The D.C. Taxicab Commission has approved a measure that will increase taxi fees and introduce a credit card payment option by next fall.
Under the plan approved Dec. 13, the base fare for a taxi ride would remain $3, but the per-mile rate would increase from $1.50 to $2.16. Additional charges, including the emergency fuel surcharges and fees for additional passengers, pets and luggage will be dropped.
A 30-day window for written comments from the public will begin Dec. 23, after the proposal is published in the D.C. Register. Chairman Ron Linton told The Washington Post that the commission would devote all of the public comment period in its January meeting to the plan. Although the commission has already approved the plan, additional changes may still be made to the proposal.
Linton told the newspaper that the increase may not please riders, but cabbies weren’t necessarily happy with the plan either; the increase gives them 59 cents less per mile than they had initially sought.
The changes are part of an ongoing effort to streamline and modernize taxi operation in the District.
According to a 14-page report (http://bit.ly/tUoYUy) released in 2008, the commission began evaluating the taxi system in response to complaints that the fleet needed to be modernized and that taxi drivers were not fairly compensated for their work.
Due to the cash-based nature of the D.C. taxi system, it is difficult to calculate exactly how much cabbies currently make. In re-evaluating the taxi system, the commission reviewed the zone fare plan and instituted changes, including putting limits on the age of and mileage on taxis licensed to operate in the District, and eliminating the $19 maximum fare cap.