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Reasonable rules for a new kind of ride

The Sept. 28 editorial Fare play” failed the test of ascertaining the facts before offering criticism. It claimed that the Uber car-dispatch service had to “fight off” attacks from hostile officials. The only thing Uber has fought off is discussions with the D.C. Taxicab Commission.

The editorial called a commission enforcement action a “wacky sting.” A driver, not Uber, was cited for being in violation of several long-standing regulations. At no time has the company received any violations. Is it The Post’s position that such enforcement is “meddlesome” and should be ignored?

The District’s public vehicles for hire historically fall into two categories: limousines and taxicabs. The commission’s attorneys believe that Uber falls into neither category. So the commission proposed creating a “sedan class” category to resolve the difference. Uber declined to participate in defining the rules.

The editorial misinterpreted the proposed rules. The 20-vehicle rule is a long-standing definition for taxicab companies. The commission anticipates that within a year there will be a pool of 500 to 1,000 sedan-class drivers — enough to supply Uber and to serve the market.

The proposed rules would limit dispatch to text or e-mail; provide rates upon booking; use appropriately licensed drivers and vehicles; provide paper or electronic receipts; employ meter data transfer to the commission; and end demand pricing. These could hardly be described as “draconian or inane.” No restrictions on fares or hand-held GPS meters would be imposed.

Our responsibility as regulators is to provide a fair price and quality ride for customers and a fair return on the labor and investment for the service provider.

Ron M. Linton, Washington

The writer is chairman of the D.C. Taxicab Commission.

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