Taxi drivers fight city over use of credit card reader

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- It may have been invented in St. Louis, but it's illegal to use it here if you're trying to pay for a taxi.

Lawsuits are flying Thursday evening over the city taxi commission's refusal to allow city taxi drivers to use Square, the smart phone credit card reader developed by St. Louisans Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey.

Dorsey, who also co-founded Twitter, and McKelvey developed Square as a way to make it easier for small businesspeople to take credit cards. The city's taxi commission says any driver who uses Square, faces up to a $150 fine. So city cabbies have gone to court.

You can pay for a city taxi using cash or using a credit card. You just can't use Square, the portable credit card reader that plugs into a smart phone.

Taxi driver Raja Naeem has been fined twice for using square.

The drivers point to the last item in the commissions own passenger bill of rights. It says passengers cannot be charged extra for using credit cards. Cabbies say the current system charges customers. But they say the fee for using Square is paid by the neither drivers nor passengers.

An ironic situation, since Square co-founders Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey are both St. Louisans.

But since the Riverfront Times broke the story this week, the taxi commission’s having a change of heart.

And you soon may be able to pay cabbies with a card they can swipe on their smart phone.

Kind of the same thing happened earlier this year in Boston. Boston city taxi regulations won’t let cab drivers use Square. Cab drivers started using it anyway. Many still are. But it's still illegal in Boston for cabbies to use the device.