The issue – the new fare system that will replace the current confusing zone pricing system and change to a much needed time and distance pricing system. The new system which uses a taxi meter with GPS technology, is similar to systems used in many major cities and in suburban Virginia and Maryland cabs as well.
The current cab rates for traveling around the eight zones and 23 sub-zones start at $6.50 for a one zone trip and top out at $18.90. For contrast, the basic fare in NYC is only $2.50 with each 1/5 mile costing riders $0.40.
The biggest gripes from riders points of view are that a ride of just a few blocks, can take the fare to $8.80 if it happens to cross a zone boundary. Additionally tourists (and locals) often feel that drivers claim more zones were crossed and jack up the fares.
Drivers are concerned about job security and possible future limitations in the number of cab permits. Drivers report that the new fare system will impact their ability to earn a living wage, with a lower initial fare. Even though the current $6.50 non-rush hour fare is one of the nation’s highest basic fare to enter a cab.
There is also the issues that drivers may now have to claim all their their fares on their tax returns, and that cab companies would be able to track driver’s miles, fares and hours worked, something that’s not stated publicly by driver’s groups, but is expressed as an issue.
From the consumer’s point of view, the existing system allows riders not familiar with the fare system to be easily overcharged by unscrupulous drivers or at a minimum, get taken advantage of on short rides simply because a rider doesn’t know that they could save a couple bucks by simply crossing the street.
Hopefully, the City and Mayor will not back down and keep the plans to move to a more fair and understandable rate system.
The Halloween SoberRide free cab ride program for drivers in the DC metro area that have partied a bit too much and are alcohol-impaired, is reported to not expect any major issues due to lack of cabs this evening. The free rides are available from 8:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. and have a $50 maximum limit.
The number for the free program is 1-800-200-TAXI.
Images – flyer from CityDesk Blogs, photos – Flickr