Tuesday, August 19, 2008

That $19 Maximum Rate

I was chatting with a driver last week about DC's $19 maximum fare rate which was set when the switch came from zones to meters.

I asked if he'd had many $19 fares yet and boy did he have some interesting answers. Yes, he said, he'd had a couple. And each time he tossed the meter back to the start and added that fare onto the $19 maximum. I said I didn't think that was in the spirit of the law (ok, legal lol), and he said sure it was, since he had the right to get paid for his work. Besides he said, at least he took the person to her destination. So that made me ask - huh? The response was that he'd heard of at least 2-3 drivers who had pulled their cab over when the meter hit $19 and told their passengers to get out, end of the road.

Both moves are quite illegal, and who knows if the second stories were real or new urban legends, but I thought it interesting comments on all of our getting use to DC's life with meters.


At 9:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found your blog while doing some random surfing. It is comforting - in that I am not the only one in pain kind of way - to read the tales of others who have had bad cab experience in this city. To be sure, I have had some gems of taxi drivers; sadly, though, they are far out stripped by the too numerous horror stories.

At 11:07 PM, Anonymous roy said...

€19 maximum fare?????...... sounds unworkable and unfair....how far beyond that figure is a driver supposed to provide free of charge?
I'd say 50% of my fares are over €20 and the euro is a good deal stronger than the dollar at present!

At 11:10 PM, Blogger NYC taxi photo said...

That's true from what roy said.

in new york we have a 45 dollar flat fee to jfk. that's pretty much the high mark, and still there are tolls on top of that. also people going out of town get even bigger fares.

At 6:16 AM, Blogger Philip said...

This is just what I expect from the Progressive Authoritarian People's Demokratik Party that is in control of the gubbamint of the Demokratik People's Republik of New Kolumbia. Dear Revered Leader Kim il-Fenty will tell both the public and the providers what they need and want.

This nineteen dollar maximum forces the drivers to accept the worst of the meter and the worst of the zone system. The meter advocates had long stated that when their Bright Idea would be put into effect, the passenger would pay for the use of the vehicle. Allright, now that their Bright Idea is in effect, let the passenger pay for the use of the vehicle. If you go a few steps, you pay a few dollars; if you go more miles, you pay more dollars.

The possibilities for abuse of this by the public are legion.

Then, there are other considerations. If there is a demonstration, a meeting or the gubbamint just decides to close streets, the driver gets caught in traffic or must make a detour and the meter quickly hits the maximum miles before the driver arrives at the destination. There are numerous Perpetual Flashyarrowlands in the City, where traffic always backs up. If your trip takes you through Flashyarrowland, the meter also hits the maximum long before you finish the trip.

Dear Revered Leader Kim il-Fenty has stated that the reason for the cap is to make the service accesible to those with little or no income. That is Welfare. Welfare is not the job of Private Business, it is the gubbamint's job. I pay my excessive taxes to the Demokratik People's Republik of New Kolumbia so that it can give my money away to those who will not work. I already subsidise their drug habits and their irresponsible sexual conduct indirectly, why must I subsidise their transportation needs DIRECTLY?

If the Demokratik Progressive Authoritarian People's Party wants to subsidise cab rides for the less well-off, let it issue coupons to those who qualify, much as is done for the Senior Citizens. If the gubbamint is going to do that, let it also make it easy for the drivers to cash the coupons and let it allow the drivers to use the coupons to pay fees, taxes and the numerous summonses issued to drivers by Brave People's Liberation Metropolitan Police and the People's Advocacy Hack Inspectors .

The Department of Human Resources does have Taxi Vouchers that it does issue, from time-to-time to people, but it is extremely difficult to cash them. More than a few who have tried have given up after two or three visits to the office and one or more fifty dollar parking summonses.

Do keep in mind that this nineteen dollar maximum is the BASE RATE only: radio calls, gasolene surcharge, additional passengers, suitcases and such are ADDED TO the base rate.

Still, forcing someone to work without compensation is an acceptable definition of slavery. Where I come from, slavery has been illegal since 1781.

At 9:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huh. I'd ask for a receipt for the $19+ fare, and send it to the cab commission - - along with a note, which reads "This cab driver provided in excess of $19.00 in services, charged in excess of $19.00 for services, and was paid in excess of $19.00 for services. Change the cap."

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Brandon said...

The $19 limit only applies to trips within the district and the district is not a large area. I believe if you were planning to go to the airport, the limit does not apply as there is no airport within the district.

At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you take passengers from Shepard Park area to the Naval Research Lab., you will max out the 19.00 dollar minimum way before you get there probably about traveling 2/3 of the way. And if you have 3 people sharing the ride, the cab ride is going to be even be cheaper than the metro for them. I guess in the mind of Mr. Fenty socialism works fine for D.C. It is one more reason I will not be voting for Mr. Obama 'cause them two are bossom buddies and Socialism won't work for the US of A.


At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys do realize that the limit is for trips that start in DC and end in DC, not for anything else? Also, a reason the limit is in place is so a cab driver can't drive some crazy long way and just run the meter up, when a shorter trip between the same points would have cost less than the $19 cap.

At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Last time I checked both Shepherd park and the Naval Research lab are both in D.C. they just happen to be on different ends of the Town. It is my belief that government should not legislate income cuts for any buisness and the Taxi Cabs of D.C. have been ordered by the Mayor to take about 25% of income cut. I think it was a disaster. Socialism never works on any scale and it is not going to work for the country too.


At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I heard that the 6 companies that were licensed to install meters have a relationship with the previous Cab Commissioner. And the Commission didn't license other cab companies till about a week before the deadline. Is it true? I thought if anybody knows this it would be you.


At 7:54 PM, Blogger Philip said...

It was more like three: Bekele, Schaeffer and the guy on West Virginia Avenue.

There were a couple of others that received licences shortly before the drop dead date.

The Commission has had the same Chairman since this whole thing started, Mr. Leon Swain.

The limit does, in fact, apply only to trips that are within the City. Still, as one anonymous poster indicates, on a trip from Georgia Avenue and Eastern Avenue to the Naval Research Lab, the meter will hit nineteen dollars long before the trip is over.

What I want to know from Dear Revered Leader Kim il-Fenty is are we on the meter system or the zone system? If zones, then take that damned meter out. If meter, then take off the cap. One or the other, Dear Revered Leader, not the worst of both. If I must accept the meter and all of its drawbacks, then let me enjoy the few benefits that I can get from it, such as the passenger's paying the FULL fare for the FULL use of my time and my vehicle.

As for drivers' taking the scenic route, let me disabuse everyone of the myth that it pays the driver to take the scenic route. The driver does better if he gets each customer to his destination quickly and moves on to the next customer. Also, it is illegal for a driver to take the scenic route. I can assure you, that if any driver tries to charge one passenger nineteen dollars for a trip from DuPont Circle to Georgetown, and the passenger did not want to stop or anything; just go from point A to point B, and the passenger complains, that driver will be found liable for a violation and will face appropriate penalties.

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