Lots of Good Taxi News – Including Free Rides!

image003, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

First thanks to a reader for sending the news that the taxi gas surcharge ends today.

“Ok, major announcement to add to your site (unless you already knew this):

Sent a complaint to the DC Taxicab Commission about the gas surcharge. It is being removed tomorrow! Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Second, you can catch some free taxis around town. It’s a promotion but a pretty cool one. From an email:



WHAT: Cold and flu season is upon us. To the rescue are the makers of TYLENOL® Warming Liquids, offering FREE TAXI RIDES in Washington, D.C.* so you can warm up.

*Passengers will be taken to locations within the District of Columbia only, with a maximum value of $25 per ride.

WHEN: The taxis will be in Washington, D.C. from December 15 through December 21 from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Outside of select CVS/pharmacy® locations throughout Washington, D.C.

§ 12/15 – 12/21 @ 6-7 Dupont Circle, NW

§ 12/15 @ 1199 Vermont Avenue, NW

§ 12/16 @ 1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW

§ 12/17 @ 435 8th Street, NW

§ 12/18 @ 400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

§ 12/19 @ 1275 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

§ 12/20 @ 4555 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

§ 12/21 @ 3031 14th Street, NW

14 Comment

  • PoP: In the Post a few days back it said they were dropping the surcharge BUT they are seeking to raise the meter rate… so much for savings. The article said they were considering adding more licences also.

    There was nothing in the article about making it legal to punch a cabbie in the back of the neck when he acts like an ass and refuses to drive north of Florida Ave.

  • Agree with the first part of Odentex’s post above. Being happy about the elimination of the gas surcharge is really not seeing the forest for the trees, or penny wise pound foolish—pick your phrase. They are going to up the initial fare to cover the loss of the gas surcharge, so no rider is paying less, and then guess what they’ll do next summer when gas prices (predictably) rise again? Welcome Back, Gas Surcharge! It’s terrible. Look, I don’t think any cabbie is getting rich out there, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense that cabs are more expensive here than manhattan.

  • the cab industry here does just fine. dc has one of the highest flags in the nation. given the congestion and lack of signal synchronization (and more that i wont go into), the cost per unit of distance means that the cabbies fare very well here. i have very little love for the cab industry here and think that they should stop preying on tourists who don’t know any better.

  • “cabbies fare very well here”

    Ha, ha. “fare” well here… no pun intended, though right?

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  • I rode my first cab this morning w/o the surcharge. YAY!

  • Vonstallin

    well since gas prices have gone down…that means Papa Johns and Domino’s should reduce the delivery tax back down to $1.50. When They went to $2.00 I called and ask why they went up and I was told because of gas prices….

  • My excitement over this news came to a crashing halt when I heard they are raising the meter price. In fact, my cabbie started screaming at me last night when I brought the subject up. I’ve had some very friendly conversations with cabbies about this subject, so it was surprising how belligerent this one became. He started yelling that he doesn’t give a crap about people like me who just want everything to be convenient to ME, and that the majority of his rides are World Bank/IMF/business folks anyways, so I don’t count. It was a lovely, productive discussion which made me love DC cabbies even more. Ugh.

  • The fact that we have a greater number of taxis per capita than any other city in the country should tell you that there is a very lucrative market for cabbies here.

    D.C. has roughly the same number of cabs as Chicago, but only about 1/7 as many people. That’s not including all of the ‘for hire’ limos.

    I say cut the gas tax and raise the tax licensing fees. Right now it takes less than $400 to become a taxi driver in this city.

  • ColCHic: While most cabbies are fine, my conversations with some of them often go like this:

    Me: “Petworth.”
    Cabbie: “I don’t go there.”
    Me: “What’s your license number?”
    Cabbie: “#*$&&$@.”

    As PoP can attest this conversation has to take place AFTER you get in the cab otherwise the bastards will bolt. If they roll down the window and try to ask “where to” I act like I can’t hear until I’m in the back seat. Never tell a cabbie “where to” before you are inside — that’s just asking to be left in the dirt. They know it’s illegal for them to refuse a fare, but they simply couldn’t care less.

    Sometimes they’ll say shit like “I can’t get a fare back downtown from up there,” the response to which is “if you want me to do your damn job for you and find a fare I’ll drive them myself and keep the money. I don’t work for you, you got it backwards.”

    I don’t know what it is about DC, but there is a pretty sizable % of cabbies with exceptionally shitty ‘tudes. Perhaps it’s because there are so many of them. Dunno.

  • My conversations go like this:

    Cabbie: Let me tell you how wonderful my Evangelical/Islamic/Mormon religion is. Oh look, we’re at your destination, let’s sit here for another half hour so I can proselytize some more.

    Haven’t taken a cab in over 3 years. My boyfriend has only ever taken one DC cab ride and was so disgusted by the Evangelical driver who tried desperately to convert us, that he refuses to ever get in one again.

  • Odentex,
    I’ve had that exact converstion several times before.

    I will never shed a tear for DC cabbies because there will always be plentiful fares for them. Some nights in certain neighborhoods, drivers can afford to pass up mulitple fares and pick whomever they choose based on whatever warped assumptions they have about the passengers. I don’t buy any of their complaints.

    They are allowed, by far, the most lattitude to deny service to customers based on extermemly inauspicious reasoning, than any other business owner in the city. Pretty lame and at times unlawful.

  • I was actually stunned into silence (rare for me) the first time a cabbie told me he wouldn’t take me to Petworth. What’s stupid about it is this city is so friggin’ small that you have to be some kind of pathetic crybaby to think Petworth, or even Anacostia, is that far out of the way. What does it take, 8-10 minutes max to make it back downtown? If that. Maybe the fact that they get a lot of tourists spoils them.

    I think some people don’t know that unless you are being abusive or threatening to a cabbie they CANNOT deny you service and you shouldn’t let them.

  • To bring a different experience to the table, all the taxi rides I’ve asked for in the past year to my home here in Petworth (okay, so that’s only 10 or 12) have not only been very willing to take me, but also have been very nice, often asking about the neighborhood, etc. But I always get in the car first before telling them where I want to go.

  • A lot of folks of color don’t have the option of the ‘getting in the car first’ game. If a cabbie even stops [which they often won’t], they’ll have the doors locked and just roll the window down an inch or two to ask where you’re going. If they don’t like the destination they just drive off. Bunch of f’ing bigots for the most part.

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