Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Latest from Mayor Fenty on Meters

The mayor has said that drivers will have a grace period of a month to get their meters installed. From today's WaPo:
Beginning May 1, city inspectors and D.C. police will spot-check taxicabs and issue warnings until June 1, after which fines will be assessed to those without time and distance meters. . . .

Yesterday, cab drivers were lined up at one of those firms, District Cab on Benning Road in Northeast. Ajab Abdus-Samad, who has been driving since 1968, has an appointment next month to get his meter.

Linroy Hanson, who's been driving for 32 years, said he would comply with the law. "I have to obey the law," he said.

Others, however, were less sanguine about the change. Some of the more than 6,500 drivers have threatened to strike, while cab companies struggle to meet the deadline.

Yellow Cab has 600 cabs, but the company won't be finished installing meters until it receives licensing approval from the city to convert existing meters, which are equipped to measure zones, in about half of its fleet, officials said. The company will have to modify them to measure time and distance. The other half of the fleet will get new meters once they arrive, said Roy D. Spooner, the company's general manager.

"The June 1 deadline is pushing it," Spooner said. He said that the installation process, though cumbersome, is not his biggest concern.

"My biggest issue is what service we will be providing customers between May 1 and May 31," he said.

It remains unclear whether a two-tier fare structure will be in effect for the month. Asked what passengers should do if they get in a cab after May 1 and are charged a zone rate because no meter has been installed, Fenty suggested that riders report the driver's name, company and license plate number to the Taxicab Commission at 202-645-6018 or Pressed further to explain whether passengers should take another cab or refuse to pay the zone rate, Fenty and Nickles said riders should report the driver, but that the general confusion over which pay scheme will be used should be short-lived.


At 9:46 PM, Blogger Paradise Driver said...

This going to be interesting. Drivers will have a grace period but will still receive written warnings.

How many phone lines does The Taxi Commission have feeding that phone #? How many people to staff those lines? On a 24/7 basis? I think trying to call & report would be an exercise in frustration and futility.

Well, at least you'll still have a way to get around town, even if the cost will vary by ride. For you, trying to find a non-metered cab to save money (per your prior posts) will be an adventure. The savings not really worth the effort.

At 7:42 AM, Blogger DC Cab Rider said...

No kidding ;). Fortunately I'm not too freaked about one or the other. I'll take what comes - as long as it gets me where I need to go.


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