I’ve Got a Meter, But It’s Off ’til June 1st.

We’ve talked about meters before. You know the struggle. Sen. Levin (D-MI) pushes for meters, and they magically appear on the Mayor’s agenda, much to the delight of many of the riders-to-be. There’s something fair about time-and-distance meters that seems lacking from the Zones system.

My friend Ian took the train back from New Jersey where he’d been holed up for work for a couple days, and caught a cab home from Union Station so he could take his final exam. Here’s where it gets good. The cab’s not metered. Or, at least, that’s how it started. Being in the cab awhile, Ian noticed that his cabbie did, in fact, have a meter installed, it just wasn’t on.

When he asked the cabbie what the deal was, the cabbie said, “I’m not turning it on ’til June 1st.”

If you run into this, feel free to submit a complaint to the DC Taxi Commission, as they’re operating in violation of the law. Don’t know how to complain? This article from the Taxi Commission has all of the details. Get the cab number, the cabbie’s name, and the license plate of the cab, and then write it all out. Used to be you had to send a physical letter, but now you can email your complaint to dctc3@dc.gov.

7 Comments so far

  1. bhrome on May 7th, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

    As much as we’d all like to complain, I doubt the DCTC will do anything with them. It sure seems (from what I’m hearing and reading) that many cabbies are taking the "deadline is June 1" attitude, in protestation to the Mayor’s May 1 deadline. Highly unfair and entirely temper-tantrumy from the cabbies, but not much we can do about it.

    Even Reagan National isn’t enforcing their policy on "meter taxis only" until June 1, which gives credence to the cabbie’s protestations.

    It’s like we normal civvies just can’t win these days.

  2. arcd1025 on May 7th, 2008 @ 2:33 pm

    I had this happen to me last week. After arguing with the driver, I dialed the taxi commission number (posted in the window of the cab) and gave the commissioner (yes, it was a slow day, I actually spoke with him) the cab driver’s license number, company, and vehicle number. I was instructed to place him on speaker phone, so that he could inform that cab driver that he would have to remove his vehicle from the road until the meter was functioning and being caught again would result in a fine. The commissioner then asked me to tell anyone I know that they are appreciating and encouraging calls because they are serious about enforcing it. Oh, and my driver got so annoyed with me being, in his words, a b****, that he told me to just get out the cab and forget about a fare.

  3. Don (dc_don) on May 7th, 2008 @ 2:58 pm

    I’d suggest simply refusing to pay. Zone fare? Zones ended last month, pal. You have a meter and didn’t turn it on – I’m paying you what the meter says. Here’s your $1 tip on your $0 fare, kiss my ass.

    But then I’m kind of belligerent.

  4. Tom Bridge (tbridge) on May 7th, 2008 @ 2:59 pm

    Yeah, you have to be careful with how you do it, to avoid having to find another cab (which, at Union Station, can be a real bitch) but I’m all for getting up in these cabbies business over this.

  5. Don (dc_don) on May 7th, 2008 @ 3:10 pm

    I think arcd1025 took the right approach. Really, I think it’s insane that they’re letting this go on. Simply shrugging and only issuing warnings through the month opens the door for this kind of abuse and is completely anti-consumer.

    Then again, why should we be surprised? The fine for failing to charge the proper fare is only $25. (see 825.1) That’s an invitation to fraud right there – if I can jack up every fare by $5 and only get caught every 6th time that’s a net profit of $5.

    There’s no reason that fine shouldn’t be 10 times higher.

  6. mirrorball on May 7th, 2008 @ 4:08 pm

    fyi, Levin’s from Michigan, not Wisconsin

  7. Tom Bridge (tbridge) on May 7th, 2008 @ 4:14 pm

    You’re spot on, Mirrorball. Dammit, I should know better living in this town.

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