ONE WAY or another, this city is going to crack down on scofflaw cabdrivers -- and that action can't come a one-zone ride too soon. For much too long now, passengers have suffered at the hands of some astonishingly rude, reckless, illegal and geographically ignorant people who somehow get cabs to drive. Not only is the D.C. Council set to vote next Tuesday on a bill aimed at these violators, but the general public is also beginning to report their terrible times in cabs. The war stories are legion, and we've told more than a few right here. This morning, our spotlight turns to that empty space on the scofflaw-cabbie's sun visor, where you're supposed to see his "face": the license with the driver's photo on it.

Not there? You've got a loser. Turn that driver in. Get the cab number, the license number and any other information you can because chances are you'll have another complaint or two before you can say "destination" one time fast. Not every cabdriver in town is photogenic, but every single one is supposed to have his or her face up there for you to see, with name and number. If it's not there, complain to the D.C. Hacker's License Board. True, there is a backlog of cases, but between the council's concern and proposed changes in the hearing system, things are supposed to improve.

It is not a matter of putting a ceiling on the number of cabdrivers or of making life difficult for those who make a living doing their job the right way. But right now, too many cab rides are too miserable for too many people, and public action and prosecution are the only ways to cut it out.