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Fenty Sets $4 Minimum Fare in Switch to Cab Meters

"The mayor did his thing again," Wright said. ". . . He's catering to the public. He doesn't care about the cabdrivers."

Aklile Redie of the D.C. Professional Taxicab Drivers Association said he did not think the process was fair. "I don't know how these things can be decided only by the mayor and the [Taxicab Commission] chairman," he said.

In his Oct. 17 executive order announcing the switch to meters, Fenty gave Swain responsibility for setting up the system, rewriting the regulations and setting rates.

The regulations require that the meters be installed by licensed technicians and that measures be taken to ensure that they are tamper-proof. Taxi inspectors will spot-check the meters and the technicians responsible for them. Drivers can be fined $1,000 for operating without a meter or with a nonfunctioning meter or for tampering with a meter.

Under the new system, passengers will be given a printed receipt that includes the operator's name and identification card number, the vehicle tag number, the time, the date and the amount of the fare. The driver is required to keep a duplicate receipt for three months.

Credit cards will be accepted at no additional charge, and shared riding will be permitted only at Union Station "at such times as are authorized to be necessary to achieve adequate service," according to the regulations. Under the zone system, drivers have been able to pick up additional fares at their discretion, much to the dismay of some riders.

At the news conference, some confusion ensued when Fenty said the maximum meter fare within the District will be $18.90. But he and Swain later clarified that the $18.90 does not include waiting times and other extra charges.

Those extra charges are currently added to zone fares. Among them are fees for luggage and extra passengers and the $1 peak charge for weekday trips starting between 7 and 9 a.m. or between 4 and 6:30 p.m. During a snow emergency, the meter fare will double.

Fenty reiterated that, in making his decision, he had relied heavily on an August survey that showed widespread dissatisfaction with the zone system and that he looked at what other cities do. He said he will continue to gather opinions.

"We will listen to as many people as humanly possible," he said.

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