Why haven't tablets replaced "meters" in taxis?

Or are they, and I just haven’t seen them yet?

I’ve been taking a lot of taxis lately, in a number of different countries. The specifics differ, but in general there are at least two different devices in use in the cab - the meter that calculates the fare, and some sort of dispatch/communications device for sending alerts and messages to the cab drivers (and presumably for the drivers to respond). Sometimes there’s a third device for swiping credit cards (sometimes this is incorporated into one of the other devices). Very often, the driver also has a GPS device, or his own tablet or smart phone that he’s using for navigation, texting, etc.

Seems to me a single tablet with the appropriate software should be able to replace these dedicated devices. Granted, I have never driven a cab, but I can’t imagine that it would be insurmountably difficult to write the software to handle fare calculation (and make it as testable, verifiable, and secure as existing meters). Square (or a similar device/service) can be used for collecting fares from a credit card. Mounting a tablet in a car is much less time-consuming and disruptive to the car than some of the hardware I currently see, and it would seem that replacement of defective devices and updating of software would be much simpler than the status quo.

Are the economics just not there yet? Entrenched mindset on the part of cab companies? Do solutions like this already exist, and they’re just taking time to roll out? Or did I just give one of you a good idea for a new product to take to market?

Just a WAG, but I suspect that the physical format of the meter is required by law in most jurisdictions, not to mention that a device which directly measures the distance traveled by the vehicle would be less prone to error than one that relies on GPS.

This is exactly how Uber works. They have a smartphone app that calculates the fare based on GPS. Unfortunately it’s not proving very popular with traditional taxi drivers. There have been protests about it in London and Paris and maybe other cities too.

Because Americans have yet to give up feet for meters, even.

And you may read that either way, as you please. :smiley:

It’s ‘unpopular’ because it is competition, not because it is bad tech.

Quite the contrary. Vehicle speedometers / odometers are subject to multiple variables like wear and air pressure changing the diameter of the tires.
I have 4 vehicles and 2 GPS’. The GPS’s are spot on per multiple ‘your speed is’ signs with radar.
All the vehicles are a bit off. A motorcycle is the worse and the newest car is the best - very close to accurate, but not quite. I just changed the rear tire on the motorcycle, and the speed error changed.

But that said, I, for one, wouldn’t trust GPS distance in a taxi as it’d be to easily manipulated between the GPS and the readout / charge.