Wash Post: Taxi fare hike is at least a month away; some surcharges could remain

Taxi fare hike is at least a month away; some surcharges could remain

By Mike DeBonis
Under the latest action, a 50-cent baggage fee would remain. (Michael Williamson – THE WASHINGTON POST) A fare hike remains in the works after a D.C. Taxicab Commission meeting Wednesday, but it will be at least a month before the increase takes effect.

The rates previously discussed will stand under the proposal — a $3 base fare plus 27 cents per eighth-mile, or $2.16 per mile — but the commission tweaked its plans to ax most surcharges.

A 50-cent-per-bag charge for “each piece of luggage the operator places in his trunk” will remain under the latest proposal; currently, passengers are supposed to pay 50 cents for each bag “handled by the driver” beyond the first. “Briefcases, purses, bags of groceries, and parcels of similar size” would be exempted from the luggage charge.

Also, the per-passenger surcharge would not be discarded entirely. But instead of $1.50 for each passenger beyond the first riding in all cabs, drivers of vans — and vans only — could charge $1 each for their second rider and beyond.

Fees for the dismissal of a cab hailed by phone ($1.50), the hauling of “[t]runks or similar-sized large articles” ($2), the hauling of small animals not enclosed in a carrier ($1), the “personal service” of a cab driver ($2) and a fuel surcharge on all rides ($1) are removed entirely under the commission’s proposal. Fares during a declared snow emergency would rise significantly under the proposal, from the current 125 percent of the metered fare, to the metered fare plus a $15 fee.

Dena Reed, the commission’s general counsel, said she anticipates that the above proposals to be published in the Feb. 17 edition of the D.C. Register. The public will have 30 days after that to comment on the latest proposal by e-mail (dctc) or by snail mail (2041 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, Suite 204, WDC 20020). After the 30-day comment period ends, the commission can decide either to revise the rules again and republish them, restarting the 30-day comment clock, or to adopt and publish the rules as final.

Officials also moved forward with new rules limiting the age and mileage of cabs to five model years and 300,000 miles. The new rule would apply to new cabs placed into service, but it also establishes a schedule for removing cabs currently in service over the next five years.

The commission also approved a provision allowing shared rides from a Nationals Park taxi stand, which goes into affect immediately, and other changes to taxi regulations, including new business requirements for cab companies, which could go into effect as soon as 15 days after their publication.

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