This morning, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced to reporters crammed into the D.C. Taxi Commission’s Anacostia offices a number of changes made to the taxi-meter regulations. In short, if you’re not a cab driver, you’re going to like what’s going to happen:

  • The flag drop is being reduced from the proposed $4 to $3.
  • There will be no rush-hour surcharge.
  • There will be no additional-passenger surcharge.
  • Fares will not double during “snow emergencies.”
  • No fare between points in the District can exceed $18.90, plus surcharges.

Fenty read off the results of the input received during the 60-day comment period after the initial regs were announced back in October. The District received about 2,100 comments total. About 77 percent of those supported the switch to meters. Of those who chose to comment on “zone meters,” 66 percent were against them. Most strikingly, of those who commented on the base rate, the passenger surcharge, and the rush hour surcharge, virtually 100 percent opposed the original regulations.

Can’t say the Fenty folks aren’t listening to the voice of the people on this one.

There’s one definite rider-unfriendly provision that remains in effect: The fuel surcharge. That apparently wasn’t figured in to the new rates.

The meters are still scheduled to go into service April 6. It’s the responsibility of cab owners to purchase their meters by that day. “Any cab that does not have a meter by that specified date will not be a taxicab in the District of Columbia,” said Leon Swain, chair of the Taxicab Commission.

A number of drivers and cab owners were also present, and asked pointed, if largely unintelligible questions of the mayor. Fenty brushed off concerns about a possible strike, which has been threatened for early February.

“I’m sure this is going to meet the needs of drivers and the needs of the riding public,” Swain Fenty said.