Posts Tagged “Taxis”
D.C.’s infamous cab market, loathed for its inconsistency, is finally set for the implementation of a big improvement that was planned months ago. A new mandate requires all D.C. cabs to install credit card readers by December 1 of this year, though this may take a toll on the District’s 100-plus cab companies.
To implement the credit card readers, cab companies need the services of payment service providers (PSPs). Currently, D.C. approves ten PSPs for operation within the city. Many of these PSPs, however, are new companies that struggle to match the demand of their services with their available resources.
A PSP named Hitch, for example, is notorious for late and inconsistent payments to cab drivers across the city. The credit card reader mandate has forced many cabbies to buy equipment from these PSPs, often with cash out of pocket. If a PSP goes bankrupt, cabbies must use their own money to replace all old equipment with new equipment from other PSPs.
A panel of District judges eliminated the possibility of one designated PSP in 2012, which could have eased many tensions. The District offered a $35 million deal to VeriFone, a company with a major stake in the New York City taxicab card reader market. The deal would have unified all of D.C.’s cab companies under one payment system, but judges struck it down due to “pervasive improprieties,” according to WAMU, leaving the market open to multiple PSPs.
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At approximately midnight last night, a Georgetown student was assaulted by a taxi driver transporting the student back to campus. The driver also made inappropriate sexual comments to the student, according to a public safety alert about the incident.
The student reported the incident to the Department of Public Safety at 1:23 a.m. this morning. the Metropolitan Police Department and DPS are currently investigating the incident. The alert describes the taxi driver as a Middle Eastern or African male with short, curly black hair, who speaks with an accent.
DPS requests that anyone who has information regarding this incident, or who noticed any suspects before or after the incident, to contact them immediately at (202) 687-4343.
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Metro is in a poor economic state, and it seems that Washington’s commuters are about to bail it out. The transit agency currently predicts a budget deficit of $124 million for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Rising pension costs and increased expenses associated with the new Silver Line to Dulles International Airport explain some of the shortfall.
On Thursday, Metro’s finance committee presented its preliminary proposals to close half of the budget gap through fare increases. Greater Greater Washington has the breakdown on Metro’s various proposals.
The proposal that would generate the most revenue is an increase in rail fares. One suggestion is to increase peak fares to account for inflation, effectively a 10 cent increase on the base fare and further increases based on distance traveled, and to raise off-peak fares by 50 percent (they would then be 75 percent of the peak fare), a change that would raise $57 million. The other suggestion was to increase off-peak fares to 90 percent of the peak fare, and leave the peak fare as is. This would raise $48 million, but some committee members voiced concerns that this second proposal would not encourage off-peak travel, increasing the strain on the system during peak times.
The proposals also include an increase in the Smartrip bus fare to $1.60 and the regular bus fare to $2, and an increase in the price of reserving a parking spot in Metro’s high-demand lots.
Metro is certainly due for a fare increase, regardless of the exact details of it. Kytja Weir of the Washington Examiner noted last week, ”The transit agency’s current policy calls for fare increases every two years, even without a budget gap. That means that, after fare increases in July 2010, another round is due.”
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Late for work? Stranded in Adams Morgan? Loaded down with groceries? If these situations spell out C-A-B for you, you better budget an extra dollar for each fare.
Starting yesterday, tax rides in the District of Columbia have an additional $1 surcharge to aid taxi drivers with rising fuel costs.
Mayor Vincent Gray signed an executive order authorizing the fare hike on Saturday, after being advised by the D.C. Taxicab Commission to do so. The fuel surcharge will remain in effect until July 25th, unless the Commission chooses to repeal it in the meantime.
The surcharge does not apply to interstate rides. Does walking to Rosslyn in order to catch a taxi to Columbia Heights suddenly seem to make a little bit of sense? Vox’s shoestring budget says yes.
h/t: Georgetown Patch
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Posted by: Juliana Brint in News, Vox Populi, tags: District Digest, Fireworks, Harriette Walters, NextBus, OTR, Same-Sex Marriage, Taxis, The Real World, Washington Post, WMATA
National Transportation Safety Board investigators are getting closer to pinpointing the cause of last week’s Metro crash. They discovered that WMATA had replaced a crucial component of the signaling component, the “Wee-Z bond” which maintains a safe distance between trains, and it malfunctioned. There have already been a couple lawsuits filed against Metro, including one by Johnnie Cochran’s law firm. WMATA General Manager John Catoe announced that the system will keep operating in manual mode until outside experts have a chance to examine the signaling system, which could as long as a year.
In some rare “good on you, WMATA” news, the embattled transit agency just re-launched its NextBus service this Wednesday. NextBus allows you to see when the next bus will be arriving for any route and can be used from the internet or a cell phone. The service was launched as a pilot program about two years ago for 32 routes, but it was only 80 percent accurate. The improved version covers all 335 bus routes.
Harriette Walters, the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue employee who masterminded the largest embezzlement in city’s history, was sentenced to 17 and half years in prison. It was revealed in 2007 that over the course of two decades Walters’ had defrauded the D.C. government to the tune of $48.1 million through issuing tax refunds to fake businesses.
Speaking of OTR, this year they mistakenly sent tax refunds to people who actually owe the District taxes. One resident who got the unmerited refund was D.C. Councilmember David Catania’s (I—At Large) parter, Brian.
After the jump: the Washington Post wipes out, medicinal marijuana makes progress, legal fireworks fun and more.
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