Dear PoPville – Anyone Else Get Scammed by Taxis at Union Station?

“Dear PoPville,

I rode in a Unity Cab last night via a forced shared taxi setup at Union Station. It seemed like a good idea when the dispatcher started grouping riders by location, especially as the line of people waiting for a taxi grew: group shared taxi = lower costs all around, right? Unfortunately, my taxi driver broke the law when he did not reset his meter after each dropoff. Worse, when I questioned him about the fare, he lied to me, insisting that Union Station fares are an ‘exception’ to the law. Even though I asked, I still paid almost the full fare but instantly regretted this (at 1 am, who really wants to get in an argument with a taxi driver, even if they are in the right?).

Looking online, this seems to be a pretty entrenched operation at Union Station not limited to Unity Taxi – other taxis do it too, and have been for a while. What’s annoying is that they probably get away with it most of the time, especially late at night and with out of towners.

As soon as I got home, I confirmed what I already suspected: If you’re forced to share a taxi, or even if you share one with a friend, the cabbie is required by law to reset the meter each time a passenger gets out. No exceptions or exemptions. And, you can decline to share a taxi with other passengers.

I wrote to Mary Cheh (on the transportation committee) who forwarded my note to Ron Linton, the Taxi Commissioner. No matter what happens at the city council level though, I want to do what I can to raise awareness of this lousy practice. I admit that I cringe almost every time I get in a DC taxi, expecting the driver will come up with some extra fee for something totally arbitrary – it’s extremely rare that I ever encounter an honest cabbie in this city.

In the meantime, I’m curious if anyone else has experienced this, or another form of taxi scam in DC?”

102 Comment

  • Taxis are astoundingly bad in this city. In NYC, a medallion costs $500k, and yet the rates are comparable, the taxis are cleaner, have tvs, and take credit cards. Here, DC taxis companies can’t even show up to take a fare when called (that’s why Red Top does so well). So, yeah, none of this shocks me.

    • Yet medallions are a colossally bad policy idea. But I guess medallions are just better in NYC, right?

      • I don’t think Mr. Normal was advocating medallions.

        I think he was pointing out that the fixed costs of running a cab are much higher in NYC yet for roughly the same fare structure they are much better equipped/regulated/clean.

        I’ve been generally fine with my DC cab experiences, but they are a pretty sorry lot of cars.

  • Let’s Occupy All Taxi cabs.

  • I used to get in arguments with cabbies about this all the time. Most cabbies will always try and rip you off and then play dumb when you hit them with the actual rules.

    I got so tired of getting scammed on group rides and waiting in the horrendous 30-minute line at Union Station. Now I only book with Taxi Magic and schedule an Arlington Red Top Cab to pick me up at 1st and G NW. Sure I’m paying more for the solo ride but at least I’m not getting scammed.

  • I swear to you, this is some third world country BS. When taxi drivers break the law at such a frequency when it’s something people need to be wary of, they don’t take credit cards, they can sometimes assault their riders…seriously.

    • Truly, the USA is now second world (see infrastructure, health indicators, education), and DC often resembles the third world (corruption, education).

      • Really? What about our infrastructure, health indicators, and education put us in “second world” (developing?). Sounds like bullshit to me.

      • Sooo… where is the mystical “first world” located, in your opinion? Britain? Scandinavia? Atlantis?

      • You might want to learn what 1st, 2nd, and 3rd world means.

        Originally, the 1st world by definition was the United States and its allies against Communism.

        The 2nd world was Communist countries

        The 3rd world was non-aligned countries.

        Since the fall of Communism, the 3 world model has evolved to show how highly industrialized countries are. As the United States has not reverted to corrugated tin shacks and open latrines quite yet, I think it is safe to say we are still firmly in the first world.

  • whenever these threads come up, i am reminded how thankful and lucky i am that i never need a taxi.

    i hope i never have to take one in this town ever.

    • You don’t have to. There are ALWAYS better options– they’re just not as convenient sometimes.

      • Well for those of us that don’t live near a Metro Station, sometimes taxis are the safest options.

        • Lame excuse. I used to live out in Annandale and still boycotted cabs. I’ve been sexually assaulted by cab drivers but never anywhere else. They are definitely not safe.

          • Well in your case, I’d understand not taking cabs. But with the sometimes unpredictable and unreliable schedule for buses, it’s not always safe to sit outside and wait for one.

          • meg,
            there is an app for smart phones that tells you when the next bus is coming. it’s pretty accurate.

          • Well as a regular bus rider and a user of Next Bus, I can tell you that that is not always applicable.

          • Okay, even if she used the App and saw a bus wasn’t coming for an hour, where is she supposed to wait? There isn’t always a safe place within a reasonable distance.

            Also, NextBus is frequently wrong. I wouldn’t trust it enough to leave the bus stop to find a safe place to wait – only to miss my bus due to a NextBus error and have to wait another hour for the next one.

          • Hold the phone! Nextbus is accurate? In the sense that Nextbus tells you whether your route is still active and whether there is a bus somewhere upstream that will someday make it to you, yes its accurate. in the sense that it will arrive plus/minus 2 minutes, or if a bus will come before the “next bus”, no its not accurate at all. Schizophrenic meteorologists are more accurate.

          • i use dc tracker. yes, it’s pretty reliable. where are you all waiting that it’s just too dangerous to wait? where are you coming from that you are unable to wait till the next bus comes or plan ahead to leave when it does come?

        • i guess. i’m sorry you find yourself in that situation.

    • you never go out and get a little tipsy?

  • I have a sort of related question regarding the $1 surcharge for the high gas prices that was was imposed earlier this year. Since the prices have gone down a bit, shouldn’t that extra $1 be removed? Thanks!

    • core787

      Fuel Surcharge Extension through November 17, 2011

      “The fuel surcharge of one dollar ($1.00) per trip has been extended beginning 12:01 am (EST) on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 through 11:59 pm (EST) on Thursday, November 17, 2011 (unless earlier terminated by the commission), by order of the DC Taxicab Commission, Dena C. Reed, Esq., Interim Chairperson.”

  • I have been the victim of the biggest taxi scam ever. It’s called getting in a taxi.

  • I don’t know if I’m lucky or naive, but I’ve had mostly very good experiences in cabs. I’ve even had a few drivers wait on the street until I got in my door, just like your friend’s dad used to do when he dropped you off after band practice!

    Sure, some are smelly, or the driver has terrible taste in music. On occasion, I will get one who talks on his cell while driving, and in those cases, I don’t tip and I say why. I’ve only ever caught three or four doing something obviously scammy. That’s less than one a year for me. Unless they’re being super subtle about it. What should I be looking out for?

    • You’ve been lucky.

      • I also had cabs where they wait for me to get into the front door, especially if they drop me off at night. It’s super sweet!

        • agreed. I take cabs all the time and i’ve had pretty decent experiences. I try take control of the experience, I tend to direct cabs to the best route (or what has been best in the past) and i politely question them when they try to do something dodgy. It happens and it sucks and it is especially concerning to hear about situations where one’s personal safety has been at risk, but one can be a victim of crime anywhere and as adults it is on us to be aware of our surroundings and consider the risks of the choices we make. I feel like I’m at a greater risk walking home by myself at night after a few drinks than I would be in a taxi. Even if he takes the long way or tries to scam a few dollars off me. But that’s just me.

  • Whenever I’m traveling with luggage, the cabbies throw and extra $2.50 surcharge on my bill because of “trunk space.” P sure this not-so-legal, too. Alas, cabbies drive me nuts.

    • Here are the luggage fare regulations:

      Each bag in excess of one handled by the driver: $0.50

      Each trunk (any article in excess of 3 cubic feet or 32 x 18 x 9 inches ): $2.00

  • Best thing to do is keep a copy of the rules at all time. That way when they try to feed you a line of BS, you can call them on it.

    If the scam persists, you obviously have to weigh the opportunity cost of fighting it out with them (which entails what? Calling the police, who based on what’s been posted here, tend to side with the cabbies) and just paying it and reporting it later. Probably a good idea to note the info of the cab/driver and report it. yes, it will do no good but you never know.

    I have a friend who lives in NYC and I guess there they have a rule allowing up to 3 separate stops. Cabbies don’t always like this and so she carries a printout of the law around with her. It usually shuts them up.

    • I don’t take cabs anymore, but when I used to (after some bad experiences) I would write down the driver’s information as soon as I got in the cab, and I would make sure he saw me doing it. That makes it les likely for him to do something to me. I would also set up my cell phone to record our interraction so I’d have evidence if I needed it later.

      • I posted above that I generally have good luck with cabs, but I always look for the driver info (to try to guess where he’s from, mostly) and it’s only visible about 20% of the time.
        Did you ask the driver for the info in those cases? Or just write down the company and car #?

      • Anonymous – do you also videotape yourself putting envelopes in the mail to prove that you did it just in case your mail gets lost en route? Audio record people when they commit to something? Just curious and kinda trying to say…

        While this routine of extreme taxi cab diligence is impressive… isn’t it a bit… much for everyday life?

        I kinda think I should be able to hail a cab while on the phone, get in, say where I’m going, and get there safely. FWIW, I do watch the initial meter charge and usually have a route picked out that they generally follow.. but, I’d like to have a system where customers didn’t have to act like they’d just stepped into a 3rd world cab. This is the capital of our great nation last time I checked… ?

  • I don’t tip taxi drivers anymore. Not a cent. The minute you sit in a car you’re already on the hook for about 5 bucks.

  • If you get money to split the fare from the other people who get out before you, then it could actually be in your best interest for him not to reset the meter because you won’t get charged another $3 for that first sixth of a mile. Just a thought.

    Regarding Pixelww’s question: That’s why the $1 surcharge is a joke; it isn’t at all responsive to dropping gas prices. The commission extended it through November I believe, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they extend it again when it’s set to expire.

    • Yes, this would be advantageous. But, as I’ve seen it. They charge the first person getting out the cab fare as read on the meter, then continue to the second destination without resetting the meter. This forces the second person to pay for the first part of the trip as well and the cab is getting paid twice for the first part of the trip. That’s where the scam comes in. I’ve had it happen frequently as a friend and I live only a few blocks apart, but she won’t walk home alone at night.

  • I know it depends on the time of the day and it might not have helped in this case but take down the person’s name, number and as much info as you can and call the cab commission right then and there. Many cabbies are scared of the fine that they will get and change their tune once you start dialing. I think the number is still 202-645-6018.

    I have had to use it a number of times when picked up in a cab and told them I was going to Benning Rd. and then they tried to say they don’t go there (pre H St. redevelopment). Once you are in, they have to take you.

  • A couple of times lately, I have been in a cab with a tampered meter. Most recently, the meter read $15 dollars to go from adams morgan to 14th and U. I’ve notice that when this happens the meter goes up in weird increments.

    • Rather than tampering, is it possible that the driver used the time-honored trick of having the meter set at fare code 3? Next to the “Extras” display there’s a single-digit display that will show a 1 (in-DC fares), 2 (interstate fares), or 3 (snow emergency). The snow emergency code automatically adds 25% to the base DC fare and I’ve noticed more and more cabs having the meter set at 3 when I get in.

      Usually I wait a block or 2 before saying anything. That way they have to reset the meter and lose $2-3 in the process.

      • No, that is the other trick that I watch for. But good point for other people to watch out for. These situations have been just straight up bogus or tampered meters. Each time the meter has been going up in weird increments that aren’t multiples of 5.

      • Why in this day and age could the meter not just say what the code means? Would it be so hard to have it read Fare 1 (DC), Fare 2 (interstate), Fare 3 (snow)?

      • scamming the scammers!

    • I had a tampered meter on a cab I got from Dupont to H St NE. I noticed the weird amount increases, and asked the cabby about it as we got to 16th Street. He said somethign like “no that is the correct rate”. I told him to pull over, and I got a different cab.

      I miss the zones for the simple reason I did not have to watch the meter and what way the cabbie was driving. I knew where the zones were, and I knew what I was going to pay.

      Meters were supposed to improve cabs, imho, they have gotten worse in the last 10 years.

  • Does anyone else resent having to get an an SUV/minivan cab when it’s just you travelling alone just because they’re the next cab in line in a situation like this? I used to live in Old Town Alexandria, and would take a cab home from the metro if it was dark. The minivan cabs were always the smelliest, and they always charged a few dollars more. Sorry, but I’m small, I don’t have any luggage, and I don’t need your giant smelly van. I tried a few times to get in the next cab, but they would always honk and yell at me. Every time it happened, I was so uncomfortable riding home with the angry driver, and did I mention the smelliness?

    • Yeah, I made a big stink about this at Dulles and they thought I was Crazy. “Same price! Same price!” But I held firm and they relented.

  • I once took a train back from Baltimore that ended up getting in shortly after the Metro closed for the evening. The few cabbies who were in line flat-out refused to pick up any fares that weren’t going to Maryland or Virginia. Highly recommend walking to Mass Ave and North Capitol, or even to the Phoenix Park Hotel and asking the doorman to get you a cab, to avoid this BS.

  • Yes! I actually just mentioned this in the other post discussing fare disputes this morning.

    About a month ago, I got into Union Station after Metro had closed, got into a cab, and ended up waiting about 10 minutes for the driver to find other riders to share the cab. A little annoying, but not a major problem.

    The driver came back into the cab, said I would be first to get dropped off, and quoted me a fare that was MUCH higher than I’ve ever paid to get to my apartment, including during rush hour. And this was at 1:30 am, when there was to be negligible traffic. I told him there was no way the ride should cost that much and that if he turned on the meter and it came to that, I’d pay it, but otherwise I was only paying what was on the meter. He refused to turn on the meter and gave me the same line he gave you. I told him I knew that was bullshit, but he wouldn’t budge. So I refused to go along with it, got out of the cab, waited for a new one, had an extremely pleasant ride, and actually ended up tipping the new driver close to what the scam fare would have been just because it was refreshing to not deal with being ripped off.

    Generally, I have had many more good or neutral experiences in cabs than bad, but the bad ones tend to be really frustrating and reinforce the point that the cab system could be handled so much better here.

    • Yea, it can be hard to get them to go on the meter at Union Station. I finally found one once, but then he jacked up the fare by $10 for non-existent bags that he didn’t handle or put in his trunk. But, karma is a bitch because as he was speeding down the street close to my house he bottomed out his car in a massive pot hole, cracked the frame of his car and lost his bumper. I threw the fare at him as he stared in disbelief at his broken car and walked the rest of the way. Hilarious.

  • I once tried to hail a cab in Dupont to Capitol Hill with a suitcase. A cabbie tried to pick me up since he probably thought I was going to National or Dulles and once he found out I was only going to the Hill he told me he would only take me for $30. Once I told him I would only pay the actual fare on the meter he sped away.

  • Slightly off topic, but what is the general rule about how much to tip for cab rides? Is there one?

    • The rule on what to tip is not to tip. The cab drivers in this city have fought for surcharge after surcharge, and they always get them. As long as there is a “gasoline surcharge”, I don’t tip a dime, and I tell them why if they ask. There is no way, even in your crappy twenty year old Towncar, that you used a third of a gallon of gas to drive me a mile and a half. However, I just paid you for a third of a gallon of gas. Therefore, you can keep the difference between what I paid and what you used and call that your tip. On the rare occasion that I have *exceptional* service, I’ll throw in an extra dollar.

    • $1.50 to $2 feels right and always seems appreciated. That works out to 15-20% on a range of $7 to $13 fares. Easy to calculate, too: I usually just round up and then add one more dollar.

      • I, too, typically round up and add a dollar on a $7-13 base fare. Unlike all of you guys, I’ve actually very rarely had a problem with DC cabs…

  • My babysitter is new to the city and had never been in a cab; the cab driver convinced her that because she was with a friend, the fare was double. I feel bad for her because she is the sweetest woman but clearly didn’t know better, and the cabbie took advantage.

  • Yes! This happened to me as well. It was around midnight, there was a huge line, and it was raining. I jumped into a cab with three other folks all going around the Logan Circle Area. As the cab driver was pulling away, he told us that we’d all be paying the total fair on top of each other without restarting the meter, and if we had a problem with that, we could talk to the guy putting people into cabs. So we all went along with it, just wanting to get home, and getting increasingly annoyed when each person wanted to be dropped off right in front of their door instead of a block away, where the cab would at least be pointed in the right direction. I got dropped off third and he tried to tell me he didn’t have change for my twenty. I told him he could take my ten since everyone else had already paid the full fare, or he could make change and give me a receipt for a reimbursement. He made change.

  • I’ve never had a bad cab experience (other than the aforementioned smelly cab ride type) in the 20+ years I’ve lived here. I’m really sorry to hear about all the bad things people have had to deal with.

    I did have a weird sort of “non” cab ride experience recently though, when I could not get a single cab to give me a ride after a Nats game. Does anyone know if there is some rule in place related to cabs picking up fares–or fares in certain places–after games? I actually had to walk all the way to Mass Ave. to get a cab (and there were plenty of vacant cabs that passed me by).

  • Just wanted to respond to OP’s description of it being a “forced shared taxi setup at Union Station” – You always have the option to refuse to cab share. The drivers might grumble about it, but you have to agree to share the taxi – they cannot “force” you.

    • Yes, they can – check the list of cabbie/passenger rights next time you’re in the cab. YOU have the right not to ride in the cab, and that’s about it.

      • Forced ride sharing went out the window with the zone system. The only exception as far as I know is at Union Station when the dispatcher has determined that there’s a shortage of cabs.

      • Shared riding, as defined in §899 is only permitted at Union Station at such times as are determined to be necessary to achieve adequate service by a starter employed or authorized by Union Station …..
        (d) Passengers have the right to refuse shared riding.

        Doesn’t the right to refuse shared riding mean no forced cab share?

  • i do pretty much what Kevin does, i use my tip as a way to get back the money they steal from me.

    more or less every time i take a cab from the train station home i have a small suitcase with me, one that you are allowed to take into a plane because it is that small i won’t put it into the trunk but instead put it next to me. the rule says large luggage with no clear explanation what large is … since there isn’t i use the airlines definition. but nearly everytime i am charged the large luggage fee.
    what i have started to do is to ask what the extra fee is for, i then tell them that i don’t have large luggage where they usually say that all luggage is large (which is a joke). then i give them an option to either keep the extra luggage fee and don’t get a tip or they take it off and i add a $5 tip (i only take that route for business trips to i can expense it anyway). funny thing is so far out of five cab drivers not a single one has given in. they just keep the luggage fee. once because the cab driver didn’t have enough change i made him get one, and he still didn’t want to accept the bigger tip.

  • We got screwed during the Red Line crash. We made it as far as Union Station hoping to take the MARC. Ended up with one cabbie refusing to drive us to DTSS. The second forced us to take two other passengers, one in Brookland, one in Takoma and conned us all out of $20 each.

    I hate DC cabs and cabbies.

  • I have had some fantastic cab drivers in DC – but they are the exception not the rule.
    The city needs to start over completely and put in complete reforms starting with:
    1) A medallion system like almost all other cities.
    2) Vehicle age limits and fuel efficiency standards.
    3) Install credit card machines.

    DC Government should audit the taxi system and see how much tax revenue the city is losing because of the current corrupt system – and then just maybe they’ll crack down and reform this banana republic cab commission.

    • Jim Graham and Mayor Gray will ensure that never happens. The kickbacks .. I mean gifts! … are too good to pass up.

  • It would be helpful if the dispatcher, each time he puts a group in a cab would lean in and say “Remember folks, the meter starts again after each dropoff.”

  • Here’s a handy trick – the next time you find a GOOD cab, ask the driver if you can get their cellphone number and call them directly the next time you need a ride. If you get three or four numbers over time, you can shoot out a text and see if any of them are nearby when you need a ride. Works pretty well.

  • I actually had a really good experience with the DC Cab Commission. I got into a busted Aspen Cab in Cleveland Park on the way to DCA. I watched the fare go up in odd numbers and knew it was tinkered with. I called him on it and he denied it. I asked him to lower his visor so I could take down his information. When we got to the airport, the fare was way higher than it always is when I take this route. I gave him what I usually pay, sans tip, and told him I planned on reporting him. He obviously didn’t argue. I submitted a complaint to the commission and received a call back confirming my story. The man I spoke with ended the conversation with, “It sounds like he broke the law and we will get him.” I don’t know what came of it, but at least I felt better.

    • I have had a positive experience with the Cab Commission as well. They actually refunded my money when a cabbie overcharged me for a trip and dinged the cabbie. I highly encourage you all to call these scam artists on their BS when it happens to you. Write down the license plate and cab company and report them. All it takes is an email to the DC taxicab commission and they will investigate. I know it seems like its not worth your time for 10 or 15 dollars, but think of it as a form of public service. If more people reported the scams, the cabbies wouldn’t so brazenly do it.

  • I have had good experience with the taxi radar app. Typically you get a more well adjusted cab driver, who is a bit younger, less disgruntled, and generally, it seems, not as entrenched with the local organized crime syndicate.

    I havent used taxi radar in a long time, so I dont know if it caught on. I’ve generally just stopped taking cabs because they are, by and large, all corrupt and operate with impunity due to the cab company’s various conspiracies.

    A lot of people make DC out to be gotham-esque, I dont believe it… except when it comes to our cab companies. Citizens desperately need a vigilante batman to confront the entrenched and systemic corruption.

    • Amen. It’s not worth my increased blood pressure when I point out that they are breaking the law (charging wrong rate or refusing to take me once I’m in the car or any of the aforementioned scams) and yet they brazenly argue with you when they know they are wrong. I simply try to bike/metro/or bus whenever possible. Man, just the other night, the metro was delayed, so I took a cab home to east Cap Hill and he pulled the “I don’t have small enough bills” once we got to the destination where there were no ATMs. This, after I had asked him ahead of time, if he had change for a 50 because that’s all I had. For every two friendly professional cabbies, I seem to get 8 surly scam artists.

  • Instead of waiting in that horrible line, just walk to the other lane where the drop-offs happen. A driver there will happily bend the rules and take your fare. Otherwise they would have to pull around and wait in line too. It can be a win win.

    Of course this only works during busy hours.


    What are the rules for Shared or Group Riding?

    Title 31 DCMR §801.10 provides that shared riding is only allowed from Union Station at the discretion of a “starter”. Rates for shared riding shall be calculated in accordance with §801.7.

    Title 31 DCMR §801.7 provides that “In cases where more than one passenger enters a taxicab at the same time on a pre-arranged basis (group riding) bound for different destinations, in addition to the applicable charges set out in this section, the fare shall be charged as follows: Whenever a passenger gets out, the fare shall be paid, the meter shall be reset, and the last passenger shall pay the remaining fee;

    Title 31 DCMR §808 provides that Group riding is permitted at all times. No driver shall refuse to engage in group riding at any time. Shared riding, as defined in §899 is only permitted at Union Station at such times as are determined to be necessary to achieve adequate service by a starter employed or authorized by Union Station. (a) The starter shall have the sole authority to determine when a taxicab shall depart after taking on passengers, except that after an initial passenger has been taken on, the starter shall not unreasonably delay the departure of the taxicab for the purpose of securing additional passengers; (b) The general direction of the destination of the first passenger shall determine the general direction of that particular trip. Other passengers whose destinations lie generally in that direction may be transported to the extent of the designed capacity of the taxicab; and (c) Passengers shall be discharged in the order of the arrival at their respective destinations. In the event any questions arise as to the order of arrival at any destination, the question shall be resolved in favor of the passenger who entered the taxicab first. (d) Passengers have the right to refuse shared riding.

  • I’ve had really bad service from Union Station as a general rule. I think they should hand out fare sheets like they do at National.

    I’ve also had miraculously good service from Union Station(A cabbie, during one of those really horrible stuck-at-home-for-5-days storms agreed to take a woman waiting for over 30 minutes up to Silver Spring and drop me off on Georgia on the way, and insisted on only asking for half the meter fare because it took him so long to get up North Cap with all the unplowed snow. He got a massive tip when he dropped me off).

    The one cabbies all over the city usually try to scam me with is the extra baggage charge for handling baggage, even when they don’t touch it and I put it in the trunk myself. I even had one guy tell me he (totally uncessarily) got out to close the trunk so he should get the extra cash. Crazy.

    • I once had a driver try to hit me with baggage handling fees at the airport when all I had was a backpack that I carried into the backseat with me (the trunk was never even used). He insisted that he was allowed to charge it. I got out, told the dispatcher the driver was trying to rip me off, and got into the next cab.

  • that happened to me as well and it was so frustrating!! Thanks so much for looking into this.

  • I was just thinking the other day about how piss-poor taxi service is in DC. And how it’s likely not to change despite the fact that most cab drivers live outside the district. They pay too much in campaign contributions.

    I wonder if DC residents could form a counter-lobbying group, like DC Cab Consumers or some such?

    And does anyone else miss Leon Swain? You could call him directly and he’d chew out the cab driver right then and there. Of course, Gray had to get rid of him.

    How many people also live in neighborhoods where it’s next to impossible to get a cab to come when called? I live on the route the drivers must take to get from the Yellow cab depot to Union Station. But it often takes 45 minutes to get one to come.

  • This exact same thing happened to me! except i was at the greyhound station with a friend. we were forced to share with a couple also going to “adams morgan” (they lived in upper columbia heights) and then had to pay the full fare. we tried arguing because I knew this was against the rules but the cab driver got really nasty with us so we paid. Soo frustrating to get ripped off in your own city.

  • Just a heads up. the BWI Airport Authority now has only 1 cab company operating from the airport and it’s about $90-$95 to get to DC. That was a rude shock and led to me up in the drivers face screaming that he was a fucking thief. Good times 🙂

    • Take the shuttle bus to the Amtrak station. There are often cabbies waiting there who are not part of the company who has a monopoly and are usually willing to work out a flat rate. I got a ride back to DC for $40 when I just barely missed the last MARC and had an hour until the next Amtrak.

  • Here’s a tip: Walk 1 block behind Union Station, skip the ridiculous line and taxi drivers taking you through a downtown tour of the most congested streets of DC and an extra 10$ of your money. Grab a cab on F St. or so, save 20 minutes, then suggest they take Florida or NY Ave into NW. Cab rides to or from Union cost me ~8$ plus a nice tip heading to 15th and Florida, NW.

  • I nearly walked all the way home to Dupont from Union Station tonight 2amish after a couple of altercations. First, I got in a cab, and he wanted to charge rates of $10-15/person for 4 people. I showed him the DC website and was like this says more like $6-8, and he kicked me out. I begin writing down the company and cab # of all cabs still around. Another cabbie come up, offers to take me asks what the problem is, and I say he refused to be legal and wants $10. He’s like, so ‘will you do it for 8?’, and I’m like “I will pay what the meter says it costs + tip, will you use the meter?” and he’s like find another cab. By now, everyone’s gone and there is a bunch of them standing around, and I’m like ‘anybody willing to use a meter? ANYONE?’ …-no way! So, I set myself to walk to Dupont Circle. Luckily a cab willing to use a meter found me a few blocks West, and I tipped him generously.

    I’m really pissed by the whole situation? I mean, I wasn’t even asking that they reset the meter, etc… I just wanted a meter value and they decided as a group to refuse passage.

    I’m half tempted to start showing up a few late nights w/ a zip car and give ‘free rides’ just to F them out of the money, or like hand out pamphlets w/ the rules to people coming in on like Bolt buses… to fix it for a group, or revenge… I’m so pissed…No metro running, and all I’m asking for is that they follow even ‘some’ of the law… but they’d rather see me walk home alone at 2am than follow the law even when everyone else is gone…ma ybe I should have walked all the way home and not even given the more honest cabbie money…

    • the exaggeration that you nearly walked to dupont is a bit much. you walked two blocks. your story is more upsetting when you focused on what actually happened. i’d be pissed as hell too.

      call your council person and complain. and send a letter.

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