A Washington taxicab driver, Jack B. Dembo, was stripped yesterday of his right to serve National Airport or any other suburban destinations after an official finding that he repeatedly overcharged passengers and sometimes abused them both verbally and physically.
The action was taken by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission, which also recommended that the D.C. government revoke Dembo's license to drive a cab in the city and that it consider prosecuting him for law violations.
Dembo was the first person in the commission's 20-year history to be formally accused of persistent overcharging of passengers and other violations of its rules. Under an interstate compact, the commission regulates cab service only when it crosses state lines in the Washington area.
Gregory Paul Barth, the commission's general counsel, said most overcharges are settled by requiring refunds. Although Dembo made refunds as required, testimony at commission hearings showed that he continued racking up complaints of further violations.
In an order released yesterday, the commission said Dembo was guilty of 16 separate violations that included overcharges, deliberate falsification of a receipt, failure to display his hacker's identification and "verbally abusing and physically assaulting" a passenger.
The largest overcharge Dembo made was in 1979 for a trip from the airport to Bowie. It should have cost $22 but Dembo charged $74.20, the commission said. In that case, Dembo issued a false receipt, it added.
In addition to the penalties, the commission said Dembo must display in his cab a prominent sign saying, "This driver is forbidden to operate in interstate service by transit commission order . . . "
Neither Dembo nor his lawyer could be reached for comment.