Taxi credit-card mandate delayed again

January 30, 2013

(Rachel Karas/The Washington Post)

It will now be May at the earliest before D.C. taxis will be required to accept credit cards.

After last week’s failed quorum, the D.C. Taxicab Commission met Wednesday and voted to proceed with publishing regulations requiring credit-card readers. But there is a procedural quirk that means further delays: The commission opted to go through the standard rulemaking process rather than the emergency process.

On one hand, that means the public gets a full opportunity to comment; on the other hand, it means things are going to take longer.

In the best case scenario, commission chairman Ron M. Linton says, the credit-card mandate could be in place by early May. That assumes a 30-day public comment period, including a public hearing, does not raise any major concerns. If it does, then the rules will have to be rewritten and put out for another 30 days of comment — meaning June.

But Linton said the commission is prepared to publish emergency regulations allowing credit-card machine vendors to have their equipment pre-certified by the commission, so when the mandate is in place, cab owners will know what their options are.

“I’m going to do to do everything I can to speed it through,” Linton said.

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis | January 30, 2013