D.C. taxis should be red, panel recommends

February 13, 2013

The menagerie of D.C. taxi color schemes may be nearing an end. (Bill O’Leary — The Washington Post)

A D.C. Taxicab Commission panel on Wednesday recommended red as the uniform color for the District’s 7,000 cabs.

The move to go with one color comes as a relief to cabbies and riders, who balked at several multi-colored proposals. Possible color combinations, which were displayed at the Washington Auto Show, included green and yellow; red, yellow and blue; and black, red and yellow.

In a report, the four-member panel said red “is strongly associated” with the city. It can be found in the District flag, on Circulator buses and Capital Bikeshare cycles, and in the uniforms of local sports teams, such as the Washington Capitals and D.C. United.

The report also cited the dismal reviews for the multi-color proposals and concerns that a complicated scheme could mean cabs would have be out of service multiple days while being painted, costing owners and drivers lost revenue.

The color choice is part of a larger effort by the D.C. Council to make cabs more uniform in appearance and to improve service. The commission’s next step is to come up with a design that will be presented at the next general meeting in March.

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), whose administration came up with the widely-panned multicolored schemes, appeared hesitant Wednesday to embrace red cabs.

“That would look like a fire engine coming down the street, wouldn’t it,” Gray said when a reporter told him about the decision. “We’ll see, I don’t have a final opinion on that yet, but I will certainly have one.”

Tim Craig and Mike DeBonis contributed to this post.

Annys Shin has been a staff writer at the Washington Post since 2004.
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Mike DeBonis · February 13, 2013