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Ron Linton, the Vince Gray administration D.C. Taxicab Commission chief who tried to modernize the cab fleet while facing the rise of app-based services like Uber, died last night at 86.
When he took over the DCTC in 2011, Linton knew that pushing through a uniform color scheme and credit card machines in the District’s often fractious cab community wouldn’t be easy (Linton’s immediate predecessor, for example, went undercover in a bribery sting).
Still, Linton didn’t expect complications app-based sedan services Uber, whose start in the District prompted him to go undercover himself to bust one of the company’s drivers. WAMU first reported Linton’s death.
LL interviewed Linton for Washington City Paper‘s 2013 People Issue, where he talked about how mourning his late wife lead him to the DCTC.
You took this job because Vince Gray asked you to.
I would say from a personal standpoint, that was in June of 2011, and I had lost my wife in April, after a short marriage of 55 and a half years. I was sort of feeling pretty sorry for myself, with a lot of time….So I saw this as something that would really preocccupy me. And if I knew then what I knew now, I probably wouldn’t have taken it.
That’s what I was about to ask you.
Oh yeah, the stress level is far greater than I anticipated.
Linton was apparently still interested in the taxi business. In March, he asked the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability if he could help taxi cab companies create an app-based co-op without the District’s breaking conflict of interest rules.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery