These solutions may not be Uber-perfect, but they would definitely make it more of a sustainable job for a driver than the current situation. Uber needs to treat the N.Y./N.J. area as a separate beast, otherwise they'll find themselves with a massive driver exodus.
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.
When taxi drivers find themselves alone in their cabs -- as they often do -- with psychopaths, scam artists, or even just garden-variety drunken idiots, that little hands-free device can be a lifeline.