Ready Your Wallets: Meters Come to DC Cabs

The District’s decades-old meters-vs.-zones debate appears to be moving toward a conclusion.

By: Emily Leaman

After deciding last month to switch to time-and-distance meters, DC mayor Adrian Fenty announced yesterday the rates and surcharges expected under the new system. If Fenty’s plan withstands public comments over the next 60 days, starting April 1 cab drivers will charge a $4 drop rate, or minimum pickup fee, for the first sixth of a mile, 25 cents for each additional sixth of a mile, and 25 cents for each 60 seconds of waiting time—defined as anytime the cab stops or slows to speeds of less than ten miles per hour. The new system retains the $1 rush-hour surcharge and additional fees for extra passengers and luggage.
 
What does this mean for riders? On average, expect to shell out more for longer trips and less for shorter ones than you would under the zone system. With meters, the trek from Georgetown’s Four Seasons Hotel to the White House will be more than $2 cheaper, while the ride from Union Station to Dupont Circle will add more than $3 to the tab.

Here’s how much some popular DC trips will cost under the new system. These prices assume a single passenger traveling outside of rush hour in light traffic. Heavy traffic would increase the fares under the meter system, as would additional passengers and rush hour.

19th and K sts., NW, to Cannon House Office Building (Independence and New Jersey aves., SE)—3.1 miles.
Meter, $8.75; zone, $6.50.

The Palm restaurant (19th and M sts., NW) to Georgetown (35th and O sts., NW)—1.6 miles.
Meter, $6.50; zone, $8.80.

Four Seasons Hotel (2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW) to the White House—1.4 miles.
Meter, $6.25; zone, $8.80.

Union Station to Dupont Circle (19th and P sts., NW)—3.8 miles.
Meter, $9.75; zone, $6.50.

Tenleytown (4200 Wisconsin Ave., NW) to 15th and K sts., NW—4.1 miles.
Meter, $10.25; zone, $11.

Logan Circle (11th and P sts., NW) to Reagan National Airport—6.6 miles.
Meter, $14; zone, $12.25.

Verizon Center (Sixth and F sts., NW) to Hay-Adams Hotel (16th and H sts., NW)—1.2 miles.
Meter, $6; zone, $6.50.

Adams Morgan (18th St. and Columbia Rd., NW) to RFK Stadium (2400 E. Capitol St., NE)—5 miles.
Meter, $11.75; zone, $11.

Cady’s Alley in Georgetown (3318 M St., NW) to Woodley Park (2800 block of Connecticut Ave., NW)—2.9 miles.
Meter, $8.50; zone, $6.50.