Cab Fares: Double or Nothing?

by Borderstan.com November 30, 2011 at 2:00 pm 1,427 2 Comments

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Cab fare hearings make for good political theater. (Photo by lightboxdc in Borderstan’s Flickr pool)

From Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancaster or email her at [email protected].

What’s going on with cab fares in DC? Will they rise? Will it be double nothing?It seems the answer is, “somewhere in between.”

After Tuesday’s hearing, the DC Taxicab Commission did not vote to double the rates. The hearing was heated with many different proposals being offered.

Cab drivers complain the rates are lower in DC than surrounding areas (true)… hospitality industry spokespeople articulated the need for better service for a higher fare (seems reasonable)… and ANC 2B-04 Commissioner Jack Jacobson argued for credit card readers and environmentally friendly cabs (most people seem to agree with at least the first item).

Jacobson is the founder of DC Taxi Watch and the group put out a statement Tuesday. “Working with data and information from leading taxicab fleets around the country, DC Taxi Watch has developed a holistic 7-point plan for modernizing the District’s taxi industry,” said Jacobson. “In addition, we are proposing four revenue-raising initiatives that can be instituted without further gouging DC consumers, who already pay some of the highest flag drop and surcharge rates in the country.”

DC Taxi Watch has detailed proposals on taxi cab rate and service reforms.

So what’s the problem? Well, it is precisely the same issue facing Congress at the moment — how do you provide more without increasing the revenue, which is presumably necessary in order to make the upgrades to provide the more/better? If Commission Chairman Linton figures it out, he deserves a higher office.

DCist does a fantastic job of explaining the fact and fiction of the hearing. Their take on what is most likely to happen is an interim fare increase. During this time,  priorities should be (and note the word ‘should’) assessed by need and ‘stand a snowball’s chance in hell’ of actually happening in DC’s highly fractious taxicab world.

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