Washington, DC – Tips on Taking a Taxi

Hailing a Cab

To hail a cab in Washington DC, stand near the edge of the road and stick your hand in the air when you see a taxi heading your way. If the taxi is heading in the opposite direction you can still try to flag them down as sometimes they will turn around to pick you up. Few taxis in Washington DC have lights on their roof to let you know whether or not they are available. Instead DC cabs tend to have “On Call” signs that flip down from their sunvisors to let you know if they currently have customers. Do not rely on this method though as DC taxis have been known to not use their “On Call” signs.

The best places to hail a taxi are along busier streets or popular attractions. Some examples of high traffic areas are around the National Mall, outside Union Station, in front of large hotels, most anywhere in downtown DC, and busy sections of Northwest DC (Dupont Circle, Georgetown, Adams Morgan, etc.).

The taxis of DC are not necessarily the standard yellow cab that you would see in other major cities. The DC cabs are mainly pale yellow or white, but do come in every color. Some of the most common taxi models in the city are Ford Crown Victorias, Ford Tauraues, and Mercurys.

Taxi Rates

Washington cabs used to be on a zone fare system but they have recently switched over to the standard metered system. The metered rates are as follows, a $3.25 flag drop rate and $2.16 per every mile traveled. There is a 25¢ charge for every minute spent stopped or traveling less than 10 mph. By September 1, 2013 all 7,300 of DC’s cabs must have installed credit card machines; it would still be a good idea to check with your cab driver ahead of time to make sure your credit card will be accepted.

Washington DC Surcharges

  • There is a $1.00 charge for up to three additional passengers after the first (children under 6 ride free)
  • A $2.50 surcharge is applied for each trip originating at the Reagan National Airport taxi stand.
  • A 0.25 cent surcharge is always added to offset the cost of running the credit card machines
  • Expect a $2.00 phone dispatch fee
  • Dismissal without use (after cab has arrived) is $1.50.
  • Add 25% during a snow emergency.

Taxis from Airports

There are three main airports near the Washington, DC area, BWI, Ronald Reagan National Airport and Dulles.

BWI Airport

  • A taxi ride from BWI to downtown will cost you about $65 – $80 depending on traffic and where exactly you are headed in the downtown area.
  • The taxi stand is located just outside of the lower level baggage claim area.

Ronald Reagan National Airport

  • Taxi stands are located near the baggage claim exits of each terminal.
  • A trip from Ronald Reagan to downtown DC will take about 15 minutes and cost about $15 – $20.


  • A trip from Dulles to downtown DC will take about 40 minutes and will cost about $60 – $70.
  • Taxis are dispatched outside the lower level of the Main Terminal.