City Desk

What’s Taking So Long for D.C. Cabs to Modernize? Take a Look at the Outside Contractors

Taxi and Pedestrian, 1994

After a few deadline extensions, some protests, and a lawsuit, D.C. cab drivers are finally required to have credit card readers in their vehicles. But the arrival of the D.C. Taxicab Commission’s hard Oct. 1 deadline and close-to-full compliance haven’t pacified local cabbies, who’ve started to organize under the aegis of the Teamsters union. They’ve also continued to lob complaints about the new devices, including accusations of shoddy installation and missing payments.

In order to comply with the new regulations, cab drivers had to use one of eight third-party, city-approved “payment service providers” to install and manage their new credit card readers. But according to figures the commission released on Oct. 23, at least three of those companies have hit speed bumps along the way. Here’s a look at how D.C.’s most politically charged payment dispute breaks down.

Gleike Taxi Inc.
720 contracts
Grand Cab canceled its contract with Gleike after the company allegedly failed to install credit card machines in its fleet of cabs, according to a report by WAMU. Gleike subsequently sued the cab company for canceling the contract.

1,540 contracts
After a rocky installation process, Hitch failed to pay many of its drivers once the readers were installed, according to the D.C. Taxicab Commission. The commission ultimately fined the company $6,000 for not paying drivers.

U.S.A. Motors

967 contracts
The D.C. Taxicab Commission announced on Oct. 29 that USA Motors would no longer operate as a PSP and its 967 customers could transfer at no cost to Creative Mobile Technologies or Transco.

Creative Mobile Technologies
589 contracts
Creative Mobile Technologies should see a jump in customers, since some drivers that had used USA Motors could transfer.
420 contracts

According to the Commission, it has received no significant complaints from United Ventures Consortium (which has 881 contracts), DC VIP (692 contracts), and Yellow Cab of DC (619 contracts).

Photo by Darrow Montgomery, 1994.

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