Gray, Cheh Announce Legislation to Improve Taxicab System

WI Web Staff Report | 12/20/2011, 9:41 a.m.
WASHINGTON, DC - Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh have...

WASHINGTON, DC - Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh have announced legislation aimed at updating and improving safety of the District's taxicab fleet.

The measure would also create a more robust regulatory structure for taxicabs and implement the installation of card readers in every cab so that riders can pay fares by credit or debit card.

"We've come together to move the District's taxicab industry into the 21st century by crafting what I believe is a common-sense approach to improving the quality of the taxi experience in our city," Mayor Gray said. "What we have here is a total, top-to-bottom transformation and improvement of our taxicab system. This legislation will give consumers the quality and service they demand while also protecting the livelihoods of the drivers who provide the service."

Cheh, chair of the City Council's Committee on the Enviroment, noted that D.C. taxi drivers are the District's public face to millions of visitors each year.

"They are often the first impression people have of our city and its services. We want that service to be courteous, efficient and safe, while allowing drivers to earn a proper income and take pride in their work," said Cheh. "All of these goals, as well as many of the amenities our residents have requested for some time now, will be served by the legislation we announced today."

In addition, the legislation would create a "Public Vehicle for Hire Consumer Service Fund," which will be supported by a small surcharge. Among some of the services are to: Add new fuel-efficient/"green" vehicles to the District's taxi fleet; incorporate a cash-free system in taxis by enabling credit-card transactions and other electronic forms of payment for fares; and to fund a high-tech meter system with a safety feature that has the ability to communicate directly with the Metropolitan Police Department in emergencies.