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DC Taxicab Commission New Meter Installations Halted

9/7/2012, 9:55 p.m.

Contract Appeals Board Decision Causes Setback

Last week's decision by the Contract Appeals Board (CAB) to halt the installation of the Taxi Smart Meter System (TSMS) has disrupted the tight schedule and presents the possibility that the innovative system will not be placed in all DC taxis as planned by the presidential inauguration. Although, the DC Taxicab Commission (DCTC) is confident that ultimately the CAB will agree that VeriFone was rightfully awarded the contract, Commission Chairman Ron M. Linton expressed some concern.

"The DC area will have a significant number of visitors for the Presidential Inauguration in January," said Linton. "We planned the schedule so that TSMS would be installed in a timely manner in order to better serve passengers at that time."

Due to the CAB ruling, DCTC advises drivers and operators against any further installations. The Commission wants to make sure that it is clearly understood that once a final determination is made by CAB, taxi operators that might proceed with installing an alternative system run the risk of incurring additional expenses for its removal, as well as, exposure to possible technical glitches and scheduling disruptions.

"Although we don?t like the current circumstances, we respect the process," Linton declared. "However, drivers are encouraged to use caution before committing to installing any equipment that could result in unexpected expenses."

Additionally, the recent series of assaults on taxicab drivers in the 5th District highlights another benefit of TSMS. With the capability to accept credit cards, drivers will no longer have the need to carry as much cash. Thus, drivers will be less of a target by removing some of the incentive for a robbery. TSMS also includes a discrete safety device that directly alerts police and medical personnel of an emergency situation.

"TSMS not only makes it more convenient for passengers who prefer to use credit cards, but it also makes it safer for drivers," Linton added. "We hope to be able to re-start the process of installing TSMS as soon as possible so that our taxi industry is able to gain the additional public safety benefits."

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