D.C. taxi fare hike at least a month away

February 9, 2012

A fare hike remains in the works after a D.C. Taxicab Commission meeting, but it will be at least a month before the increase takes effect.

The rates previously discussed will stand under the proposal — a $3 base fare plus 27 cents per eighth-mile, or $2.16 per mile — but the commission on Wednesday tweaked its plans to ax most surcharges.

A 50-cent charge for “each piece of luggage the operator places in his trunk” will remain under the latest proposal; currently, passengers are supposed to pay 50 cents for each bag “handled by the driver” beyond the first. “Briefcases, purses, bags of groceries, and parcels of similar size” would be exempted from the luggage charge.

Also, the per-passenger surcharge would not be discarded entirely. Instead of $1.50 for each passenger beyond the first riding in all cabs, drivers of vans — and vans only — could charge $1 each for their second rider and beyond.

Fees for the dismissal of a cab hailed by phone ($1.50), the hauling of “trunks or similar-sized large articles” ($2), the hauling of small animals not enclosed in a carrier ($1), the “personal service” of a cab driver ($2) and a fuel surcharge on all rides ($1) are removed under the proposal.

The commission anticipates that the proposals will be published in the Feb. 17 edition of the D.C. Register. The public will have 30 days after that to comment on the latest proposal by e-mail (dctc@dc.gov) or by mail (2041 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, Suite 204, Washington, D.C., 20020). After the 30-day comment period ends, the commission can decide either to revise the rules and republish them, restarting the 30-day comment clock, or to adopt and publish the rules as final.

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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