D.C. Mayor Fenty put the kibosh on any further extensions for cabbies working in the District to install meters. Bottom line? Those cabdrivers have to have meters installed by May 1 or face a $1,000 fine each time they pick up a fare.
Now, I know what you’re all thinking – “All those cabbies are going to have meters installed in a week? But there’s like, a ton of them and only a few installation garages!”
You’d be correct.
So there’s an extension – but it’s not called an extension. I call it “a bone” that’s been thrown to the cabdrivers. Basically, if they’re caught without a meter between May 1 and May 31, then they’ll get a warning. If no meter by June 1, all those warnings will convert to the monetary fine. After June 1, the fines are enforced. This gives them an extra four weeks to get metering devices installed.
All this because Fenty won the court ruling yesterday that upheld the city’s plan to require time-and-distance meters, as opposed to the eons-old zone-fare-customer-ripoff system.
Hey, it’s a good thing.
Although I really suspect cab customers are going to be out of luck snagging a metered cab in May; with the constant temper-tantrums the cabbies have been throwing over this changeover, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to find many of them riding with dozens of warnings until June 1, in order to soak as many customers as possible.
Meantimes, the drivers are sending their lawyer to the D.C. Court of Appeals, in order to prevent scrapping the zone-ripoff system while the appeal is pending. We’ll see.
Cabs will be spot-checked in May and warnings handed out. Citizens can also report unmetered cabs. According to the press release put out by the mayor’s office, “Passengers who wish to file a complaint against an unmetered cab should obtain the taxicab driverâ€™s name, company and license number and report it to the DC Taxicab Commission at (202) 645-6018 or email@example.com.”
I’ll stick to Metro and my own two feet until this mess is all over.
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs