Metered Response

Photo courtesy of drewsaunders

D.C. Mayor Fenty put the kibosh on any further extensions for cabbies working in the District to install meters. Bottom line? Those cabdrivers have to have meters installed by May 1 or face a $1,000 fine each time they pick up a fare.

Now, I know what you’re all thinking – “All those cabbies are going to have meters installed in a week? But there’s like, a ton of them and only a few installation garages!”

You’d be correct.

So there’s an extension – but it’s not called an extension. I call it “a bone” that’s been thrown to the cabdrivers. Basically, if they’re caught without a meter between May 1 and May 31, then they’ll get a warning. If no meter by June 1, all those warnings will convert to the monetary fine. After June 1, the fines are enforced. This gives them an extra four weeks to get metering devices installed.

All this because Fenty won the court ruling yesterday that upheld the city’s plan to require time-and-distance meters, as opposed to the eons-old zone-fare-customer-ripoff system.

Hey, it’s a good thing.

Although I really suspect cab customers are going to be out of luck snagging a metered cab in May; with the constant temper-tantrums the cabbies have been throwing over this changeover, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to find many of them riding with dozens of warnings until June 1, in order to soak as many customers as possible.

Meantimes, the drivers are sending their lawyer to the D.C. Court of Appeals, in order to prevent scrapping the zone-ripoff system while the appeal is pending. We’ll see.

Cabs will be spot-checked in May and warnings handed out. Citizens can also report unmetered cabs. According to the press release put out by the mayor’s office, “Passengers who wish to file a complaint against an unmetered cab should obtain the taxicab driver’s name, company and license number and report it to the DC Taxicab Commission at (202) 645-6018 or dctc@dc.gov.”

I’ll stick to Metro and my own two feet until this mess is all over.

Cab stand at downtown Hyatt, courtesy of drewsaunders

4 Comments so far

  1. Tom Bridge (tbridge) on April 22nd, 2008 @ 1:49 pm

    Yeah, I can see that going over well.

    me: Thanks for the lift. Now, what’s your name? And your cab number?

    Cabbie: Wait just a second…


  2. farrelley on April 22nd, 2008 @ 2:18 pm

    So what happens after May 1st. You get in a cab that is by zone and its cheaper to ride a cab that is by meter? What price do you pay and can you fight it?


  3. bhrome on April 22nd, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

    I’m not really sure, honestly, as that’s never really addressed. I know some of the commentators on DCist were advocating walking w/o paying, or denying to ride if there was no meter.

    I don’t use cabs regularly in the District, so if I need to, I just plan on finding alternate transport for the time period.

    I’m curious to know what others will do, however…


  4. RumorsDaily (doorframe) on April 22nd, 2008 @ 9:32 pm

    Riding without paying isn’t really ethical. You should just get out of the cab and tell him why.



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