Washington DC Taxi – Drastic Changes Ahead

The District of Columbia Taxi-Cab Commission has announced a new fare structure for Washington DC. The initial charge (i.e. flag drop) will remain at the current $3.00; however the per-mile rate is being adjusted from $1.50 per mil to $2.16 a mile. (44% increase) The wait time rate is also being adjusted from $15 to $25 per hour. (66% increase) To offset the increase, many surcharges such as for luggage and additional passengers have been removed.

One may assume this would be welcomed by the taxi companies and drivers. The previous rates, set after moving from a zone-based pricing to a meter-based pricing (in 2008), were criticized to have been set too low, causing taxi drivers to take significant hit in their incomes. DC was previously ranked 29th on TaxiFareFinder’s taxi rate ranking. The new rates? It should bring Washington DC from the current 29th place to…top 10.

Apparently, however, the newly announced reform and rates did not live up to the expectation, as it is getting mixed responses.  Some argue that they are low compared to other major US cities such as San Francisco ($2.75/mile) and Boston ($2.80/mile). Others heavily criticize the new regulations to make DC cabs more “modern”, such as:

  • New restrictions on the status of the vehicle, such as age, condition, etc.
  • Enactment of “medallion like system”, where the number of taxi licenses will be limited and controlled by the Commission
  • New requirements on digital recording of trips, credit card equipment, GPS, etc.
  • (more details)

What do you guys think? With current issues with Uber taxi and Metro (DC subway) fare hike, Washington DC seems to be a happening place among the transportation-conscious.