The D.C. Taxicab Commission’s $1 fuel surcharge on cab rides expired Wednesday. While customers may welcome the lower fare charge, District taxi drivers aren’t pleased.
“There is no fair rationale behind that,” Yellow Cab Company driver John Mills says. “They shouldn’t be able to just stick their finger up in the air and say the surcharge is off.”
Drivers complain that gas still costs more than it did when the surcharge was put in place. On average this summer, a gallon of regular gas costs $3.66. When the commission first implemented the surcharge in March of 2011, gas was $3.45.
“I am befuddled,” says Nathan Price, president of the D.C. Area Professional Taxicab Drivers. “I don’t understand their logic. It just comes down to the fact that the people in charge are not regulated.”
The commission has extended the surcharge three times since 2011. Because the law doesn’t allow them to use the same process a fourth time, the commission would have had to recreate the regulation, Taxicab Commission Chairman Ron Linton says. Without a complaint or petition from taxi drivers, the commission just allowed it to expire.
“The commission has been very, very kind to the industry,” Moses Animashaun, a researcher and analyst at the commission, says.
The Taxicab Commission will track the price of gas over the summer. If the cost doesn’t continue to decrease, the commission will consult experts to decide what to do next, Animashuan said.
Photo by Matt Dunn