Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Certified, metered taxi cab: a new feature in the city

Until recently, D.C. cabbies operated in the last city in the U.S. not using a meter system. For decades, cab fares were determined by a confusing series of zones that resulted in fares as low as $6.00 in one zone and jumping to $9.00 or $13.00 or more by merely crossing an intersection. For tourists, it was an unfamiliar and odd experience and many--visitors, residents, and workers alike--complained that, being unable to decipher the odd system, they were often taken advantage of by dishonest cab drivers. After much controversy, cabbie strikes, and demonstrations, D.C. cabs are now required by law to use meters. Cabs that are in compliance carry a sticker that reads: "Certified : Metered Taxi Cab" and bear the seal of the D.C. Taxi Commission.

If you visit D.C., figuring out cab fare is no longer one more mystery of this politick, partisan, bureaucratic town!

On a separate note, I may be posting tomorrow's entry after 9:00 p.m. At 7:00 tomorrow evening, the first memorial to the September 11th attacks opens at the Pentagon. I'm planning on going over to see the new memorial and take photographs. Please come back tomorrow night to see Washington's newest memorial to those brave men and women who died on that fateful day seven years ago.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 09/08


Virginia said...

Interesting about the taxis. It's amazing that the old system hung on so long. Guess that applies to almost everything in DC. Can't wait to see you Sept. 11 post.

Professor said...

Interesting about the cabs. I just paid whatever I was told and never really bothered with the thought of it all. i hardly rode cabs anyway- the subway or my feet were the best and cheapest transportation!

D.C. Confidential said...

VJ: The cabbies really fought it, claiming they'd lose money. So far, I haven't heard any lamentations about decreased earnings. In fact, my guess is, they're making more money because the long-distance fares are worth it now and they're willing to go further than they did in the past. (With a zone system, they could be picky and discriminatory.)

As for my 9/11 post, I think I'm going to do several. I've got one queued up for 6:15 a.m. Then I may do one around 11:00 a.m. Finally, if I go back in the evening, I'll post something that night. We'll see how my emotions hold up, though. I've already cried just writing the 6:15 post!

Prof.: Most of us who live and work here don't pay too much attention, especially when we were only traveling in Zone 1. But for tourists and visitors, it was a nightmare.

Maya said...

Wow, that cab story sounds like an easy way to scam people. I'm glad they've changed their ways!

Can't wait to see what you come up with tomorrow!

Hendrawan said...

a ha.. good idea to certifie Taxi!

D.C. Confidential said...

Maya: As long as you were in Zone 1, it was cheap ($6 + tip.) But, travel outside that zone and it became a mystery and cabbies knew it was. I'm glad we've finally switched to meters, too.

Hendrawan: I agree!

Mo said...

Hard to believe they never had meters before.

D.C. Confidential said...

Mo: I know!! And you wouldn't believe the fight the cabbies put up to keep it that way. Stupid. Meters are a good thing.