The District agency that manages cab regulations approved changes to their rates Wednesday that will hike the fee-per-mile by 70 cents, but which will make it cheaper to ride in groups.
The D.C. Taxicab Commission increased rates from $1.50 to $2.16 per mile, but nixed fees for extra passengers in some cars, bringing unenclosed animals and a $1 fuel surcharge. Fees for extra car passengers will be outlawed but the new regulations keep the $1 per extra passenger charge for vans. The new rates will take effect April 21, but the gas charge will remain until June 20.
Chairman Ron Linton from the D.C. Taxicab Commission declined to comment on the decision-making process.
Nathan Price, chair of the D.C. Professional Taxicab Drivers Association, questioned whether the changes are actually good for the taxi industry.
“They gave us a big increase, but they took away the most valuable thing, which was charging extra passengers,” Price, a 68-year-old who has spent 40 years as a taxi driver, said.
He added that nixing the $1 fuel surcharge would also be problematic for drivers at a time when gas pricing are climbing.
“You’re throwing the industry backwards instead of forwards,” Price said. “The price of gas is hiking and hiking, so how could you eliminate that fee?”
Fare changes come following the commission’s October decision to scrap its $19 fare cap and allow meters to run the duration of taxi rides, among other proposed changes to cab operations that added rules for handing out receipts.
More changes could be coming for the District’s taxis. D.C. Council member Mary Cheh, also a GW Law School professor, introduced a bill in December that would require all cabs to accept credit card payments and create a uniform color for taxis citywide.