D.C. Signs Contract for Smart Meters That Offer Credit Card Payment, TV in Cabs

D.C. Signs Contract for Smart Meters That Offer Credit Card Payment, TV in Cabs
By Martin Austermuhle in News on July 5, 2012 11:30 AM, DCIst.com

The inability to pay fares with credit cards has long been a complaint of many riders of D.C.’s taxicabs, but that option may become available as soon as the end of the year.

Today Mayor Vince Gray announced that D.C. had signed a $35 million, five-year contract with VeriFone Systems to bring smart meters to D.C.’s taxicabs, offering riders not only the chance to pay with credit cards, but also watch TV. (The television will only have NBC content.) The meters will also offer safety features and GPS tracking.

The announcement came only days before the council is set to approve broad taxicab modernization legislation that would similarly require the advanced meters, along with providing for a uniform color for cabs, add handicapped-accessible cabs to the city’s fleet and increase training for drivers. (Last week taxicab drivers threatened to strike if the legislation passed; they said it would be financially ruinous for them.)

The meters will be paid for by a 50-cent surcharge on fares paid by the rider; drivers will only have to pay an estimated $300 fee to get the meters installed. D.C. Taxicab Commissioner Ron Linton said that the meters could be available by the end of the year, but he was hoping to have them installed sooner.


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