The representative for D.C. consumers in utility rate and fee cases yesterday withdrew a proposal that would have raised city taxi fares by 20 cents a person.
People's Counsel Brian Lederer withdrew the proposed fare hike even though he, some taxicab companies and lobbying groups for cab drivers had reached an agreement that the rate boost was equitable.
Earlier this week, however, two groups representing drivers and staff members of the D.C. Public Service Commission questioned whether it was proper for Lederer and the taxicab companies to reach an agreement to raise fares by a specific amount before the case was heard by the commission. Only the commission has the authority to set utility and taxi rates in the city.
Lederer said his office withdrew the proposal because the two driver lobbying groups had not attended the meeting at which the increase was agreed upon and did not have an opportunity to study the proposal before the PSC hearing scheduled yesterday.
Lederer said he believes the increase is equitable because gasoline prices have risen about 35 percent and other costs also have risen since the last rate increase a year ago.
"There are tremendous problems with the cab industry right now," Lederer said. "Some of the issues are economic, and we have to decide what is the relationship between the people's willingness to ride and the price. We need to decide how exactly are we going to generate a consistent and verifiable rate-making accounting system and methodology as we have with public utilities like Pepco and Washington Gas Light.