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UberX drivers cited by D.C. hack inspectors for allegedly accepting street hails

(Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post)

This post has been updated and corrected.

And we have another incident to report in the longstanding war between Uber and the D.C. Taxicab Commission.

Uber officials are blasting the commission after their drivers were cited by hack inspectors Wednesday evening in upper Northwest.

According to commission spokesman Neville Waters, inspectors issued 11 tickets in a four-hour period to UberX drivers they observed accepting street hails. The D.C. Council had passed emergency legislation that allowed Uber and other similar services from operating but that legislation has expired. Still Uber and Lyft have been able to continue to operate in the District. While Uber is permitted to operate in the District, the product of emergency legislation approved by the D.C. Council, its partner/drivers are not allow to accept street hails. Only D.C. taxicabs are permitted to do that.

Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett, however, denied the charge. “Our partners were operating as usual, accepting rides via the app,” he said. “This is clearly an abuse of power and a deliberate attempt by law enforcement to harass small business owners trying to make a living.”

Waters, however, said inspectors were responding to complaints from the manager of a property on Wisconsin Avenue in upper Northwest about large numbers of for-hire type vehicles slowing traffic.

The inspectors “are doing their jobs,” Waters said.

The fine for illegal street hails is $1,000.

Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team.

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