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NEW PHONES ALLOW RIDERS TO CALL IN A CAB

SHARE NEW PHONES ALLOW RIDERS TO CALL IN A CAB

Busy people caught in New York traffic can now call ahead to say they'll be late, if their cabs are among the 200 soon to be equipped with cellular phones.

At $1.75 per minute for local calls, they'd better talk fast.The first three phone-equipped cabs hit the road Wednesday. The rest will be phased in over two weeks.

The 200 cabs are part of a three-month pilot program, after which owners of New York's 11,787 medallion cabs will be free to install pay phones, said Susan Feinstein, a spokeswoman for the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission.

The phones, in the back seat, are activated by drawing a credit card through a slot.

No incoming calls can be received.

Taxi owners will receive a percentage of the profits.

Each phone-equipped car also is outfitted with a 911 button, accessible to the driver.