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  • I caught a cab on Connecticut Ave once. The cab driver apparently grew hesitant about taking me to Petworth. He pulled up to an officer on 16th St, right below U st. He told the officer (busy on a call at the time) that he didn’t want to take me any further. I must add that I had agreed to pay him upfront. I was dressed professionally. Not that it should matter. The officer told me to get out the car. I saw the cabdriver pick up a couple in the same block after he dropped me off. I don’t know how to characterize that incident. But it sure was not right.

  • Get in that car, close the door, sit down, put on your seatbelt then tell them your destination!

    I learned that from someone else when I was first living in the area and not one cab denied me a ride with that technique. I don’t understand how these losers have jobs and make money if they keep denying potential fares.

  • Being a black guy in this city I have had similar experiences many times. So many that I stopped taking cabs altogether and, evntually, bought a car.

    Once, when I was working nights in Brookland I called for a cab to go to my apartment in Randall Highlands/Fort Dupont. Having done this almost every night for a month I knew what the fare would be. I get this one cabbie who tried to drive through as many zones as possible to my home. When I finally get home he tries to charge me $13.00 for what was usually a $5.75 fare (this was in the 80’s). This is why DC cabbies didn’t want to give up the zone system for meters. I gave him $5.75 exactly and got out of the cab. He started yelling at me that owed him $13.00. I told him that the only way he was going to get it was if he had the balls to get out of his cab and take it.
    Then he threatened to call the cops. I offered to stay with him until they arrived as I wanted to hear what story he was going to tell. He decided to drive away.

    So, Dan, if I were you I would have stayed in the cab until he either took me where I wanted to go or until he called the police.

  • Oh, man… I guess the right thing to do would be to remain in the cab. I usually get out (i, too, am a black man, so this happens often. If they stop, that is) cause I am so f—-g angry, I dont want to be near the offending cabbie…
    Coincidentally, I was just talking to a friend ( also black) who recently moved to Dupont. We were discussing how friendly the airport cabbies are when a black man gets in and says he is going to, say, 20th and P-versus-, say, Georgia and Webster…

  • I was arrested for exiting a cab and refusing to pay after the cab refused to take me and my wife all the way home. See my affidavit in a pending case:

    On February 17, 2007, at approximately 2:00 am, my wife and I left a restaurant/ bar located at 1337 Connecticut Avenue, NW, and hailed a taxi to take us to our home, which is located at ___________. In our experience, many cabdrivers do not know where _____ Avenue NW is located, so we use the Georgia Avenue/ Petworth Metro station as a landmark. In keeping with this practice, we told the cab driver that our destination was 5-6 blocks from the Metro station.

    When we arrived at the intersection of New Hampshire Ave, NW and Georgia Ave, NW, where the Metro Station is located, my wife and I told the cabdriver that our destination was a few blocks further. The cabdriver said that we told her that the drop off was the Metro station. We told her no, that we lived 5-6 blocks further on. The cab driver drove two blocks north to the intersection of New Hampshire, NW and Randolph Street, NW. We asked the cabdriver to please take us all the way home; that our home was another 5 blocks further. The cabdriver said that she was not gong any further, and told us to get out of the cab. My wife exited the cab in frustration. I explained to the cabdriver that the area where she had stopped is not a safe neighborhood at night, and I asked her again to take us all the way home. I told the cabdriver that I would not pay if she did not take us all the way home. She refused and told me to get out, so I did. As I was walking away, the cab followed me and a couple minutes later two police cars stopped me and I was promptly arrested a little while later – “theft of services.”

    I never intended to cheat the cabdriver out of the fare; I had enough cash in my possession to pay the fare; however, I hired the cab to drive us all the way to our home, not to order us from the cab in the middle of the night in an unsafe neighborhood, more than half of a mile away from our destination.

    I hereby swear/affirm that the foregoing is true to the best of my belief and information.

  • I tried staying in the car until the DC police officer told me to get out. In fact, as I recall now, the cabbie refused to even drive any further. Staying in the car really would have gotten me nowhere.

  • I have had this happen to me many times, I think their problem with driving to from downtown to Petworth or SE is not a black thing or a bad neighborhood thing. The problem is, once they drop you off in Petworth, they will have to drive back downtown to get another customer. What I do when I get in is just say that I live up the street, and keep asking them to go a little further. It pisses them off, but F*** them.

    Also, who do people call for cab pick up? The one time we tried, they got there 45 minutes late.

  • It’s illegal for a cab driver to refuse to drive you to your location and you absolutely should get their ID number and report them to the DC Taxi Commission.

  • SouthwestDC

    Although I agree that cab drivers are reluctant to go out to an area where they can’t scoop up a return passenger, the bad neighborhood thing is a factor. Once I was on the phone with a cab driver, trying to give him directions to my place (they never know how to get to Southwest, even though I live 5 minutes from the Capitol, the Mall, and the monuments). The cab driver suddenly stopped me and asked, “Wait, is it bad??” And I said, “Is what bad? The neighborhood?” I told him I’m a white girl and I live there, so I’m sure he could handle it.

    Maybe once the stadium is built it’ll be less of an ordeal getting cabs to come out here.

  • A couple of thoughts on this most-puzzling case:

    1: If it were me, I’d like to think I’d politely-yet-firmly insist to be taken to my destination, but if the driver still resisted, I’d relent, get out of the cab, but absolutely get the ID number and follow through with the Commission.

    2: Regarding the lunatic woman, I would’ve made a quick diagnosis: Clearly, she’s afflicted by demons. And a super-aggressive street exorcism would commence. MAYOR McCHEESE COMPELS YOU! [splash of holy water] MAYOR McCHEESE COMPELS YOU! {splash] … repeat this sequence until she vomits her evening’s mojitos on her feet and starts singing about jesus.

  • I grabbed a cab from 14th and W, it turned out the cab driver lived right at 14th and W (the building behind the gas station), he was telling me within the last month he’s been carjacked at gun point (at the 14th and W stoplight) and had his cab stolen right in front of his apartment, two different incidents…thats at 14th and W, which is pretty safe, I couldn’t imagine what it’s like in other parts of the city

  • I agree that you should have gotten his ID number and reported him. I don’t recommend though you strapping yourself in and demanding to be taken to your destination. I did that once and it was a harrowing ride.

    As far as the drunk girl maybe you should have said (in your deepest voice)

  • We haven’t had a problem getting a cab home to Petworth in years, though we do follow the techniq

  • Gah – … technique of getting in and shutting the doors first before telling the cabbie where we are going.

  • Though it’s true that cab drivers are notoriously bad for just about everyone (I’ve certainly had my fair share of nightmarish experiences), I have to disagree with the above poster that the “black thing” and the “neighborhood thing” aren’t an issue. It’s frequently my job (as a white woman) to hail cabs for my black male friends…then I like to open the door all flowery and wave my friend in the door and close it behind him, usually getting a surprised/angry look from the cabbie. And I’ve also had cabbies refuse to take me to Georgia Ave in Columbia Heights.

    Sure, you can get in and refuse to leave and report their ID number, but that sucks up a lot of time and frankly I’m angry enough dealing with all kinds of idiotic things in this city to spend *more* time fighting assholes who are always going to be assholes no matter if I protest their actions or not.

    The only real solution is to fight for a *real* taxicab commission, force them to get licenses that cost what they should cost, and drive cars that are clean and upkept.

  • there seem to be a ton of cab drivers who live in petworth–at least based on the number of cars parked on the streets overnight. i totally don’t get the problem. that said, i rarely take taxis–just not in my budget any more.

    as far as who to call for pick up, i used to use red top of arlington to go to the airport, they’re always extremely punctual. now i think i’d try to get one of my neighbor cab-drivers to take me, but it hasn’t come up in a while.

  • Another issue I had once was at the Ft. Totten metro. I was in a rush to get to Greyhound to catch a bus. There had to be 10-15 cabs lined up outside. I noticed that as I got off the train at Ft. Totten. I went up to every cab parked there. All had there doors locked and refused to let me in. They would roll the windows down and ask me where I was going and tell me no. I finally got to the last cab in line. He let me in but told me I must put the small bag I had in the trunk. I initially protested because they typically charge a trunk fee. This bag wasn’t a suitcase and didn’t warrant a trunk fee. I decided not to complain further due to being passed over by the rest of the cabs. Anyway, once on my way, he explained that many cab drivers are robbed almost exclusively by young black men and as a result are wary of picking up young black men. That is why he made me put my bag in the trunk. he had been robbed by a young black men who pulled a gun out of a bag. After hearing that, I can’t say I blame them for being hesitant. I’d rather hurt your feelings than lose my life over a $10 fare.

    That got me to thinking. Instead of directing my anger solely at the cab drivers, I felt a twinge of disdain for the minority of young black men that make it hard for all of us trying to catch a cab or obtain other basic services.

  • Cab drivers are the enemy. Always have been, always will be. Even the black ones.

    – Young Black Male

  • On a slightly different issue, I once refused to pay the full fare after a cab driver picked up additional passengers and took me a LOT more than the permitted 5 blocks out of my way while he dropped them off first. When we arrived at my place, I told him what the problem was, gave him a dollar, and told him that is what I would have paid for the metro. Then we had a good F*** You, no F*** You shouting match up and down Connecticut Avenue as I walked away.

  • I’ve had cabbies refuse to take me from Adams Morgan to Glover Park (3 miles, 8 minutes to one of the safest parts of the city), presumably because of the empty return trip. I’ve had cabbies refuse to pick me up at all because a single-person fare just isn’t worth it on New Years Eve. Unfortunately, a lot of them won’t unlock their doors for you unless you tell them where you’re going. It’s news to me that a cop would take the driver’s side in a dispute, because it is illegal for them to deny you a ride to your destination, once you’re in the cab.

    I have to say that I have never even gotten an answer at the DC Taxicab Commission — I mean that they do not pick up the phone when I call. My next complaint will probably go to the Mayor’s hotline. (True story: the day of the first taxicab strike after the meter decision, in Adams Morgan, I saw something I’d never witnessed before: two hack inspectors supervising the impounding of a taxicab. So maybe it’s a new day.)

  • I live on the other side of town, in an area not unlike Petworth (H St/Atlas) and I have this problem ALL THE TIME when I leave Adams Morgan/DuPont. I’m a white female, so when I tell the cabs to take me to 16th and Benning, I get a LOT of strange looks. I also get a lot of cabs that try to overcharge. Every single time that happens you better believe I’m filing a complaint with the city’s cab commission. I’ve had managers call me back and confirm that everything was resolved to my satisfaction. Its a pain, but the more complaints a driver has – well, maybe he’ll shape up?

    I have taken phone numbers of a few cabs who work in the in area – individual numbers – not main lines because they are worthless – and call those cab drivers if I need to get somewhere.

  • IntangibleArts Says:
    2: Regarding the lunatic woman, I would

  • And aren’t they supposed to take you right in front of your door? The problem I can’t overcome (unlike getting to my destination in the first place, which is no problem) is getting them to drop me off at my door. I live in a basement and the entrance is in the alley. Cars go through there all the time (including the truck that delivers my groceries!), so why can’t the cab? I got into a huge debate with one guy who wouldn’t drop me off when I came back from NYC with a lot of luggage.

    I also thought they were supposed to help load/unload the luggage, so I ended up doing that too! And mind you, it was in the rain!

    Like I told him, “DC cabbies suck!”

  • I have also had a cab refuse to take my fare from the American U law school over to Petworth. This was a few years ago, but if I remember correctly, he didn’t come right out and say he wouldn’t take me, but also wouldn’t drive the car. He just sat there and sighed and wouldn’t put the car in gear. I told him, it’s just on the other side of rock creek park from where we are, maybe 2 miles, etc. etc. Then I told him the whole, you know it’s illegal not to take me. But he would not come out and refuse me the ride. Finally I said it was his loss, because Mass Ave is a high-taxi volume area, and gave my business to another cab.

    I also call Red Top Cab in Arlington for pick up at the house to go to the airport- they are always on time or early, cabs are exceedingly clean, and nice drivers too. I would highly recommend.

  • Diamond Cab will come to Petworth — and on time — for a ride to the airport. (Don’t forget to tell them you’re going to the airport when you call them.)

  • Just some observations –
    I live on a zone boundary (21st) and have had a cab take me from the airport to Georgetown in order to charge me an extra dollar. When he said the fare is $N+1, I said no, its $N and give him that.

    I shared a cab with an affluent couple coming out of the theatre. When couple arrived at their destination, the man offers to pay with a $100 bill. The cabbie refuses, then the man suggested he could write a check. So basically he got a free ride. And I doubt it was the first or last time he tried that ruse.

    The other night I observed a business man with a briefcase trying to hail a taxi on Mass Ave just east of Dupont, during pm rush hour. Every cab went past him, full. I suggested he cross the street to the taxi cab stand. During rush hour, there is no standing at the stand, but taxis cruise by. He announced “that never works, I do this every night!” What a moron.

  • I have also ( very sad to say) had white friends volunteer to hail cabs for me… Then there was the day I was trying to get a cab downtown ( and yes, I was heading to Petworth)-and a young white woman came forward to help… Her husband, she explained, was black, so she knew this reality… In both cases, the cabs stopped-and the drivers were not happy when I slipped in. Alone.

  • Dianne: Zone’s don’t matter for the airport. This is what I discovered recently. They charge by the mile for trips to and from DCA. You’re right, though, that the fare should always be the same. But it is based on miles, as far as I can tell.

  • @reuben: love that story. i get my white coworkers to hail cabs for me all the time. works like a charm and the look on the cabbies face when only the black guys gets in and not the white guy is worth the fare alone.

  • red top is great for trips to and from the airport — actually for any trip to/from arlington, etc… last year we were heading to dca with both kids and a ton of luggage. i requested a large car or mini-van the night before. a huge suv was at our door on time and helped us with all of our bags!

  • Each time I get a cabbie to give me a no-BS, no-complaints, accurate-fare ride from downtown or Adams Morgan to home (2nd & Varnum), I ask him for a business card, and explain that I want it because it sucks to try to get a cab here, and would he mind if I called him at need. I’ve gotten a couple of cards that way, and if they are on shift when I call, they come.

    There’s no need to deny the racist angle in order to acknowledge the empty-return factor; that’s a real issue on, say, a Saturday night. What every cab wants is tons of short hops around the nightspots with no empty time. The fact that they tend to be race profilers as well just compounds the problem.

  • Sorry for the unfortunate experience, but glad to see PoP is not walking home. Not safe for a boychik.

  • interesting stories all. Pop i would have def told that woman to suck a left one. and these cabies are some bitches.

  • The question to ask a cab is “are you free?” If they nod or say yes, you have a very clear issue to complain about if they subsequently refuse to take you to your destination. They already said they were free.

    Now, in a few instances when I’ve asked “are you free” the driver would say “where are you going?” I repeated my question “well, are you free or not?” In all of those instances, the cabbie flipped out, because they knew they were being cornered, that I was not up for negotiating a ride dependent upon my destination.

    Pull out a 20, tell them you understand the destination isn’t desirable, but they have just forfeited your 20. Not that you were going to give them the 20, but it’s a nice F U.

    And in the summer, if a cabbie approaches with his windows down, I tell them to move on. “No air conditioning, keep moving.” I forget the exact degree, but regs state they have to have functioning air conditioning when the weather is above a certain temperature.

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