Taxi Commission Fines Drivers Over Credit Card Violations

Four drivers are being punished for not taking plastic, and more are likely to follow.

By: Benjamin Freed

More than two months after DC’s taxicabs became required to accept credit cards, it’s not hard to find a cabbie trying to evade the new system. But the DC Taxicab Commission is starting to get heavy about making sure the hacks follow the rules by fining drivers who won’t take plastic.

The commission slapped four drivers yesterday with fines ranging between $150 and $1,000 for violations including refusals to take passengers who want to pay with a credit card and claims—not always legitimate—of broken equipment. The commission says it has received 72 formal complaints since October 1, when the new payment rules went into effect, and more drivers are going to be fined in the coming weeks, spokesman Neville Waters says.

Meanwhile, the commission is also trying to speed up the pace of DC’s 6,500-car taxi fleet adopting the new uniform paint scheme. So far, only about 1,000 cabs have gotten the red-and-gray paint jobs, which cost $1,100 to apply, according to complaints from drivers. Mayor Vince Gray said at a DC Chamber of Commerce event yesterday that the commission is planning to offer vouchers to alleviate the cost.

Waters says Gray was getting ahead of himself a bit. The taxi commission hasn’t settled on the value of the vouchers, but it expects the offer will put the new paint scheme on at least 3,000 more cabs.