Alexandria taxicab rates rise; will be among region’s priciest

The cost of a taxi ride in Alexandria is going up this spring, making rides in the city some of the most expensive in the region.

The City Council voted Tuesday night to raise rates on nearly every aspect of the ride. Just getting into a cab will cost $3, a 25-cent increase. The mileage charge will rise 12 cents to $2.16. And if customers dally more than three minutes in getting from their home or office to the taxi, a $25 per hour wait charge will apply, an increase of $2.50.

Bringing bags of any kind along will cost 50 cents each. Taking an animal, except for service dogs, will require another $2. Extra passengers: $1.25 each. And during snow emergencies, a surcharge of $5 can be assessed.

The council reviews taxi rates every two years, and at a public hearing 10 days ago, cabbies lobbied for their first fare increase in five years.

Council members Paul Smedberg (D) and Justin Wilson (D) also pushed for requiring those 750 cabs to accept credit card payments if the fare is more than $10. The council asked the city’s traffic and parking board to review the request and report back quickly; the fares will go into effect March 1.

West End residents who would rather drive will soon be seeing car-sharing vehicles in about a dozen on-street parking spots in the Eisenhower/Carlyle area. The council agreed to allow car-sharing companies to rent no more than two parking spots in any single block in that area, part of a pilot project. The company that rents the spots will pay about $1,500 per year, which is what a typical parking meter would collect in the area.

The car-sharing service Zipcar currently has 16 cars parked in garages and WMATA lots in Alexandria, and those will remain. Car-sharing companies had asked for spots in the West End neighborhood because those are similar to what the company has in Arlington County, which has 62 street spaces reserved for shared cars. Neighborhoods where parking is limited, such as Old Town, will be excluded from the pilot project for now, but council members said that could change in the future.

Patricia Sullivan seeks out news about Alexandria and Arlington County for the Washington Post.
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