22 Comment

  • Whenever i stay late at work (13th and G), i take a cab home. Monday night was the first time in ages that i had a cabbie question me…he asked if that was where i lived and was generally weary.

    He told me that there have been recent incidents in petworth with cabbies being robbed and that his dispatcher had sent out an alert recently regarding petworth fares.

    I guess my suit, white face, and lack of an accent put him at ease because he took me home quickly.

    Such a messed up situation though…i seriosly doubt cabbies are getting robbed by guys in suits coming from downtown.

  • I thought it was legal to charge up front?

  • good luck, mr. castillo. i hope the fact that both you and mr. fenty went to howard law helps you get a foot in the door in some way. the cabbies in this city are a step above the rats, in my opinion, and i hope you find a way to get back at this one.

    as for that cop….most of my interactions with DC police have been positive, but this guy sounds like a dick. he owes you an apology, at the very least.

  • It is leagal to charge up front. It says so on the placard that hangs on the back of the drivers’s seat explaining the rider’s rights, as well as the cabbie’s rights…

  • I work in Chinatown and have also had similiar incidents. Recently, a cab driver kicked me out of the cab, saying he does not go to Petworth and when i mention it was illegal to do what he was doing he said “I do whatever i want”, i was lucky enough to have time to get his details and reported him. The taxi commission was very helpful.

    I am sorry this happen to you Mr. Castillo as i can relate to the emotions one feels in such a sitation, even worse is the ignorance of the Police officer and his contribution to incident. I really hope this does not go unheard of – living in Petworth is not a status of second class citizen!

    Keep us posted on the outcome!

  • In response to Anonymous,

    If you read the letter I sent the mayor, I never said that it was illegal to charge in front, I just mention it is not customary. The issues are basically that: a) he was overcharging me, b) that the driver, after taking me in the taxi cant not refuse to take me to my destination, c) he must show his badge at all time, but instead the moment I told him I was going to report him, he hided it away, d) he was getting violent and verbally abusive. So it is not an issue of whether it is legal to charge in front or not, it is everything else that I described in the letter which by the way focused more on the police actions (after calling 911) than the taxi driver. So, the point you are making is not being argued from the start.

  • I definitely sympathize with your situation. I was leaving Lima 2 Saturdays ago, and I had to go through 5 cabs before one would drive me to Petworth. If I can afford the drinks at Lima, I am pretty sure I can pay for my cab ride home.

  • My recommendation would be to call a reputible cab company for a pickup. Diamond cab has always been pretty good for me. Some of these small time guys sound like they are really out of hand.

  • you called the police about $3? are you serious?

    i am a white guy who lives in ledroit park and I have cab problems all the time. it’s really frustrating but its not something i’d waste MPD time on. get his license plate # and report to the taxi commission; they won’t do anything either but at least you’re not wasting the time of a police officer who in theory should be fighting actual crimes.

  • “call” a cab in dc? lol. they take hours to pick up at peak times.

    its a real mystery to me why barwood in moco and red top in arlington can be such professional operations when dc is such a disaster. they’re not more expensive. its really weird.

  • I wish you the best, Mr. Castillo. I am a black man. When I lived in Dupont, it was a lot easier to get a cab. I think because said cabbies thought I was one of the “good ones.” I minimize contact with taxis here (especially since I am partial to casual dress-even when at work)-cause it is damn humiliating. My unofficial motto for DC cabs is as follows: We will run you down, but we won’t pick you up.” As for the police officer-well..
    Words ( or non-offensive words)fail me.

  • Eric, are you serious? I live in Eckington, the NE side of DC. Cabs ALWAYS refuse to take me home once I am already in the cab. Nevermind that I’m white, articulate, and well mannered and dressed like a professional. I always call the police when they refuse to assist me in getting home safely. The police do respond and they are usually helpful in getting me safely in the very cab that refuses to. Once, I caused a cabbie to go to jail because they had a warrant out for their arrest. He’ll never turn down a fare again…

    PoP, keep calling the police. They work for you and your taxes pay for their salaries, which they take home to Maryland and Virginia.

  • for Eric- i do not think it is waste of MPD time to call when a situation like this occurs. Taxi cabs are a licensed business operating in DC and if they are violating the rules by virtue of which they hold that license, why NOT call the police? The new procedure now is that 911 calls are for emergency AND non-emergency numbers, and the 311 number is for administrative purposes. Yes, calling and following up with the taxi comission is also appropriate, but how can he do that if the driver refuses to give his information? That is when the call to MPD becomes necessary.

  • Call the police. You’re not ‘wasting their time’ – there is a ‘Hack Division’ that deals specifically with cabbie related crimes & infractions. If an MPD officer refuses to deal with the situation correctly ask for an Official to respond or call back dispatch & ask them to send an Official.

  • I would forward this letter to your Ward 4 and ANC rep as well, as this seems to be an issue affecting a lot of the communitiy in Petworth.

  • I find that a lot of the cabbies are very ignorant of neighborhoods in DC…and might be reacting to the way Petworth may have been 20 yrs ago. I have taken lots of cabs home to Petworth and have never been refused (probably because i usually get cabs at the taxi stand in Union Station). But I often get a kind of “what’s a nice (white) lady like you living in a neighborhood like this” reaction, and then I tell them there is actually a lot less crime here than in Adams Morgan, and how much I like living here, then they’re asking me how much I paid for the house, and then half the time they’re talking about moving to Petworth by the end of the ride…

  • I have had decent success with Diamond Cab picking up…granted you think in advance when you want to be picked up. At least they are professional…or at least seem to be.

  • I tried to take a cab home from Adams Morgan one time (I believe this was when I was still living in Petworth) and he charged me upfront. I wasn’t going to argue because it was late and after about 10 failed cab hailings I was about to give up and walk home.

    I heard they do that because drunken fares take advantage of cabbies in Adams Morgan, but it wasn’t fair for me—the only sober person in that area (I don’t drink). I’m a Black female and cabbies were giving me the stereotypical dismissal as well (though I don’t dress like a hoochie or a female thug they were probably writing me off as one regardless). One of the cabbies that night shook his head “no” at me, but picked up a drunken White girl standing nearby.

    And being a witness to this mess: I waited for a bus home near Farragut North, and a tall, slightly husky White guy tried to get a cab to some street and New Jersey Ave. The cabbie said “no.” A woman and I shook my head at one another. The woman said “That was illegal!” and I told the guy what I learned: Don’t tell them your destination until you’re seated and buckled up. If they deny you a ride then it’s illegal. The guy took it really well (too well) and shrugged it off.

    I’m just sick of cabbies getting away with doing this to people. It’s tiresome.

  • I don’t like taking cabs to CH/Pleasant Plains/PW at all. Last time I took a cab, after leaving Indebleu downtown, the (male) driver started grabbing and rubbing my hand (I am female). I was pretty scared but too drunk to get his cab # and report it. Nor did I fancy the idea of hopping out on Sherman Ave and Fairmont and going home on foot around midnight. Thus, I prefer to be cab-less, i.e. get a friend to drive me home; come home early and sober; or bring another person for a buffer. This sure is a change from living by Dupont Circle.

  • just a recommendation… I used to work at the Smithsonian doing events and would frequently have to get a cab to take me home at 1 or 2 in the morning — not an easy feat on the mall. Eventually I made friends with one particular cabbie (he picked me up late one night and I asked if he would come the next night too; he agreed) and from then on I would call him first whenever I needed a cab from work. He would do his best to make it there but would let me know if he was just too far away. Maybe try to make the same arrangement? If you work late, cabbies might be willing to make a set date with you.

  • Please write the city Paper… get that published!

  • A few years ago I had a ridiculous experience with a taxi (over-charging because a concert was getting out and there were not many cabs) and luckily I was able to copy down the relevant info from the taxi. I then called the commission that regulates cabs and was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of response. The driver was called in to discuss the matter. He was required to take some training and a record was left in his file. If he were to get another complaint in the next 12 month, more serious action would be taken. What impressed me most is that:
    1) The person working at the commission kept in touch with me, providing me with updates on the status of the case
    2) I never wanted anyone to lose their job, or suffer significant economic complications, but instead understand that this behavior wasn’t appropriate. And that is exactly what happened.

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