A D.C. taxi could soon be showing up to your office or doorstep — not to whisk you to the airport or a business meeting — but to bring you lunch.
Under a new partnership with on-demand site delivery.com, some cabbies in the District will become delivery drivers when they’re not picking up fares. The D.C. Taxicab Commission says it’s a new revenue stream for drivers that carries the dual benefit of expanding access to on-demand food and laundry — and other services — for customers.
For now, cab drivers in the District are delivering from seven restaurants: Bolt Burgers, Buredo, Capitol Hill Crab Cakes, Cheers at the Big Chair, Mayur Kabab, Merzi, and Tortino.
“It’s exciting to unlock greater value in taxis and vehicles for hire,” DCTC Chairman Ernest Chrappah said in a statement. “This program is truly a win-win for the District. It gives licensed drivers another income stream when a fare is not available and allows us to improve customer services for more visitors and residents across all 8 Wards.”
The commission said hours and restaurant offerings would expand as the pilot continues. The commission announced the service Wednesday and said it is already in effect.
Commission spokesman Neville Waters said the service will only cover lunch-hour food delivery for the time-being; those hours vary by restaurant. UberEATS, the ride-hailing giant’s similar food delivery service, offers instant delivery 11 a.m. to 2 p.m Monday through Friday — though the service itself is available from 9 a.m. to midnight seven days a week. It also launched with a limited selection, but has since grown to encompass dozens of local restaurants.
Through the program, cab drivers are expected to make $8 to $12 per delivery, netting an additional $8,000 to $10,000 in income per year, Waters said. The program was made possible through the interaction of the Commission’s newly launched app and delivery.com’s own software.
According to delivery.com, customers order through the website or the delivery.com mobile app and the closest available D.C. cab driver is dispatched to make the delivery. The restaurants selected encompass a variety of cuisines and geographic areas, with a focus on Northwest and Southeast Washington, said Kate McGee, the company’s vice president of marketing.
“It’s great to see the DCTC embracing innovation to evolve the taxi business,” says Jed Kleckner, CEO of delivery.com in a statement. “And it’s really gratifying to know that our technology provides a gateway for the D.C. community — from the public sector to local merchants and consumers — to share in the benefits of the digital economy.”
The announcement is part of innoMAYtion, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s month-long showcase of the District’s “innovation ecosystem”, the commission said.
Waters said a portion of the city’s cab drivers are on the platform as of now that is “sufficient to service the projected customer demand”; a training session is required before participation.