- (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Transportation is always getting more expensive. Gas prices? Oh, they'll go up. The Metro? People fear fare increases next year as they look at the budget. Taxis? Well ... we had the hysteria not long ago and now, sure enough, it seems prices are rising ever-so-slightly, much to the chagrin of our city's cab-riding population.
Here's the meat of the change, according to the D.C. Taxicab Commission:
The Commissioners voted unanimously to raise the per-mile rate to $2.16 from $1.50 and the wait time to $25 per hour from $15. While the initial “flag drop” rate of $3.00 remains the same, the rule also eliminates all other surcharges (except the dispatch and delivery service fees) and converts the snow emergency charge to a flat fee of $10 for trips ending in the District and $20 for trips ending in the suburbs.
Expect the changes to go into effect as soon as Feb. 3 and a 30-day comment period on the new rules to begin on Dec. 23. A second public hearing will be held on Jan. 11. The average D.C. cab ride lasts 2.5 miles, according to the commission, and "the proposed meter fare adjustment would improve drivers’ revenue while not adversely affecting the riding public." They say you'll pay slightly more for short trips while drivers are the ones suffering during long trips, for whatever that's worth. Still, no one's ever happy over the idea of fare increases.
One virtue exists, however. In the 14-page explanation of the change, the D.C. Taxicab Commission notes its plans to, in addition to adding more environmentally friendly and fuel efficient green taxicabs and more professionalism training for drivers, allow cab riders to pay with their credit cards:
This system is targeted to be completely operational by fall 2012 and will allow credit/debit cards, pin use for charging fares and a GPS system to track travel route and provide driver verification and advance safety features for drivers and passengers in addition to other user friendly attributes.
See now? It's not all bad news. District residents were, the Post reported at the time, first able to pay for their cab rides with credit cards back in the fall of 2009 when 200 taxis were upgraded with the technology.
Matt Yglesias points to the politics of the increase in the wake of last year's mayoral election, in which the taxi industry supported the winner and our present mayor: "[Mayor Vince] Gray owed the cab drivers, so he's doing them a favor and rising the prices they can charge." He sees trouble to come.