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Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh‘s online taxi survey garnered more than 4,000 responses, Mike DeBonis reports in the Post. Naturally, it skews toward the young and Internet-savvy (and two-thirds of the respondents say they hail a cab at least weekly), but the results aren’t surprising: “93 percent of respondents favored requiring all taxis to accept credit cards, and 92 percent favored requiring cab roof lights to signal when the car is available.” And most people want yellow taxis.
One respondent to the survey had a comment that reminded me of why I rarely take cabs (and getting a driver to take you to Truxton Circle isn’t nearly as hard as getting to other parts of the city like sections of Northeast and east of the Anacostia River): “I would like to see strict penalties and a better reporting system in place for when a taxi driver refuses to take me to my destination. It happens to me all too often.”
Of all the issues with cabs in the city, I’d say this is one of the biggest (it’s perhaps edged out by drivers who profile potential riders and refuse to stop). Cash-only, busted-looking cabs are an annoyance, yes. But not being able to get where you want to go because the driver has chosen to break the law—and why not, since it’s unlikely they’ll face any consequences—can be hugely upsetting. Cheh says, “That’s very demeaning to people, and it makes us consider whether we’re doing enough now.”
While a car-hiring service like Uber eliminates the worry about why the driver is keeping the door locked until you tell them where you’re going, you shouldn’t need a smartphone and $20 to guarantee you’ll get home safely. So it’s fair to say, no, D.C. Council, you’re not doing enough now.
Photo by Matt Dunn