Dear PoP – Terrible Diamond Cab Experience

Photo by flickr user Snowesq

“Dear PoP,

I had a horrendous experience with Diamond Cab I wanted to share with your readers in hopes I can spare them from a similar experience. Also, I wanted to see if you and/or your readers had recommendations for reliable taxi cab companies and/or car services.

I called Diamond at 1:20am on 3/27 to schedule a pickup for 5:30am that same morning as I was catching the 6:15am Megabus to NYC. I called again at 5:00am to confirm the pickup for 5:30am and was told the cab would be there as scheduled and that they would call at 5:30 when the cab arrived. They did not call back so I called again at 5:35am only to be told that there was no cab scheduled for pickup and that they had no record of my earlier calls. I urged the dispatcher to find a way to get me a cab ASAP so I did not miss my bus or to tell me if they couldn’t so I didn’t waste any more time and could try to figure something else out. The dispatcher said he was able to find a cab and assured me it would be at my house within 10 minutes. I called back at 5:50am when the cab did not arrive in 10 minutes only to be told that they could not get in touch with the cabbie and did not know if he would show. I ultimately missed the bus as I was left with 15 minutes to drive from Petworth to H& 10th, find parking that was not metered & catch the bus.

As a result of their series of failures I had to take a later bus and forfeited the $23 nonrefundable ticket for 6:15am bus I missed. I subsequently called the Diamond Cab office several times to complain and ask that they reimburse me the $23, but they were consistently rude and refused to accept responsibility. I even spoke to someone in the office, not just the dispatchers who are usually rude and incompetent, but they too were unhelpful. Fortunately, I only lost $23 (in addition to 3hrs of my weekend) — it may have been worse if I had missed a flight.

I hope this helps someone.”

I’ve had some bad experiences trying to schedule taxi pickups as well. Can anyone recommend a reliable company for pickups? And since we’re on the subject I remember back in the day some folks (myself included) had trouble getting cabs to take us home from time to time. Do folks still face that problem today (personally I’ve had much better luck with drop offs the last couple of years)?

79 Comment

  • One of the few benefits of living in Virginia is Red Top Cab. They are fantastic about scheduled pickups — only time that I ever had one show up more than 2 minutes late was during a snow storm, and they called to tell me he’d be 10 minutes late. They’ll pick up in DC to go to Virginia locations (like National Airport). Plus, their cabs are clean and the drivers are always friendly.

    • DC cabs are pretty much gypsy cabs and gitneys. The cab regulation is totally corrupt and incompetent, so you have these crackheads running this industry. Fenty isn’t serious about reforming the taxi system at all. Too bad, I would LOVE an NYC-style system.


      • He is actually relatively serious, the meter thing was pretty big, and DC Council told him to remove the $19 cap on cabs and he hasn’t gotten around to like 10 months later.

        • Those are just superficial changes. Until he gets rid of the corruption, bribing for medallions, and allows proper taxi companies to operate in DC (Red Top, Envirocab, etc.) we’re still going to have the same crappy taxi system we had in 1973.

          • actually the cab system in 1973 wasn’t that bad – mostly older old skool african-american and jewish cabbies who drove and acted responsibly. The downfall of cabs in DC occurred after Haile Selassie was overthrown in Ethiopia in 1975 – it all went to hell here after that.

          • I saw an “envirocab” on 395 the other day. The driver and his front-seat passenger (not a fare) were throwing trash out the window.

    • I love these guys, they take cards too!

    • I live in Petworth but if I am traveling into Virginia I *always* call Red Top Cab – I’ve always found the drivers pleasant and the cabs clean. It’s a shame they can’t be used around DC because they are better than any of the DC alternatives.

      I’ve had a similar experience as the poster and even wrote a letter of complaint to the DC Taxicab Commission – which they totally ignored. Subsequent follow up phone calls to the Commission were totally useless!

    • ah

      +1 to Red Top, which works for airports but not buses and trains (because VA isn’t involved). Too bad.

      The “fear” cabbies had that meters would bring larger companies I wish had come true. Red Top’s advantage on dispatching is that they have enough cabs to be able to ensure someone is available. DC cab cos. are too small and filled with unreliable, independent drivers who can’t generally be bothered with timely pickups. Diamond is just a joke.

      The only approach that has worked for me in DC is to find a hotel or apartment building nearby where cabs congregate, because there’s usually a stand there. but still, hit or miss.

  • Three times I’ve tried for an early morning taxi pickup to the airport, three times I was stood up. Twice, no one even answered the phone, so I had no one to ask/reschedule/complain to. So all three times I was left frantically running around downtown, dragging my luggage (I lived a block away from the Convention Center at the time), sweating, panicking and really pissed, looking for an early morning cab. I never missed a flight though. But I’ll never try it ever again. I just schedule flights for after metro opens.

  • Incompetence is the norm from DC cabs. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a direct cell number of a guy you trust, there’s basically no hope in getting one scheduled. As the first commenter said, if your destination is in VA, Red Top is the best bet, but DC based cabs? Not a chance. Also not sure if DC Taxicab Commission has any actual authority, but according to their website complaints can be filed here – I’d be really curious to hear if anyone has ever had any luck filing a complaint:
    Fax: (202) 889-3604
    Email: [email protected]

  • My wife likes us to call a cab if we have an early flight (~6am) but I ususally give them about 5 minutes after the agreed upon time. If they don’t show, I just go out on Sherman Ave and flag one down. That ususally takes about 5-10 minutes max. Sad that it isn’t easier, but that jut seems how it is.

  • I also had an experience calling for a Diamond cab (approx 8 a.m. on a weekday) only to never have one show up – my mother and I ended up taking the bus and then the metro to our destination, it just took us waaay longer than it would have otherwise.
    The one time I had a bad enough experience with Barwood Taxi in SS to complain, they were very responsive – it’s disappointing to hear that DC companies are not so much.

  • OMG, They are awful. First off, they have a version of their webpage which appears to take online reservations. My BF and I had a 6am train to grab to NYC to catch a flight out of Kennedy. Three days prior, I made a reservation online for a 5:30am pick up.

    I did not receive an email confirmation, so I called the night before around 11pm. I confirmed all of the details (address, pick-up time, etc). The dispatcher concluded the call with, ‘Yeah baby, you’re cool!’.

    5:35am rolls around, no Diamond. A very pissed off Nonna Miss called, explaining that the reservation was made early in the week, and confirmed just over six hours ago. The dispatcher (this time a woman), said, ‘We don’t take online reservations, and we don’t have a record of your pick-up.’ The woman did not seem to care. After a little back and forth, the conversation ended with me saying, ” I need a cab, stat!’.

    Fortunately, we were able to grab another cab (we’re not on a main road), before Diamond showed up.

    Diamond represents everything wrong with DC Cabbies.

  • They’re unreliable. Have been as long as I’ve lived here. So it is. Thankfully the buses start early and run close to schedule at that time.

  • I live 3 blocks from their HQ. They don’t even show up on time when I try to schedule something.

  • Maybe I’m just extraordinarily lucky, but I’ve been calling Diamond Cab once or twice a month for about a year now to take me to the airport between 6-7 am on sunday mornings. They’ve always shown up within 10 minutes of when they said they would. I always call and schedule the pick-up about 12 hours beforehand.

    And Nonna Miss, you can hardly blame Diamond for your failure to read the bold print statement on their “reservations” link, which has read for at least the last year: “Reservation Page is not active yet. Please don’t use this page. Please Call Us: [telephone number]” See

    • +1 Great early morning airport pick-ups. they also send an extra big cab to take family of 4 and all of your bags. Usually reserve the evening before by 10pm for early pick-up.

    • i’ve also had good luck with diamond cab for early morning pick-ups. i usually call by 11pm the night before i need the pick up. i’ve found the drives to be nice and on time – hell, they’re usually early!

      (red top is also good and reliable if you’re going to VA)

  • Three options we’ve had good luck with:

    1) Sunny’s, when you feel like springing for a car service–they’re very reliable, easy to reserve, and always very professional.
    2) Yellow Cab, which tends to be among the better DC companies–I’ve never had one leave me standing.
    3) Get the card of a cabbie you’ve had a good ride from.

    Diamond is hit or miss, and I wouldn’t consider them to be an option if you actually have to be somewhere at a set time. In addition to the fact that they can be flaky, they just don’t care. I don’t know how they stay in business.

    Also from the “don’t waste your time” department: complaining to the DC Taxicab Commission. That place is Marion-Barry-stan all the way. No idea what they do there all day, but it’s not regulatin’ tha taxicabs.

    • +1 for car service. If it is important (like making a flight) the extra $ you spend is well worth it. And if you compare prices it isn’t all that much more expensive, with most you can pre-pay or otherwise use a credit card so no hassle with a price gouging cabbie, and yusually quote flat rates to many common destinations so you know what you are getting. Even in the enlightened metered age of DC cabs I’m still shocked at the sh*t DC cabbies try to pull on me.

  • Yellow Cab has never given me a problem. Decent website to reserve cab

    • Seconded. Yellow cab has gotten me to early airport trips on time every time. Couldn’t you also use Super Shuttle? SS has always worked perfectly for me!

    • Yellow Cab has stood me up twice with a reservation for early morning pickups. Unfortunately, I don’t live in a neighborhood where I can grab a cab off the street, so when the cab doesn’t show up I’m screwed. I understand that everything is subject to “availability,” but what is the point of having a reservation system unless I can actually be guaranteed a cab? Isn’t that the point of a reservation? And if nobody is coming to get me, the least the could do is call.

  • Diamond cab is famous for not picking people up. I too live close to their HQ and they wont even pick you up if you go to the HQ. The just point to the sign and tell you to call the number. If you do call, and they actually answer, they will say their are no cabs eventhough you are staring at them.
    I asked around and apparently they only like to deal with regulars. When they do, most of their pick-ups/drop-offs are to Glover Park and other nice neighborhoods (NW/NW) without access to great public transport.
    Reagardless, the are still pricks for not picking up when they dont have anything else to do.

  • i can remember several years ago when my brother and i were trying to catch a cab back to his house in bloomingdale and the cabbie would not take us there.

  • I’ve had decent luck with early morning cab pick-ups from Yellow Cab — which, for some reason, have orange tops . . . but I suppose that’s a question for another post. I say “luck” because the company doesn’t guarantee you that a cab will pick you up on time, as its “reservation” system is totally based on cabbie availability at the time. What a city!

  • I’ve never had Diamond Cab not pick me up, but twice they have sent the same cabbie who refuses to get out of the cab to help me put my bag in the trunk, and who makes really racist comments. I’ve since discovered DC Yellow Cab, and they are great.

    • the not helping with the bag thing is class dc cabbie. drives me insane.

      • My favorite is the cabbie not helping with the bag and me putting the bag on the backseat with me, only to have him try to charge me the $2.50 (or whatever inflated price he comes up with) for large luggage in the trunk. Of course, that extra charge doesn’t go on the meter so it can go straight into his pocket. I refuse to pay. Total BS.

      • the cabbie is being stupid too, because they make a couple bucks extra by “helping” you with your bag. check the little fare sheet–it’s listed there as one of the extras.

        • ah

          Yeah, I usually get teh opposite. They want to help you with a lunch box or purse just to hit you with an extra.

  • Ditto on having really good experiences with Yellow Cab. I’ve scheduled pickups to the airport probably 4 or 5 times with them, generally at really early hours of the morning, and they’ve always been on time literally to the minute. Recommended.

  • The botched early morning pickup happened to me too, a while back, and I remember noticing while looking for alternatives that a lot of the cab “companies” listed in the yellow pages (I said it was a while back) all used the same phone number. I came away thinking that the options for a phone-call-to-radio-dispatched-tax were much smaller than I had imagined.

  • Thanks for all the comments about early-morning pick-ups. On a somewhat similar note, a few weeks ago it took me 35 minutes to get a cab in Adams Morgan after last call. Given the giant mass of people that were trying to catch cabs, we walked all the way down 18th until we were the only people. With 5 people planted on 5 different corners, 2 of which were very attractive females, empty cab after empty cab drove past us.

  • I’ll second (third? fourth? fifth?) the use of Yellow Cab. We’ve used them multiple times for pre-arranged early-morning pickup and have never had a problem. Ever.

    • same here. while i don’t think there’s anything special or great about their service, they’ve always come when they said they would for early AM pickups. i consider them to be an average, fairly reliable company.

  • I have had this very same problem with more than one cab company. Basically, I end up spending ten minutes on the phone (mostly on hold) with some slow person who simply does not seem to care. The cabs never show up. Now, I simply flag one down near any main street.

    On a related note, regarding your bus, I would suggest that you try BoltBus instead next time. If you miss your scheduled bus time, you can board the next bus as a standby passenger if there is a free seat.

  • (I think my last comment just got eaten, so I will partially repost…)

    Regarding your bus, try BoltBus next time. If you miss your bus, you are allowed to board as a standby passenger on the next bus if there is space available.

  • Let me add to the kudos for Red Top Cab — I’ve used them dozens of times and I’ve never had any problem. They’re wonderful.

    But yeah, that’s only a solution if you’re going from DC to VA (or possibly MD?), as they can’t do totally intra-DC trips.

    Good to know that Yellow Cab appears to be a good option inside the city…

  • same thing happened to me: I called, confirmed, re-confirmed, so that I could get a morning cab to the airport, and so I wouldn’t have to lug my wedding dress onto the metro. Cab never showed, I had to walk from my house in Shaw to the metro with my wedding dress and luggage in tow, I was pissed and crying by the time I got to the airport. But that’s just me.

  • For scheduled pickups to DC destinations, I’ve used Yellow Cab a few times, and I’ve never been stood up. This is in the 4am – 5am timeframe.

    For scheduled pickups to VA destinations, there’s no beating Red Top Cab.

  • The only time I used Diamond I picked them up in Georgetown for a ride home after work (I was pregnant and too tired to take the metro.) I clearly stated my address before I got in the car. Once I got in I explained where my house was. I did say, it’s north of Columbia Heights, about a 5 minute drive. I repeated the address several times. He kept saying, “Fine, fine..No problem.” Well, a couple of blocks from my house he started screaming that I lied to him about where I lived, that he would never have taken me if he had known I was going to so far because it was rush hour and it would take him a long time to get back to his house. He kept screaming that I was a liar. At this point I was crying and just wanted out of the car. When we pulled up in front of my house I offered him a big tip but he threw the money (literally) at me saying he couldn’t be bought. It was bizarre, scary and really upsetting. Sadly, I didn’t report the experience because I was too upset at the time and didn’t want to repeat the whole exchange. But I’ve avoided Diamond since then.

  • I can’t second Yellow Cab – left me stranded the morning I was supposed to leave for my honeymoon. Luckily I live in Adams Morgan so didn’t have to walk far at 4:45 to find one, and they then had the nerve to call at 6 saying my cab was ready.

  • I bought a car due to DC cabs.

  • This place sucks. I had a 5:30 am out of National and called around 9:40 the night before. I asked to be PICKED UP at 4:00. He didn’t arrive until 4:30 and had a bad attitude.

  • Why did you have to pay an additional $23? I’ve missed my scheduled Megabus before and just had to pay the $5 change fee to board a later bus.

    I’ve also bought a $1 ticket before, knowing that tickets for my desired time were $25. It’s a little risky going on standby, but if you’re not in a huge hurry, $6 isn’t a bad ticket at all.

  • I’ve had similar problems with Diamond, and other DC Cab companies. We use Red Top whenever possible and find them totally reliable.

    Does anyone know exactly why Red Top is prohibited from doing DC to DC trips? I’d favor a reform to the system that would permit them to enter the market. It seems like it would benefit everyone who rides cabs.

    • Yeah, but it wouldn’t benefit the DC cab mafia. Ask Jim Graham how many all-expense-paid trips to Ethiopia he’s taken on DC Taxicab lobbyist’s dimes…

      • it’s always been my suspicion that the primary objective of the DC Cab Commission is to protect its turf from outside competition. My question was directed more at what it would take to reform the system to air it out to meaningful competition. It seems like there’s been an effort by the Fenty administration to reform the system, but their efforts, such as the meters, don’t get at the heart of the problem, which is the lack of effective competition in the market.

      • I’m not sure I’d really want an all expenses paid trip to Ethopia

    • The arrangement is to do DC business you need to have a DC license. You can have a VA license if your origin or destination is in VA and the other end is in DC. Its a licensing issue entirely. Also, I got caught up in some conflict a couple times when I got into a VA cab without realizing it, and several DC cabbies then proceeded to assault us. So, its a self enforcing sort of thing…

      • yeah, I’ve had that experience as well. It begs the question — what is preventing Red Top for example from getting the DC license?

      • There’s only a limited number of licenses available, like liquor licenses.

        • I don’t think that’s a sufficient explanation, because it leaves open the possiblity that Red Top could just purchase one of the limited number of licenses.

          • Jake, the system is unbelievably corrupt. Perhaps Red Top just doesn’t want to get involved with that sort of thing. A DC Council Member’s top aide is very likely going to prison on federal bribery/corruption charges over DC cab licensing issues. I find it completely understandable that Red Top doesn’t care to “lie down with dogs”.

        • Actually in DC there is an unlimited number of license. There is nothing stopping anyone from getting a license.

          • Hmmm, perhaps I was wrong. Isn’t some part of the ongoing Jim Graham / Teddy Loza scandal about how a couple guys were trying to buy influence in order to corner the DC taxicab license market?

  • I guess I’ve been lucky, in the 11 years I’ve lived here I’ve used Diamond maybe 30-40 times for airport dropoffs and never had any problems, short of them being 10-15 minutes late or worse imo 10-15 minutes early. I haven’t used them in about two years though.

  • I’ve used Yellow Cab a number of times for early morning pickups, and they always call when they arrive (usually earlier than expected). They’ve never let me down yet.

  • -1 Red Top: after a few successful pick-ups, they stood us up for an early flight to DCA. Travelling with small children, we ended up parking (and paying).
    -1 Diamond: Hate them
    -1 DC Cabs: Corrupt

  • I’ve had the same problem with Diamond cab company too, Called & confirmed for an early morning pick up and they never showed, I just ended up wandering around the neighborhood with my luggage racing to get a cab.

  • Yeah, I recently had a cab experience where the guy tried to refuse to take me to Petworth. He was the biggest a-hole I’ve ever encountered in a cab. I left a political event at Constitution and 13th. It was a nice event, so there were valets and people with umbrellas to walk you out to the cab line. As we were walking outside a gentleman passed me, but as he approached the first cab in line, he saw I was in heels and said, “you take this one” and ran back to the next cab. After I was in the cab and told him where to go, the driver turned around and started yelling at me, “Where’s the man, I was taking the man.” I was like, “He offered me this cab, he wasn’t even in the car.” So, the cabbie started driving, still screaming at me and says, “I’ll drop you off at the metro, no charge, you can take the metro to Petworth.” To which I responded, “You can drop me off at the metro and I’ll report you to the taxi commission or you can drive me home, those are your options.” After he stopped swearing at me, he says, “It’s my cab, I can say whatever I want, I’m just talking up here, just talking.” And then he drove me home. I was going to report him anyway, but unfortunately to file a complaint, you need the name of the driver, description of the cab, and the cabbies ID number, and all I had was the cabbies ID number. I’d never been treated so rudely by a cab driver in my life.

  • saf

    We have not been able to get cabs to come to our house in many years.

    When my husband used to travel a lot, there was a company called Clean Air Cab. They were great and would always come for airport pickups and even regular pickups. Since they went out of business, I have never had any success in getting any cabs to come to our house for a pickup.

    I have not taken a cab home in a long time, but while they will whine and try to find a way out of it, once I am in a cab, I will make them come here by telling them that I WILL call the police to file a complaint if they refuse to take me where I have asked to go.

    We live a few blocks from the GA-Petworth metro station.

  • I can’t believe people praise Red Top. Both of my experiences with them were horrible and after the second one I vowed never ever to use them again.

    The second time was when my Christmas flight was cancelled because of bad weather and I had to book a 6 a.m. the next day out of DCA. I lived in Dupont Circle and wanted to leave at 4 a.m. to give myself plenty of time with the ticket change, etc. I made a reservation with Red Top. 4 a.m. comes…and goes. I call at 4:15 and they tell me, sorry no cabs available. Called again at 4:30. Still no cabs. So I called DC cabs and got one in 10 minutes. Barely made my flight, thanks to Red Top.

    The other (earlier) experience was when my husband and I went to Best Buy in Virginia (before the BB in Tenley Town opened). We bought a bulky tv we didn’t want to take on the Metro so we called Red Top. Waited an hour for a cab. Little did we know at the time that there was a taxi stand at the nearby Fashion Center.

    OTOH, DC cab services aren’t much better. I live in northeast Capitol Hill. Called Yellow Cab to pick me up to go to a meeting (I was carrying heavy stuff) or I would have walked 9 blocks to the Metro. The cab came after an hour of nagging on my part. The cab driver told me most drivers were reluctant to pick up in my neighborhood, only a short drive from Union Station.

  • ugh I’ve had the same terrible experience with Yellowcab. They’re great when I’ve gotten picked up from my K Street office or from Eastern Market, but anytime I’ve schedule a pickup from my house (near the Potomac Avenue Station), they don’t show up and I wind up getting bullshit excuses from the dispatcher.

    I don’t know if it’s the area or just a coincidence. I do have a lot of cabbies refuse to take me home late at night. Once, I had to flag down 12 different cabs near Dupont before one would take me home, and that’s because I just got in and sat down before I told him where I was going.

  • and who could forget the incisive documentary film on the DC Cab industry made by Mr. T:

  • me

    My parents were in for my wedding a couple of weeks ago, and as they were leaving my place (U St) to go to their hotel (JW Marriott @ 14th and Penn) after dinner, I told the cabbie where they were going and to just head down 13th (where we were anyways) to bypass all of the traffic on 14th. I got the “Okay, my friend, okay, no problem.” Turns out, he took them down side streets, around and around, telling my parents there was some sort of new traffic pattern. Obvious lies. But, being Midwestern folk, my parents didn’t really make a fuss. They finally got to their hotel and had a ridiculous charge.

    Also, I was picked up by a Diamond Cab after that big snowfall. The snow emergency had been done for days. But the cabbie still wanted to charge me 150% or 175%, whatever it is, for the snow emergency. I argued with him while he was driving me, but he said there was still a lot of snow on the ground, it must obviously be a snow emergency. While trying to google it on my phone and yell at him the same time, he yelled back and called me a liar. I got to my destination, paid what was owed (MINUS the excess charge), and went inside.

  • Diamond Cab used to always pick me up (an hour after I called) when I lived on Girard and Sherman, now that I live in Petworth I’ve called them on 4 separate occasions and they just never show up, even though the dispatcher keeps promising me that someone is on their way.

  • Wow — I’ve used Diamond for years and have never had a problem. I’ve had many early morning airport runs I’ve scheduled the night before, even early Christmas morning, and Diamond has always showed up on time. I live in Adams Morgan and wonder if that’s the difference. I had no idea it was so difficult in Petworth.

    • I don’t think so… I live in Adams Morgan too and I can’t even remember the number of times my husband has asked me for a last minute ride to the airport at 5am because Diamond never showed up and the dispatcher was useless about it. Now I just assume that whenever he has an early flight, I’m going to have a ridiculous wake up call too, and my hatred of Diamond intensifies. I envy your luck… 🙂

  • I think we need a DC Cab Riders Union — we could draw up a list of demands — agree to a slight fare hike — in return for reliability — or threaten a citywide cab riding strike. I am seriously tired of cabs asking me where I am going and driving off or cabbie’s not knowing where I live — or even able to guess.

  • Have had some luck with Comfort Cab when I have to work a really early shift (4:30 am) when no bus or train is running. We have one car and I have to leave it for significant other for the schlep to daycare. Yellow and Diamond Cab have both f-ed me over royally on separate occasions, leaving me standing out in the cold screaming into my cell phone at 4 in the morning (sorry neighbors, yes that was me.) “You said they were coming an hour ago! Where is he!”) Nothing like getting up two hours earlier than you need to just to be sure you get to work on time. I am actually going to get a new bike because of them. In the old days I could always catch a cab at 18th & Columbia any time of day or night, B.P. (before Petworth.)

  • Lets prank call this cab company for pick ups… and then not respond to their calls when they actually show up and are expecting passengers..

    Its payback time!

  • My last Diamond cabbie (4:30am DC pickup to Dulles) started our ride by asking me if I went to the airport often, then, \uh, so do you, ah, know what it usually costs?\ He then \accidentally\ hit the meter half way there and reset it at the snow emergency rate (keep an eye on the number in the bottom right – 1 for in the district, 2 for cross border, higher means you’re being charged a higher mileage rate). I was so pissed that he was trying to rip me off that I called dispatch from the best I could do was underpay. Red Top Cab is a little more expensive, but they’ve always been on time and honest.

  • For evenings, definitely call Taxi by Larry at 202-271-8294. He’s the only gay jewish taxi cab driver I know in the city. He’s very, very dependable and certainly makes my taxi trips throughout the city much easier.

    You can call in advance for reservations.

  • Currently, I drive a cab. I dispatch for two companies, one full time, one part time. I am a former official of a cab company. I drove and dispatched in Virginia. In short, I know my subject.

    First, let me thank you District residents who ride Red Top Cab, AKA Tomato Can Express. Most of the money that the drivers collect goes to Mr. Nichols, who is one of the worst rapists of drivers in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Mr. Nichols gives money to Virginia senators and congressmen who push around District Officials and deny the citizens of the District Congressional Voting rights. Yup, when you support the Tomato Cans, you are supporting your oppressors.

    There are three dispatch companies that you can call in the District. There used to be five large and several smalls, but the smalls have disappeared and two of the large swallowed two others of the large. Those companies used to have territories that they worked heavily. They were reliable in those areas, but in areas that they did not work too much, they were not so reliable. I have heard all sorts of stories regarding how the companies came by their territories, but I have never been able to verify them, to my satisfaction. The situation, when I received my first DC hacking face, in the early 1980s was:

    Capitol: mostly far Southeast and Northeast across the Anacostia, some on Georgia Avenue.

    Diamond: West of Rock Creek Park, Mount Pleasant, Kalorama, DuPont, downtown, Southwest and Capitol Hill.

    Eastern-Imperial: Northeast west of the Anacostia, Columbia Heights, Shaw, Bloomingdale, Trinidad, Langston, Kingman Park.

    Liberty/District: dispatch service started in 1985. Initially tried to work the whole city. Most of its business is now east of Thirteenth ST., N.W. and east of the Anacostia. Swallowed Capitol Cab’s dispatch service.

    Yellow: the only one that tries to work the whole city. Has a pretty bad reputation in most areas except Georgia Avenue, Michigan Park and Brookland, Woodridge. At night, most of its drivers work downtown and deadhead back there from the neighbourhoods, as Yellow has many accounts downtown.

    A few years back, some do-gooder busybodies sued Diamond because its drivers do not work neighbourhoods east of the Anacostia. They got a few dollars out of Diamond, but nothing has changed.

    It should be noted that there is no law requiring drivers to work certain neighbourhoods. The law does require drivers to transport orderly passengers to requested addresses. The law comes in only when the prospective passenger indicates to the driver that he wants service.

    When you want a cab, signal to the driver. When he pulls over, open the right side back door, get in, close the door and give him the address to which you want to be taken. If at a taxi stand, go to the first cab in the line and get in. He must take you to any address in the Washington Metropolitan Area to which you want to go. Backside on the back seat, and that driver is committed. He must take you where you want to go; no excuses (‘I can not take you to Benning Heights, I must pick up my wife’ is a common but NOT acceptable excuse). If he refuses, you may file a complaint. Remember, though, the rule is \If ya’ wanna’ cry, ya’ gotta’ write\. A call to the DCTC will get advice on what to do, but if you want action, you must submit the complaint in writing.

    To submit a complaint, you need only ONE of the following pieces of information:

    1. The driver’s hack licence number. The driver must have this showing on the right sun visor. He must let you see it. He does NOT have to put it into your hands, but he must let you read it. If you do not see the hack licence, demand to see it. If he will not show it to you, GET OUT. He may be an unlicenced driver. If he has no ‘face’ and he gets into a collision that is his fault, and you suffer injuries, THERE IS NO INSURANCE COVERAGE.

    2. The licence plate number.

    3. The driver’s name.

    4. The cab company and cab number (e.g., DC Flyer cab number 8621, Luxury Cab number 3214, Yellow Cab number 7451). This information is the most useful if you try to call the cab company about a driver.

    I can comment more, but for brevity’s sake, let us leave it at this, for now. I am a District resident, I live next door to Petworth in Michigan Park, and have suffered much harm from the taxicab policies of Dear Revered Leader Kim il-Fenty, your former Councilman. The Peoples’ Taxikab Kommissariat is a tool of Our Dear Revered Leader. What Our Dear Revered Leader says about taxicabs, the Peoples’ Taxikab Kommissariat does.

    You would think that the mayor of a big city would have more important things to worry about than taxicabs, but we are dealing with His Exalted Supremacy Adri-Amin Felonty, here.

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