As a DC voter and taxicab rider, I want to make sure my voice is heard in opposition to the DC Taxicab Commission’s proposal to further increase DC taxi fares. I already pay one of the highest rates in the country for sub-par service. I pay one of the highest drop rates in the country- more than New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, and Chicago! And on top of that, I’m confronted with an endless menu of confusing surcharges: a never-ending $1.00 fuel surcharge, $1.50 for every additional passenger, $0.50 for each bag handled by a driver, $2.00 for an item in the trunk, $1.00 for an animal, $2.00 dispatch fee, $2.00 personal service fee, $2.50 for a ride from Reagan National Airport, $1.50 dismissal fee, and a 25% rate increase in a snow emergency.
I deserve better. DC deserves better. We are a world-class city with a third-world taxi system. It’s time to fix the our taxi industry's level of service and rate structure. I support DC Taxi Watch’s proposal to:
1. Eliminate the confusing, misleading and unnecessary surcharge system that disadvantages tourists and gouges consumers.
2. Require working credit card machines in all District cabs.
3. Commission an independent consumer survey on DC taxicabs and taxicab drivers.
4. Appoint an equal number of consumer representatives as there are taxicab industry representatives to the DC Taxicab Commission.
5. Require all drivers to take a courtesy course.
6. Require all new taxicabs joining the District’s taxi fleet to meet environmental and age requirements; require the retirement of taxicabs after five years or 250,000 miles.
7. Require the use of air conditioning or heating at all times unless the customer requests otherwise.
DC Taxi Watch (formerly known as DC Residents for Reasonable Taxi Fares) is a voice for Washington, DC taxi consumers. Our grassroots group is the brainchild of District resident Jack Jacobson and about a half-dozen friends. We are just a small group of DC residents, each with full-time day jobs.
We are David versus Goliath. The taxi cab industry in the District is well-organized and looking out for their own interests--so we need to look out for the interests of those that depend on an affordable, safe, and reliable taxi system. We are committed to a fair, reasonable rate for taxi owners and operators while protecting consumers from exorbitant fees.
While our initial goals focused on fares, we have come to realize that there is no formal or even informal voice for DC taxi riders in the District. DC taxi laws and regulations have a history of development with only one-sided feedback and representation for taxi owners/drivers.
We believe DC needs:
1) Fewer confusing taxi surcharges
2) An updated and enforceable Passenger Bill of Rights
3) Consumer representation on the DC Taxicab Commission
4) World-Class taxi standards such as maximum age of fleets and credit card payment options
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