Dear PoP – Cabs Won’t Take Me Home

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jess J

“Dear PoP,

I was outside Meridian Pint with a friend in Columbia Heights on Saturday night around 12 am trying to get a cab home. I live around 8th & E NE. I flagged down four cabs and all refused my fare, two saying “I don’t go to Northeast,” one who just said “no” and drove away, and the fourth saying he was on his way home to Silver Spring and my address was out of his way. I was under the impression it was illegal for cab drivers to refuse fares in the District, and when I brought that up to the first cab driver he said he didn’t care. After briefly driving off, he came back and tried to bargain a price with me and when I refused to do so, he told me that my choice was stupid and sped off. Unfortunately, I did not have time to take down his information to report him. Do you know of anyone else who’s had trouble getting home to NE (or anywhere else in the District)? And what can I do about this if it happens in the future?”

When I first moved to Petworth in 2003 cabs used to refuse to take me home all the time. It’s hard to describe how frustrating that feeling was. Fortunately that rarely happens to me anymore. At the time I think folks just recommended taking down their license number on the visor? Does anyone know what phone number/who to contact with that info? Have others encountered a tough time catching a cab to other quadrants of the city? Do folks who go the H St, NE or the Hill have a tough time catching a cab back to NW and vice versa? What’s the best advice for when a cab refuses to take you home?

131 Comment

  • Always get in the cab first before you tell them where you’re going. If they refuse to unlock the door before you tell them, just say, “Down the street,” and then clarify that “down the street” means a few miles away once you get in. If they try to kick you out, threaten to call 911… has worked for me more than once.

  • The easy way around this is to tell the driver a good destination (I usually tell the driver Adams Morgan or Chinatown or Georgetown) then once you are in the cab, just change your mind. Make sure you tip a little extra if it is late and the driver might have a hard time getting a fair near my house.

    • Good advice, except for the tipping extra part. Don’t do that.

      • no extra tip is right…you shouldn’t have to tip extra because they are taking you home. you shouldn’t even have to come up with some scheme to get home in the first place. but, alas, in dc you do…

        • Exactly.

        • You shouldn’t always tip a driver who argues with your destination, but it makes sense to throw an extra dollar or more to a cabbie that goes out of his way. For one, consider the effect of rewarding good behavior: if we all tipped higher to go to SE, we’d always be able to get cabs anywhere anytime.

          You know the extra $2 isn’t going to affect your life in any way. Get over the ego trip and pony up. You tip bartenders for going to extra trouble, don’t you? Well, going to a neighborhood without any fares costs the drivers money. Show appreciation.

          You come across as “15% for good service” tippers. Tipping is a life skill; learn how to do it right.

          • But how is it “going out of his way?” DC cabs are required by law to take passengers anywhere in the District, period. When a cabbie has their “on duty” light on, all of the rules and regulations posted in the cab apply. Not to say that you shouldn’t tip, but having to pay extra to go to certain destinations, whether the driver asks for it directly or simply abuses you when you don’t pony up, functions as an illegal surcharge.

          • Realize that DC is gentrifying faster than cab driver’s minds are changing. If you want to help them gain understanding, you’ll tip more. Think of it as a public service. If you don’t tip more, you’re hurting the next person who shouts “NE” through the cabbie’s open window. Own that consequence.

            If you’re the average DC single, you make a lot more than the median American -household- income. You make a lot more than the drivers. There’s no excuse to pinch pennies.

            It’s not an illegal surcharge, because it’s voluntary. Nothing is stopping you from tipping $0.

          • I know a guy who became a millionaire driving cabs– he now has a mansion in Vienna. Trust me, these guys aren’t hurting for cash.

          • Get real. That’s not representative of the average. The majority of those guys don’t own their own vehicles. They have to make a certain amount of money just to break even.

            I know millionaire teachers, plumbers — as well as a number of other “unlikely” professions. Does that mean all plumbers are millionaires?

          • i dont know any millionaires. : (

        • I’m curious to know how one becomes a millionaire as a teacher.

          Anyway, I think most cab drivers are sending the majority of their earnings back to their home county so they could certainly use more.

  • Agree w/ Shaq. I just get in the cab before the driver has the chance to ask my destination.

    Also, DC law prohibits the driver from even asking the destination prior to the passenger entering the cab, but this law is commonly broken. If you run into problems while in the cab, call 911.

  • I don’t tell a cab where I’m going until the door is open. I don’t even look at them until the door is open. If they try to argue, I start calling the cops.

    The DC Cab industry is effectively shut off now from competition because of our city council. You get what you vote for in DC.

    Jim Graham’s Chief of Staff was indicted on accepting bribes from leading cab industry folks. Whenever you’re pissed about cabs, remember that.

    • I actually got a ride from Leon Swain once in dc,
      he had a credit card machine!
      he said that it’s stupid that more cabs don’t get it because people tend to tip better on plastic anyway

      he was a nice dude, sadly, supported gray for mayor

      however, take your phone out, turn the camera on, and start talking to the cab, thats all you have really, license plate is also a good start

  • Welcome to my world. They see me, lock the door, roll down the window ask me where I want to go. They then speed off if they are not interested. I generally don’t even bother to talk to them when they do that. One time a guy saw me trying to get a cab, after he stopped laughing, he said I was the wrong color, and I should give it up. And so it goes…

    • that sucks.

    • I’m White and my fiancee is Black. She has a very difficult time catching cabs and, when we’re together, we collectively have a difficult time catching cabs. Though it outrages me, sometimes she stands on the sidewalk and I walk out into the street to flag down a cab, so they don’t know we’re together. Sure enough, the cabs always stop for me. In case there’s any doubt among my cracker brothers and sisters, racism is alive and well in the Capitol City.

      • That’s sad – people need to learn to stop discriminating. It reminds me of an article in the Hoya that described this pattern in the ’90s – I guess things haven’t changed that much…

      • Of course, none of those cab drivers that are refusing to stop are white…

      • This absolutely sucks. It’s illegal, and it shouldn’t happen. Having said that, the reason cab drivers often don’t pick up black folks in DC, or drive to destinations in SE is that driving a taxi is quite dangerous, you’re very susceptible to being robbed or killed, and 99.9999999999999999% of the assailants in this city are black.

        It’s analogous to the complaint that whenever middle-class white folks in the hood see a group of 4-5 black male teens coming towards them on the sidewalk, they cross the street. Do they do it because they have some sort of idealized hatred of black skin? No, they do it because it reduces to zero the small percentage that you’re going to get your ass kicked.

        • More so its probably because there might have been instances where a certain type of people(solely based on looks) probably didnt pay after their ride or something of that sort…

          I used to work with a lot of small businesses, then one time one of them didnt deliver the goods on time and it was a huge embarrassment for me because we couldnt send the final product to the client.

          Since then I have stopped relying on small business owners for critical needs.

          Not that all small business owners are lazy or bad, i just want to be 100% sure I can get my orders on time and i get that assurance from the bigger retailers because they have never failed me (at least so far).

          Same thing with the cab drivers.. once biten twice shy!

      • My husband and I always deal with this (he’s black, I’m white). One night after I’d hailed that cab and he ran up to hop in with me, the cabbie asked why he didn’t hail the cab. I told him because he wouldn’t have stopped for us. He kind of nodded his head and thought about it for a second…Hopefully we helped change his mind?

  • Also people, don’t forget your phone has a camera in it! Learn to use it. Sometimes even pretending to use a camera has an affect.

  • I live a block away from the OP and never have had any issues. The bigger problem for me is cabs taking the most ridiculous route home to jack up the fare.

    • This is the worst. Especially on a Friday or Saturday night the cabbie will assume you’re too drunk to notice he’s taking you blocks or even out of the way. I live off of 16th Street near Kalorama and every single time I try to get home in a cab on the weekends the driver will try to turn up 18th Street so he can get stuck in traffic and either A) run up the meter, or B) Discourage me from staying in the cab until I actually get home so he can score another fair in front of the bars.

      The zones were no better. I lived at 16th and U for a while and would always specify “16th and U, SOUTH side of the street” or “16th and U, NORTH side of the street” depending on which direction I was coming from. Invariably the drivers would still go through the intersection, then claim they crossed another zone and I owed them more money. Usually if you made it clear you knew they were trying to cheat you, they’d back down, but not always.

      I hate DC cab drivers. If they’re not going out of their way to rob you, they’re going out of their way to run you.

    • Or covertly putting a charge zone 1 fare in 2 or 3.

  • I live near Eastern Market and I’ve experienced this a few times recently late-night on U Street. My housemate and I COULD NOT get a cab. We were telling them “Capitol Hill” and they were driving off. After an increasingly desperate half hour at the corner of U and 14th (during which no buses came by either) a 92 pulled up and I was able to catch that home. Don’t know what I would have done otherwise. Next time I’m going to try the camera and/or calling the cops solution…

  • This has long been a frustration of mine in DC! I have often wondered what “magical” location the taxi cab has wanted to hear in order to take my fare (this has only been an issue late on Friday and Saturday nights). I used to live in Logan Circle and was often refused. I live in Bloomingdale now and am still refused. This will not get better until routine reporting is made.

    Its fine and good to say I wont’ tell them my destination until I am in the cab but if they won’t unlock the door until you do so…

    It is against the law, look at section 819.9

    • Don’t kid yourself. The taxicab industry spends a lot of money on the city council. The problem won’t change until you ELECT someone else for city council.

      Refuse to pay if the cab driver takes you a BS route. I’ve had cabbies kick me out of their cabs arguing with them about what route to take. That’s fine with me. You don’t pay if they don’t take you ALL THE WAY to your destination.

      You can’t any BS from these guys.

  • Like other people here said, DO NOT tell them where you are going before you get in the cab. They “technically” can’t refuse a certain address in DC, but obviously if you aren’t even in the cab yet its easy for them to drive off. Living over by RFK, no one wants to take me home because there aren’t other fares to be picked up (not that H street or Eastern Market is far).

    Being a white female, I have mastered this (because they probably don’t expect me to be going to an undesirable area). My boyfriend, who is black, has had to hail a police officer before to help him get a cab to our neighborhood. Quite frequently he waits long periods of time for a cab to even stop, let alone agree to take him. If we are together, I pretend I am by myself until I’m in the cab and he can join me… sad.

    I used to have the phone # to report this behavior saved in my phone. No idea if any of those reports were followed up.

    • On duty cabs drive right by me in Capitol Hill even when I’m just going to Union Station. I’m about as WASP-Y as it comes.

      I live less than 2 miles from the yellow cab offices and I can’t get them to show up ever.

    • “mastering” was the wrong word. IF a cab stops, I am usually able to get myself home even if they dont like my destination. I know what you mean about getting picked up in cap hill – close to impossible. Getting a cab to stop v. getting a cab that has stopped to take you to a “bad” location are two separate headaches!

  • I live on 6&E NE and have this problem on a semi-regular basis, although it’s much more common for cabbies just to try to take ridiculously roundabout routes to get me home (as Anon 10:39 said).

    I also have had issues going the opposite direction. After a night at R&R hotel, my girlfriend and I got in a cab, but the driver refused to take us to her place in Van Ness. We were already in the cab, so I was ready to whip out my phone and report him, but the gf didn’t want to deal with the headache so we just got a new cab.

  • I walked to my BFs house sunday night (1st NW and Ust) from rock and roll hotel. 7 cabs passed me. 5 had lights on with people in the back and didn’t stop. 2 didn’t have people and wouldn’t stop. Its gotten better in the passed 2 years… but this brought me right back to 3 years ago. Usually my friend gets in the cab, shuts the door and says the cross streets, he assumes NW and after a min she says NE.

  • I havent had a problem with this since the meters were put into cabs. When I lived in Arlington, during the zone system, I’d say about 75% of cabs would refuse to take me home on a weekend night. Once the zone system was lifted, more would take me there, but not all. Now that I live in Eckington, I havent had a problem with pickups or deliveries.

    Back when they wouldnt take me anywhere, it led to several run ins. Late at night there may be few choices for cabs, so when I found one I was determined to keep it. However, cabbies were even more emboldened a few years ago then they are now. They would do crazy things to get you out of their cabs, if they ever let you in to begin with. When they did these things, combined with my determination to get home, some heated arguments were created.

    I have to say, I have had way more good cab experiences recently than bad. But, they do seem to go slow, try to hit red lights, and sometimes take strange routes. If you call them out on it, they will often stop doing it. Its in their economic best interest to get me to where I’m going as fast as possible, because multiple short fares create more revenue than few long ones. But thats not always their operating procedure.

  • Did anyone consider that maybe these cab drivers are just not particularly GOOD at their trade? Volume counts, espcially since fares are front loaded. In NYC cabs literally beat each other down for fares and they never ask where you’re going first. If these guys hustled a little more they wouldn’t get worked up about a 10 minute detour from their comfort zone at times with minimal traffic like weekend evenings (aside from destinations like 18th or U St) .

    • Are you kidding me? It’s WAY worse in NYC. Unless, of course, you live in Manhattan.

      I live in both Columbia Heights, DC, and Park Slope, Brooklyn, and I can say with complete assurance that while cabs in DC usually let me in without asking me where I’m going first, cabs in NYC keep their doors locked until you tell them through the window where you’re headed. As soon as they hear something outside of Manhattan, they’re gone, and they’re usually even more rude about it than their DC counterparts.

    • have you tried catching a cab to williamsburg right by the williamburg bridge in manhattan? 🙂

      who are you kidding, never happens in nyc.

      • In fairness, if you happen to be in one of the outer boroughs, and actually find one of the few and far between cabs, they’re always more than happy to take you into manhattan. It’s just getting home that’s the hard part. They’re all afraid there won’t be any fares on the way back.

  • I use to live at Morse and Montello, in Trinidad. People use to turn me down all the time. I found that what worked best was when I just got in and told them I was going to H St. I would chat them up and establish a rapport then once we were in the area I started saying take a left here or a right there. They would often get angry when they realized I was taking them into Trinidad but I had to get home somehow. It was so bad that one time I got into a cab with a friend and just for the hell of it I got in and said, “Please take us to Trinidad.” I said it very clearly and was expecting an immediate “hell no!”. Instead he just started driving. About ten seconds in he told me that the last time he took someone there he got robbed. He picked up two black women from The Park at Fourteenth and they pulled a knife on him. I felt bad for the guy.

    • I live on Montello and I usually tell the cabbie I am going to Gallaudet and then when I get close change it. Most of the times I try to get to Union Station and then just get a cab. They normally dont turn me down.

  • I’m finding this whole discussion quite interesting, considering I live near Suitland and I have never had an issue catching a cab back there from DC. I don’t tell the cab driver where I’m going until I’m in the car, and then I think they are still in shock that a five foot tall white woman is asking to go to that neighborhood that they just start driving out in that direction.

    • also, depending on the time, a lot of the cab drivers live outside the city. You’d be surprised to find out that they may be more willing to go “towards home” out to PG county than to go in the opposite direction in NW.

      I’ve also been asked many times why on earth I would live in Hill East by a cab driver who is on his way home across the bridge – pretty ironic.

  • Do these same rules apply to crossing state lines? I’ve had a couple of unfortunate situations where I had to take a cab to Arlington or Bethesda. Never had a problem I’ve heard from others who as soon as they say Virginia or Maryland, the cabbie speeds off. Is that legal? Seemed unclear from the code.

    • This happens all the time to me. I can never get a cab to take me to Arlington unless I beg. One cab driver told me they legally cannot pick up anyone in VA so they know they won’t have a return fare.

      I’ve basically realized I absolutely have to get my butt on the last metro or else I’m stuck.

    • The rule is anywhere within the metro area. Arlington and Bethesda are both within the metro area.

  • I’ve watched a friend that lives in Eastern Market be refused time and time again. Most cabbies keep their doors locked so you can’t just get in and then tell them.
    You have to get the cabbie information. The @BadCabDC twitter account apparently will file on your behalf, but they haven’t tweeted since Feb 6.

  • I live near Eastern Market, and it happens to me all the time, especially on weekends. I reported it to the Taxicab Commissions last November after a particularly bad night — had two cabs drive away when I told them where I lived, then after learning my lesson, I got in the third cab first, and he tried to kick me out of the cab “because he had to stop and go to the bathroom!” Obviously he was lying.

    I submitted a complaint to the Taxicab commission, and promptly received a response that said “This will be investigated”, and that was the last I heard four months later.

  • Cabs in this city seem to have more power over the City Council than any other special interest group.

    I think most cab drivers believe that the best way to earn money is to drive within a select zone, drop off someone and have another passenger enter as the old leaves. When gas prices rise you see this happen more and more frequently. Technically, I see their point and as a business it makes sense…as a consumer it sucks.

    Bottom line it’s illegal. We need more cabs in this city at peak hours to increase competition.

  • Has anyone been reporting to @BadCabDC on Twitter?

    From this PoP post a few months ago:

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Thanks, I was looking for this post and couldn’t find it!!! Hahaha. Really appreciate it. One day I will improve the search options here…

  • All the time I lived uptown it was nearly impossible to get a cab, either to work (I work a block from the White House) or home; this was just about always during broad daylight. (The night I went into labor with my youngest child, my husband and I were terrified that we’d never get a cab to Sibley, where I was scheduled to deliver.)

    My dad drove a taxi in the District on and off for 30+ years and never discriminated against anyone. He told me to jump in the cab and shut the door, give the address and, if they refuse to take me, instruct them to drive me directly to the nearest police station.

    Oddly, now that I’ve moved to Congress Heights, I don’t usually have too much trouble (probably b/c they have to drive past the Taxi Commission to get me home).

  • Happens to me all the time – usually after 1230 heading to Glover Park. They say they are heading home and I’m not their direction.
    I try the “just get in and then tell them” but late at night cabbies lock their doors.
    It is annoying but seeing how it took decades to get meters I have zero faith in the DC cab industry cleaning up its act.

    • Go with this idea if they wont unlock the doors and then drive off…

      JUST SPIT ON THEIR CAB. I promise it will get them to stop the vehicle. One suggestion… it might help to be a fast runner if employing this method.

      I just dont see why we should treat cabbies any better than the way they treat us.

  • As many have indicated, the key is to get in the cab first. If the driver suggests he is not going to take you home, ask him for his Hack license number. I have found that to work 9 out of 10 times. If it doesn’t work, take his Hack license number (always on the sun visor), the name of his cab company, his car number, and his license plate number. You’ll need all of that information to file a complaint with the DC Taxi Cab Commission. I have succesfully brought a complaint against a driver, testified at his hearing, and smiled smugly as he was fined for his misbehavior. Yes, it cost my a 1/2 day out of work but I felt I did my part for humanity.

  • @YuppieHell – see my comment below. It happens all over the city not just the “ghetto.” As my ‘hood is as Yuppie as it gets.

  • Yeah, I always get in the car and shut the door before saying a word. I’ve been lucky so far, haven’t had anyone refuse to unlock the door for me, but I’ve certainly watched it happen to other (male, non-white, etc) people, and it’s outrageous. When I watch cabbies engaging in that kind of behavior, the company goes on my blacklist, and I don’t recommend them to my business clients. Word of mouth is a good thing 🙂

    I stopped using Diamond a couple years ago after a cabbie illegally doubled the flag drop charge (I guess he thought I wasn’t paying attention) and then dumped me out of the cab in a thunderstorm when I called him on it. Called me some really nasty names, too. I had other bad experiences with Diamond prior to that ride, but that was really the last straw for me.

  • Get a bike…problem solved…and its free…and no christian radio.

  • Aaaaaand this is why I rarely take cabs. Buses and metro all the way. Saves a lot of money too 🙂

  • DC CABS SUCK – As a 6’3 250 black man trying to hail a cab in this town after 2am is nearly impossible. DC Govt. needs to crack to down on this negative behavior…

    • i see cabs pass by black men at all hours of the day. seemed okay the last handful of years, but for some reason the last few months i’ve seen it a lot more often.
      it’s crazy.

  • Music Solution: Always tell the cab driver what station to tune the radio to, as long as there is good music who cares how long the ride is. *Most drivers don’t get pissed off about you messing with their tunes.

    I hate having my buzz ruined by some really bad talk radio on a party night.

  • Even as relatively small white male dressed well I usually hide around the corner while my girlfriend hails a cab. She is much more successful than me!

  • I’ve actually never had this problem. I HAVE had problems with being sexually assaulted by a cab driver, having a cab driver call the cops because I refused to pay a fare that was $30 higher than it should be, and having a cab driver go straight past my apartment and weave maniacally through side streets (presumably to jack up the fare) while I screamed for him to please stop. Plus run-of the-mill rude comments based on my gender and orientation.

    I say if a cab driver refuses to give you a ride, count your blessings! These people do not deserve our money.

  • I had a terrible experience once trying to get a cab by Catholic University. We called several cab companies and no one would come. One said they would come and didn’t show after an hour.

    We had a friend drive us to the metro, where there were 3 cabs waiting. No one wanted to take us to Arlington. One of my friends threatened with reporting them to the commission so he took us to the Key Bridge. Yes, we walked accross the Key Bridge at 1am because he couldn’t possibly drive accross it and “get lost” in Virginia.

    Another time, I had a cab driver try to sell me books in his car and when I refused, he was trying to pick up another fare! I told him that was illegal and I was going to get out, but it was only a few blocks away. I didn’t give a tip and I reported him. (Don’t know what happened though, I hope he got repremanded because it was super bizzare.)

    Also, what’s up with cabs always smelling of cigarette smoke? It’s really disgusting. I feel like I need to take a shower after riding in a cab.

    DC should adopt NYC’s cab system, it’s fantastic in so many ways. (Especially taking cards!)

    • To be fair, Virginia roads are laid out by genuine retarded people. 🙂

      • People think I’m crazy when I say I prefer driving in DC to driving in NoVA, but the roads out there are so dangerous and confusing (and I speak from experience having lived there many years).

        • People say he’s crazy he’s got diamonds on the soles of his shoes… Well, that’s one way to lose these walkin’ blues diamonds on the soles of our shoes…

  • Recently I had to get to National Airport quickly and on short notice from 15th Street SE. I would have taken too long to walk and metro there, so I called a cab. The guy never showed up!

  • I have had some trouble getting home, and I live near the Argonaut. A lot of cab drivers live in Virginia and don’t really know the city that well. They buy in to a lot of the stereotypes about NE, and don’t distinguish between NE neighborhoods. The last time I took a cab home from Dulles in the middle of the day the cab driver was worried as hell. He kept asking me if “they robbed cabs” in my neighborhood. I kept asking him what on Earth he was talking about. DC cab drivers spread rumors like a knitting circle.

    I’ve also had drivers try to overbill on baggage. Like, charge me a bag fee for my messenger bag or backpack. The two times I have called them on it they immediately pulled over and told me to get the hell out of their cab.

    DC cab drivers suck.

  • if they deserve it leave the door open and walk away

    • You risk getting screamed at and threatened though– cabbies tend to be pretty angry and violent. I had one yelling at the top of his lungs that I should be showing him respect. All I’d done was pull up in front of a building (not a taxi stand) for a minute to pick someone up. He was mad that I was in “his spot”.

      • Just walk away they are not going to leave their cab. Let them look like the raving lunatic.

        • I think they’d have to get out to close the door. Anyway, I try to avoid getting screamed at by scary men who are much bigger than I am (and typically come from cultures that have no regard for female lives).

  • I never have trouble getting a cab home. Of course, it’s never occurred to me to tell a driver where I’m going until I’m in the cab anyway.

    However, since I moved to the neighborhood in your example, I have an extremely difficult time calling a cab to pick me up at home. Once I ended up waiting 45 minutes (on my way to a major meeting and had two huge bulky package to take with me, else I’d have taken the bus.) I asked the cab driver, one of the few women I’ve seen driving a cab, and she told me other drivers were afraid of my neighborhood. That has to be one of the most laughable things I’ve ever heard.

    DC Taxi Commission definitely needs to investigate. Or if they don’t, maybe the Washington Post.

  • There is a cab stand at the Fort Totten metro. They have never refused to take me and usually you don’t have to wait very long if at all even late at night

  • The behavior of DC cab drivers got me to stop drinking. I got so fed up with their nonsense that I stoped taking cabs, and since I lived in VA with poor public transit options I stopped going out. By the time I moved to DC I realized had no interest in going out anymore…

  • i never take cabs in dc. way too expensive.

  • i live near eastern market and have had mixed reactions with taxis. usually, if i am on H st, Penn Quarter, Chinatown, or mt. vernon then i have no problems. I sometimes have problems on U st, adams morgan, or dupont because of the aforementioned problems with their strategy or short trips. however this depends on the time of night. anything before 1 am is usually fine, but during closing time… good luck.. oh and people going to virginia or maryland, good luck.

  • I have zero sympathy for cab drivers in DC. Unless you live in Adams Morgan, Dupont, Logan or Georgetown you don’t exist. When I worked in Maryland all of the cab drivers would to take me anywhere I wanted at anytime. I just started making deals with them to come pick me up in DC, which is illegal, and I haven’t had a problem since.

  • Actually this cabbie-that-doesn’t-to-to-NE thing is a great idea.

    It would work well with the police: “Sorry ma’am, I know you’re bleeding to death from multiple stab wounds but I only deal with property theft and cat rape.”

    or teachers: “nope, sorry, I don’t teach Latino kids”

    or a hundred other careers…. hotdamn, this could be the start of an beautiful new world for all of us. Praise the lord.

  • My good friend was killed by a cab driver in Chicago last year. He was apparently leaning in the window telling the cabbie where he wanted to go, and the cabbie decided to speed off. He dragged my friend a block and drove over his legs, shreading them.

    No one got the license plates only that it was a “blue and white” cab. It sucks, my friend is dead and they’ve never caught the guy.

    Never ever talk to a cabbie through the window.

    • that’s so sad, sympathies for your friend! i have a horrible-cabbie story too, but the victims survived.

      also… abominable that they won’t take passengers to NE!

      one thing, only one small thing, to suggest is this

      you: “do you know how to get to [blank, NE]?”

      dumb cabbie: “no”

      you: “well, don’t worry, i can tell you an easy/short/safe way.”

      sometimes i think they really don’t know the streets in NE from my experience – i’ve had to tell them EXACTLY what to do and even given them new ideas… this is only one suggestion that has a small chance of working

      • the easiest way to solve this problem is two fold. give them a well-known destination in your neighborhood and then direct them to your home from there. also, upon telling the cabby where you’re headed, if they attempt to refuse service, the cab company’s phone number (and the DC Taxi Commision’s number) are posted inside of every DC cab–break out your phone and call the cab company while in the car, it’s incredible how quickly they take you where you want to go when you have their supervisor on the phone.

        After arriving home, report the following info to the DCTC: driver’s name, license plate number, cab company, and car number.

        additionally, i’ve had a few drivers try to charge me for double occupancy because i needed to go farther than the wanted too–the starting fair for one person in DC is $2.75; if your fare begins higher than that, call them on it.

  • I also live about a block from the OP. Its been several years since the last time I had this problem….

  • As a black man I had my share of cab issues. It is embarrassing to see one go pass me just to pick up someone else down the street. I don’t think I am scary looking guy, but whatever, it is their loss; I live in center it all so I hardly use them.. I walk, take metro, or drive. That said, I think taxi drivers generally don’t have a problem picking anyone up if they feel safe. So, why isn’t it a requirement that all taxies in DC have bullet proof dividers between the driver and the passengers? That way if the passenger becomes problematic the taxi driver locks them in and takes them to the nearest police station to resolve the situation. Knowing that, bad passengers won’t be hailing cabs.

    • Somehow I wouldn’t feel comfortable with cabbies having the ability to lock me in their back seat… sounds like a perfectly horrifying scenario.

      • Assuming you have a phone, you can call 911 and tell where you are if you feel threated so I don’t think it is a problem. I mean, taxi drivers are not just random people, they have registered and easily identifiable.

      • Agreed… besides, are there really that many bad passengers?

      • I was sexually assaulted by a cabbie in 2008 as well… I wonder if it was the same guy. There were people in the back when I got picked up so I sat in the front seat. After dropping the others off he drove to an empty parking lot, grabbed my arm tghtly and slid his hand up my skirt. Luckily I managed to get away.

        Never, ever, sit in the front seat!

        • I’ve had both a friend & a family member each sexually assaulted by cabbies. It’s probably a lot more common than people think. Fares are often drunk, they can lock you in and drive you to remote/unpopulated areas. My family member actually managed to stab the cabbie in the eye with her keys in order to escape. So yeah, fu(k cabbies.

        • I think so too. Most of these guys come from cultures where it’s believed that women who are out on their own deserve to have horrible things happen to them. And having an unaccompanied woman alone in a vehicle with them gives them to perfect opportunity to express that…

  • One time at cab stopped for me, as I was about to open the door he drove off, stopped in front of two white girls, I went up to his cab cursing, the girls had gotten into the cab, when they realized what happened to me, they got out and said if he wasn’t going to take me where I was going, they didn’t want to ride with him. I was really moved. Wish I could find those girls to say thank you.

  • As we’re discussing cabs…has anyone else noticed that the BWI Airport Authority has given one company a monopoly and to cab down here has gotten ridiculous?

    I returned from work trip late on a Friday evening (very little traffic) and was appalled to find that $93/$94 was the top-end cut off to get to DC. To top it all off, the one DC cab I took to BWI whined about going and ask for “a much bigger tip.”

  • One more thing–if you have trouble with taxis in the District, you can send a tweet at @BadCabDC. Good to follow anyway.

  • And it seems to me the general refrain concerning the plan of metro closing at midnight is “You can always take a cab! Yay for taxis!”. Reading this, I don’t think they’ve thought their cunning plan all the way through…

  • Funny. I live in Southeast (as in east of the river, not Capitol Hill), and I haven’t had a problem with drivers taking me home so long as I get in the cab first. They may grumble a bit about the distance, and I did have one driver take a ridiculously roundabout route, but for the most part it’s all good. I gave my best tip so far to a driver who was making fun of Newt Gingrich on the radio–hilarious.

    That said, I don’t take cabs all that often because the 92 runs late and gets me where I need to be. Cabs are only for times when I’ve just missed a bus.

  • figure out a way to do things that don’t involve having to take a cab.
    walk, bike, bus, train, carpool, zipcar, skateboard. fuck cabs.

    • Yes! Best response yet.

    • I agree. I started this post off with the first comment, but I’ve only taken a cab thrice in DC in 3 years. My cab experiences are limited largely to my time growing up in New York, where quite frankly, cabs are better because of better enforcement.

      In DC, I quickly learned that the cabs suck, and that the metro is pretty decent. I also dig the bikeshare thing, and it’s easier to own a car here. The Next Bus thing is also pretty cool, though it does highlight how infrequently some buses come…

      I really just try to avoid cabs at all costs.

  • When I (briefly) lived in Silver Spring (5 blocks from the metro) – no DC cab would take me home – not from U, Adams Morgan, or H St NE. It was the locked doors/rolled down windows situation – A few times, I said NW, got in the cab and said Silver Spring. Screaming, ranting, raving ensued. I always left the cab (safety first), and left the door open. One time only, I “accidentally” dropped my food in the back seat before leaving. Sucks for them – I always gave a really nice tip, as gas is expensive.

    When I worked at a restaurant downtown in the 90’s, I was the “cab go to girl” for all the black folks at our restaurant. Hail the cab, get in, have co-worker get in behind you, slide out other door. Many a time the cops were called, as the cabs wouldn’t take them home.

    Sucks to see nothing has changed in DC.. but now I live in Adams Morgan again, so…. I’m one of the lucky few.

    The “close the late metro” is a wonderful scam for the biggest scammers in DC: cab companies.

    • Lucky you in 2011, greentdc.

      Some things actually have changed.

      I remember in the 1970’s when if you wanted a taxi cab ride home to what today we call Adams Morgan, you were dropped off at the Hilton Hotel on Connecticut and Columbia Road and you either took the 42 Bus or walked your way to 18th and Columbia Road. That’s how bad our neighborhood was.

  • They won’t even pick me up, and I’m a rock star!

  • i can remember trying to get a cab from friendship heights to bloomingdale about ten years ago and being refused.

  • boochow

    DC Taxicab Comission 202-645-6018. There are alot of intiresting regulations about cabs and these guys enforce them.

  • I have to wonder why someone who lives near the awesome H St NE bars would come all the way to Columbia Heights for such a terrible bar anyway!

  • Sadly, I feel better knowing its not just me having cab issues! I do have a suggestion that hasn’t been given. Go to a nearby hotel, they always have cabs lined up, they open the door and take you where you request.I have never been turned away by the hotel workers, maybe just waited in line like at Union Station.

  • It happens to me in the past too. But, now i do understand the reasons. Cabs have roberry and manslaughter history in those quadrants of the city. Furthermore, nothing was done by the city to protect them or at least allow them to carry self defense weapons in case an assault happened to em

  • I find it a ridiculous waste of energy coming up with tricks to get a cab driver to take my hard earned money to do his job. As long as DC residents come up with excuses for cab drivers, people will continue to be discriminated against based on where they live and the color of their skin.

Comments are closed.