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Proposed regulations before the D.C. Taxicab Commission would set limits on vehicles’ ages and mileage as well as mandate sensitivity training for new drivers regarding riders with disabilities.
The rules, published in the D.C. Register last week and currently open to public comments, are aimed at improving customer service, DCTC spokesperson Neville Waters says. They follow other recent efforts by the commission to modernize cab rides, such as an Uber-like app and possible standardized digital meters.
Under the proposed age and mileage policies, no vehicle could operate if it’s older than seven-model years or has traveled more than 315,000 miles. Additionally, no vehicle would be put into service for the first time if it would have “one year or less prior to retirement,” has been driven “more than 100,000 miles regardless of whether it has previously been used as a public vehicle-for-hire,” or has been “salvaged or rebuilt.” As proposed, these rules are not retroactive: New vehicles whose operators violate them could get their license extensions suspended.
“Vehicle expirations/mileage limits are intended to reduce the number of older, less fuel efficient vehicles from the fleet to support environmentally friendly practice, improve safety, and provide customer a more comfortable experience,” Waters explains in an email to City Desk. “The intent of disability sensitivity training is to require all drivers licensed by DCTC to take and complete sensitivity training to ensure a standard of service to passengers with a disability.”
As of now, DCTC offers drivers sensitivity training, but the training isn’t required. The proposed regulations would require “each applicant for a new DCTC operator’s license [to] provide proof of completion” of such a course approved by the commission. The rules do not specify which courses taught by who would suffice.
D.C. has more than 6,500 registered taxis.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery; h/t Helder Gil