D.C. Taxi Riders on Life With Meters

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

As a longtime Georgetown resident and an Advisory Neighborhood Commission member, I applaud Mayor Adrian M. Fenty for having the guts to stand up to the District's taxi drivers and require meters in cabs ["A Year Ticks By, and Taxi Meters Still Divide," Metro, May 1]. It was amazing how fast cabbies found a way to have their meters installed in time to meet the mayor's deadline.

Over the past three weeks, I have taken cabs to Reagan National Airport and to the Capitol. The ride to the Capitol costs a couple of dollars more than it did under the zone system. The ride to the airport costs slightly less -- as long as the driver is honest about the add-ons. Before the meter system, I had given up asking drivers how much a trip cost. I learned to make sure I knew the charge beforehand and simply handed the driver that amount. Under the zone system, you were at the mercy of the cabdriver and your knowledge of the zone-system map.

Also, I think fares in the District are high enough. A trip here costs more than a comparable one would in New York or Chicago. If a driver feels underpaid, he or she is free to find another vocation.

The D.C. Council and D.C. Taxicab Commission should hold the line on metered fares. The system is fine the way it is. It's time for cabbies to stop complaining and simply provide cab service worthy of the nation's capital to the city's residents, workers and visitors.




The May 1 Metro article provided interesting insight into the D.C. taxi dilemma.

I live at 16th Street and Kalorama Road NW, previously an excellent spot, rain or shine, to grab a taxi. Since the arrival of meters, however, taxis no longer come by as frequently. One rainy day I waited almost an hour and 45 minutes to catch a cab.

Even on sunny days, the wait is still a good 20 to 30 minutes because of rush-hour demand. To go to Virginia or Maryland, one must agree to pay more than the posted fare or many cabbies simply will not make the trip. Many of the cabs stay downtown, as shorter trips are more cost-effective for them.

I would ask that The Post verify the 6,000 figure that the city is throwing around for the number of licensed cabs, as I suspect it has dropped since the meter law took effect. No doubt many drivers aren't finding driving cabs in the District to be profitable anymore.

I am not the only dissatisfied customer. Many of the folks I see trying to hail cabs every day have similar complaints. I would rather pay more for some convenience than continue to struggle to get a cab.



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