions and accept a variety of payment methods, including credit cards, Tourism Company Executive Director Luis Rivera-Marín announced Monday.
The touch-screen equipment, which is being installed in cabs in phases, is programmed to display historical information about Puerto Rico and offer tourists Internet service, much like what taxi drivers in major U.S. cities, like New York and Las Vegas, offer their passengers.
The passenger can browse through a program that will provide details on gastronomic inns, “paradores” (small inns), hotels, beaches, museums, festivals, Tourism Company offerings and many tourist attractions, Rivera-Marín said during the news conference attended by Puerto Rico Taxi Federation President Juan de León.
The device also integrates a GPS system to display on-screen maps on which both the tourists and the driver can trace the route to reach their destination.
The new equipment also integrates a safety feature by means of a camera, to take pictures of the passengers as they hop into the cab. The system will have an emergency button to alert authorities if the passenger does not feel safe or in danger. Because the device works with a GPS system, it will provide real-time information on the vehicle’s location.
“This type of initiative puts us at the forefront and the level of major cities such as New York, Las Vegas, London and Washington, among others,” said Rivera-Marín, noting tourist taxis have been serving the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport and area hotels for the last decade.
The system has received the endorsement of several taxi companies that are interested in installing it in their cabs to improve passenger experience, he noted.
“We’ve been working with [de León] to seek out better tools to benefit them as well as tourists,” the government official said. “At the Tourism Company we recognize that our drivers often provide the first impression of Puerto Rico to our visitors. This is why we’re working hand in hand to modernize and train them so they have cutting-edge resources to help us deliver our message of excellence.”