When you swipe your card, the driver has to pay a hefty 5% extra. Why are New York's cabbies paying so much? Because of all the middlemen. A few people are making truckloads of money on drivers' backs.
I am a hesitant to say this, but New York's credit-cards-in-cabs system is great. My big remaining complaint is "Taxi TV" -- the boring, annoying reports and ads that are occasionally impossible to turn off.