News & Politics

Hundreds of Taxis Are About to Lose Their Credit Card Readers

The DC Taxicab Commission canceled a contract with one of the companies that provides credit-card readers, forcing more than 700 taxis to find a backup.

Photograph by Flickr user Wayan Vota.

More than 700 of DC’s taxis are about to stop taking credit cards, but they won’t be breaking the law, the DC Taxicab Commission said today, and it’s only temporary. Gleike, a French company that was one of eight firms approved to supply DC’s cabs with credit card devices, will cease its operations due to ongoing financial troubles that has prevented it from distributing payments to its enrolled drivers.

The 700 taxis that used Gleike devices represent more than 10 percent of the city’s overall cab fleet. Some cab companies canceled their contracts with the company last fall after it started missing payments. The issue only snowballed.

“Gleike has been under scrutiny since reports came to DCTC’s attention that the company was not making timely payments to owners, was not providing required technical support to system users and was not maintaining up-to-date record keeping,” the commission said in a press release. Gleike has also been failing to collect the 25-cent surcharge on each taxi fare that is supposed to be sent back to the commission. 

Cabbies who used Gleike are getting a reprieve to switch to new credit-card systems, but not a very long one. Affected drivers have until Friday to schedule an appointment for getting a new system installed, and must carry documentation of the appointment to avoid being ticketed for not complying with credit card regulations. One of Gleike’s competitors, Transco, has said it will waive installation fees for affected cabbies.

A recent inspection found that months after a very bumpy rollout, 94 percent of the District’s 6,500 cabs were taking plastic. But with 700 about to stop taking cards, at least for a little while, people might need to carry some extra cash before hailing a taxi.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.