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New Orleans: Grab a cab, grab a soda? Taxis add vending machines

March 25, 2013|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • The touchscreen soft-drink dispenser inside a New Orleans cab.
The touchscreen soft-drink dispenser inside a New Orleans cab. (New Orleans Carriage Cab )

Travelers who hail a cab in New Orleans will be able to do something riders nowhere else in the country will be able to do: Slide into the back seat and buy a cold soda from a vending machine.

About 250 taxis will be outfitted with a touchscreen on which customers can swipe their credit or debit card to pay 99 cents for a Coke, Diet Coke or other soft drinks, a statement from the cab company says.

The taxi drink dispenser is the brainchild of Simon Garber, an immigrant from Ukraine who owns New Orleans Carriage Cab and Yellow-Checker Cab. It took four years to develop the dispenser connected to a fridge that holds 36 cans, the company said.

Garber said he has been testing the product in New Orleans for six months, and hopes to put vending machines into the 300 taxis he owns in New York City and 800 cabs he owns in Chicago.

"Passengers across the country will appreciate knowing they can have a cold beverage on the go at an affordable price," Garber said in the statement. "They will not have to make an extra stop for a drink."

Hmm, what would New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg think?

Mary.Forgione@latimes.com

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