Amid Uber’s victory, a setback for cabs

Photo courtesy of thisisbossi
2012 09 12 – 0834 – DC – P St Candids
courtesy of thisisbossi

The marathon legislative session of the Council of DC this week had more details than your average chess match, but it did result in some clear new laws associated with the various hired transport services like cabs and sedans and limousines. Big winner? Uber, who are now completely street-legal in the District, provided they follow the guidelines set down by the council. That doesn’t seem to be a problem, as Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has professed his love the council. It seems Uber is here to stay, and if the cabbies of DC have anything to do with it, it seems that Uber may be able to prosper.

Late yesterday, WUSA’s Russ Ptacek revealed some video of a consumer sting operation on cabbies in DC, who have a bad habit of not picking up street hails from black people in DC. In the video, a black man asks for a trip to Alabama Ave SE, and is denied, but the same cabbie picks up a white rider who’s going to the exact same address, starting from the very same block.

The report airs tonight at 11 on WUSA 9.

One difference in the approach that the participants used to talk with the cabbie: the refused passenger didn’t get in the cab, while the accepted passenger did. Once you’re in a cab, they pretty much have to get you there. Ideally you shouldn’t have to negotiate with a cabbie before you get in, and the rules are a bit different about what happens outside the cab as opposed to inside.

Though, if you’re still psyched on the idea of the taxi, instead of the sedan, or are looking to save a couple of bucks, you might look to MyTaxi, which handles hails in a similar fashion to Uber, but provides a standard cab instead of a more luxe sedan.

I live and work in the District of Columbia. I write at We Love DC, a blog I helped start, I work at Technolutionary, a company I helped start, and I’m happy doing both. I enjoy watching baseball, cooking, and gardening. I grow a mean pepper, keep a clean scorebook, and wash the dishes when I’m done. Read Why I Love DC.

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3 thoughts on “Amid Uber’s victory, a setback for cabs

  1. My darling wife can tell you that being in the cab doesn’t necessarily help, as evidenced by her recent experience in Chicago where the cab stand attendant insisted they be taken… so he went around the corner and then told them he could take them to the airport or they could get out.

    What it DOES help with is that you can get their hack number. That depends on the commission actually following up on the complaint – I’m eagerly awaiting Linton’s sting operation against cabbies excluding passengers of color – but at least you have some accountability.

  2. Honestly, I’ve gotten in (a white woman) and been told to get out when I tell the driver where I’m going (eg to my friend’s for dinner in SE–I live Columbia Heights). The guys routinely grab their license so you can’t see it (from the visor) and then drive away too quickly for you to get their plates.

  3. Thanks for the Uber update, but would also be nice to know the status of the credit card vendor protest for regular taxis. Thanks.