City Desk

Taxi Survey: People Don’t Like D.C. Cab Service

Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh's online taxi survey garnered more than 4,000 responses, Mike DeBonis reports in the Post. Naturally, it skews toward the young and Internet-savvy (and two-thirds of the respondents say they hail a cab at least weekly), but the results aren't surprising: "93 percent of respondents favored requiring all taxis to accept credit cards, and 92 percent favored requiring cab roof lights to signal when the car is available." And most people want yellow taxis.

One respondent to the survey had a comment that reminded me of why I rarely take cabs (and getting a driver to take you to Truxton Circle isn't nearly as hard as getting to other parts of the city like sections of Northeast and east of the Anacostia River): "I would like to see strict penalties and a better reporting system in place for when a taxi driver refuses to take me to my destination. It happens to me all too often."

Of all the issues with cabs in the city, I'd say this is one of the biggest (it's perhaps edged out by drivers who profile potential riders and refuse to stop). Cash-only, busted-looking cabs are an annoyance, yes. But not being able to get where you want to go because the driver has chosen to break the law—and why not, since it's unlikely they'll face any consequences—can be hugely upsetting. Cheh says, "That’s very demeaning to people, and it makes us consider whether we’re doing enough now."

While a car-hiring service like Uber eliminates the worry about why the driver is keeping the door locked until you tell them where you're going, you shouldn't need a smartphone and $20 to guarantee you'll get home safely. So it's fair to say, no, D.C. Council, you're not doing enough now.

Photo by Matt Dunn

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  • RT

    They should be revoking licenses left and right for this. If you are a cab driver, your job is to take people where they want to go, at least within the District proper. After two violations, they should have their license revoked. Also, not picking up black people (I've seen this happen) is another outrage that should be met with severe penalties (more severe than revoking a license, if possible). We all know this happens, and I've even heard cabbies openly discussing this.

    We have a very entitled population of cabbies here. At its core, it's another form of public transportation and should serve the people- this is not some private business where you can discriminate without repurcussions.

  • Keith

    As a young black male that owns a home east of the Anacostia I DESPISE DC Cabbies for many of the reasons listed above. I'm all for strict regulation to get rid of zip code predjudice and profiling amongst DC tax cabs. Until these things happen I hope DC makes it EXTREMELY hard for them to do business within the District.

  • Shane

    The problem I have with cabbies is that they seem to always alert me that they have no change. I don't know if this is because they think I will potentially rob them or that if the ride is only 11 dollars and all I have is a 20 then they get a nice tip out of the deal.