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DC Taxis, Part IV

November 2, 2007

Mayor Fenty announced yesterday that taxis must switch to meters by April 1, 2008.  He also outlined the fare structure that will replace the zones.  Some details below:

  • $4.00 “drop rate” charged when you get in the cab
  • $0.25 for every 1/6 mile (the first 1/6 is free)
  • $0.25 for every minute the cab is running at less than 10 mph
  • $1.00 rush hour surcharge to the drop rate

What does this mean for the average cab ride?  It’s hard to tell, but the Post did an informal study and found the following:

According to a recent report that detailed what happened when 21 D.C. cabs were outfitted with meters from Oct. 1, 2005, to May 30, 2006, meter fares with a $4 drop rate were 97 cents higher on average than zone fares. A trip of less than a mile was $7 with meters, $8.03 with zones. For trips of two miles to just under three miles, the meter fare was $10.33 and the zone fare, $9.70

As predicted, taxi operators are upset, as they view this as a prime opportunity for big taxi companies to upset what has been a largely independent market.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ashley permalink
    November 2, 2007 2:17 pm

    My roommate and I discussed these rates this morning. We simply cannot figure out why the cabbies are opposed to this. I was all for metered cabs UNTIL I found out that the base price is $4 (compared to $2-2.50 almost everywhere else). Moreover, this does NOT include rush hour and fuel surcharges (and the fuel surcharge isn’t going away anytime soon). So let’s say I wanted to take a cab into work… I’m already at $6 as soon as a slam the door shut. And at $1.50 per mile, we are looking at a minimum of $12 before tip and then god forbid we have to sit around in traffic or go less than ten miles per hour otherwise we are talking even deeper pocket mining. Prior to the metered rates, we were looking at anywhere between $8-10; with zones you never know what fare they are going to pull out of their ass.

    The $4 is just asinine. DC Metro authorities (WMATA) and advocates for decreased fuel consumption have to love this for my roommate and I will both be using cabs less than we already do… which is probably why the cabbies are so pissed off now that I think of it.

  2. andy permalink*
    November 2, 2007 3:43 pm

    Are you trying to say that WMATA is not an awesome organization?

  3. Adam permalink*
    November 2, 2007 4:38 pm

    Basically they fear it will be the first of many steps of increasing government interference in the industry that ends with a less competitive market dominated by a few large taxi corporations.

    This article describes what they are worried about pretty well, I think:
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/05/the_minneapolis_taxi_cartel.html

    An exceprt:

    In 1937, New York City, full of liberalism’s itch to regulate everything, knew, just knew, how many taxicab permits there should be. For 70 years the number (about 12,000) has not been significantly changed, so rising prices have been powerless to create new suppliers of taxi services. Under this government-created scarcity, a permit (“medallion”) now costs about $500,000. Most people wealthy enough to buy medallions do not drive cabs, any more than plantation owners picked cotton. They lease their medallions at exorbitant rates to people like Paucar who drive, often for less than $15 an hour, for long days.

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