Taxi drivers who pick up passengers at Reagan National Airport may be facing new fees and their passengers may pay more per trip under a plan that was presented Wednesday to the Finance Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s board of directors.
Under the plan, which would raise about $1 million, cab drivers would pay a permit fee of $100 to operate at the airport, more than double the current $40 charge. In addition, the dispatch fee paid by passengers whose trips originate at Reagan National, would increase to $3 from $2.50. (This is the fee passenger pay when they hop into a cab at the airport). MWAA’s CEO Jack Potter said the proposed $60 increase would allow authority officials to recoup costs associated with taxicab service.
Taxicabs that serve Reagan National would be required to accept credit cards.
The proposal would also affect hotel courtesy vans, which would be required to pay a trip fee for each stop they make. Currently, the vans pay for a permit and have free access up to a certain number of trips.
At least one board member, D.C. Barbara Lang, president of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, urged officials to keep in mind that the financial impact such changes can have on cab drivers, noting recent issues that have come up in the District.
Cab drivers across the region have been facing new fees and regulations as officials seek to make cab service more user friendly and raise revenue for operations. In the District, cab drivers are required to accept credit cards and have had to install new dome lights. In coming years, D.C.’s fleet also will be required to adopt a uniform red and gray color scheme. In Montgomery County, taxicab drivers recently held a rally to protest credit card transaction fees they say are too high.
The new fees at Reagan National would increase MWAA’s net revenues by about $1 million. The changes would require public hearings before they can be implemented. Authority officials think they could be put into place by summer of 2014.