Aha! After a rocky start with accepting credit card payments (the striking... the threatening... the chasing... the punching), taxi drivers had conceded last year that plastic payments were helping them out. Now, two years after the program was launched, the NY Times further confirms that the credit (and debit) card payment system is mostly a success.
According to the Times, overall taxi ridership is increasing, and the number of passengers paying by card was about 20% last year and 28% last month (some people are prefer to pay by card to track their expenses). Taxi "revenues have risen about 13 percent from the end of last year, according to data collected by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission. And tips, which hovered around 10 percent when cab rides were cash only, averaged 22 percent on credit-card transactions this fall." Maybe it's helped by the fact that the computer screens offer suggested tip amounts when paying, though a taxi union scoffed that drivers weren't getting higher tips—and still have to deal with the 5% surcharge cutting into the tip/fare money.
One cab driver said, "If there was no credit card, people aren’t going to take taxicabs," but another referred to the delay with credit card payments, "Because of credit cards we get customers, that’s true. But if they give us cash, you can put the gas on that; you don’t have to wait three, four days."