This Week in D.C. Taxi News
The D.C. Taxicab Commission may have passed the once-impossible-seeming hurdle of getting vehicles to install credit card readers, but now it has to deal with some of the quirks of the new systems—including making sure payment service providers actually pay drivers for fares collected on their credit card machines.
The commission passed an emergency rule this week that would penalize payment service providers that fail to pay cab drivers the fares they collected within one business day, with a $1,000 fine for a first offense. Fines would be doubled for the second offense and tripled for each subsequent one.
The commission also said it would review 72 customer complaints lodged against cab drivers who reportedly did not accept credit cards. Four drivers have already been fined, the commission said in a press release Thursday. WAMU reported this week that commission chair Ron Linton said he would also crack down on drivers who use unauthorized credit card readers like Square, which is unable to track trip data or send a 25 cent surcharge to the commission.
In a separate announcement, the commission delayed by a year the date by which old vehicles have to be taken off the road, due to delays related to the adoption of a uniform color scheme.
Now, vehicles manufactured in 2004 or earlier must be removed from service before January 1, 2015. By 2018, no cab in service may be older than seven model years.
Mayor Vince Gray said the city will soon launch an incentive program that would encourage drivers to get their cabs painted sooner than is required by paying for part of their paint job, according to the Washington Post.
Only new cabs and cabs that are getting repainted anyway are required to get the new color scheme. Linton told the Post there are about 1,000 cabs that currently have the new paint scheme, and he hopes half of the city's roughly 6,500 cabs are repainted by next year.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery.