Dear PoPville – DC taxi luggage issue (And Proposed Taxi Fare Changes)

Photo by PoPville flickr user thisisbossi

Dear PoPville,

I often take a taxi home from National and whenever I leave the airport, the cab driver charges me $2.00 for luggage. This is the case even when I am only carrying a medium-sized duffle bag, which is small enough to bring in the back seat and as carry-on luggage. The sign in the cab says that they will only charge for “large” luggage, and when I looked it up under DC cab regulations, it says that the bag must be 32 x 18 x 9 inches for the cab to charge you extra. I generally really like DC cab drivers, but I am sick of arguing with them every time I cab it home from National. Do you or your readers have the same issue, and any suggestions on how to handle this?

This problem will likely become moot soon. A couple weeks ago the Taxi Commission proposed:

Proposed amendments will: (1) increase the “additional mile” rate from $0.25 per 1/6 mile to $0.27 per 1/8 mile which represents a mileage rate increase from $1.50 per mile to $2.16 per mile [for both intra-city and interstate fares]; (2) increase the waiting time rate from $15 per hour to $25 per hour; (3) eliminate extra fees including luggage fee, large bag fee, trunk fee, unenclosed animals fee, personal service fee, additional passengers fee, and fuel surcharge fee and; (4) change the snow emergency rate into a flat fee.

Of course the “mileage rate [will] increase from $1.50 per mile to $2.16 per mile”.

29 Comment

  • Since National Airport is in VA, do the DC taxi regs apply?

  • Are you sure you’re not being charged the airport pick up fee? I believe that there is one for pickups made at DCA.

    • They always try to charge me for the pick up fee in addition to my carry-on that goes in the truck (and is certainly significantly smaller than 32 x 18 x 9).

  • i HATE DC cabbies.

    • Couldn’t agree more. Cab drivers in DC are so STUPID. They’ll wait to be IN an intersection and then decide to use a turn signal. They NEVER pull over completely to a curb to pick someone up – thus blocking a travel lane. And just yesterday – I swear I’m not making this up – a DC cab was in the parking lot at Costco in Arlington, one care away from the cashier to get out of the lot, and THEN he realizes he didn’t get his parking ticket marked for free parking. So, the idiot leaves his cab where it was and goes back to the store to get his ticket validated.
      Did I mention that DC cab drivers are STUPID?!!

  • Uber Car Service. A bit more expensive but worth it IMO.

    • this Uber service looks *awesome* – thanks for suggesting it! I think I’ll take them to the airport tomorrow and try them out. It looks like they can give you a credit for referring someone – PoPVille, are we allowed to share emails in comments to set that up?

    • Uber should KILL it in this town. I’ve taken cabs in a lot of cities around the world and DC cabbies are hands down the worst (and least safe as far as I can tell).

  • I will be interested to read what people think about the proposed changes. Personally, I think they sound great. As someone that tries to cram as many people into the cab as possible, it is always a bit frustrating to start off the journey dropping $10 just to get in.

    • I think the rule changes suck. This is a transparent payoff to the cabbies, who supported Gray after Fenty dumped the idiotic zone system in favor of meters. Not only can the cabbies charge more, but there will also be a quota on the number of taxi licenses to hold down compeition.

      The real solution is to eliminate the taxi commission entirely and let taxis compete on price and quality. This was done in Indianapolis and fares declined by 10% and the cabbies got their act together — some even started dressing better and wearing ties to attract clientele.

      This absurd set-up where the government sets prices and restricts competitions is something one would expect in Cuba, not Washington DC.

  • Though I am not a fan of more expensive cab rides. What really bothers me is that the meter will no longer count in incremements of $0.05. Which makes it easy to make sure the meter is working properly (whether intentional or not)…

  • DC taxi driver can go to h*ll. If you think they’re adding unfair surcharges, driving unsafely, etc. you sure as heck don’t have to tip them too.

  • Most DC cab drivers are not pleasant to deal with and are often the cause of near-accidents due to their poor road manners. On the few occasions I have ridden in them I usually leave the passenger side back door open after I exit the cab – it’s my tip to them!

  • Mayor Gray has also introduced legilsation to mandate cabs “to accept credit cards, to be equipped with satellite navigation systems and to all be painted the same color.”

  • I’m actually fine with the rate increase due to the fact that they are eliminating the extra fees. The simpler the transaction, the better. One of the worst part about taking DC cabs is noticing that the cabbie has added an extra fee that shouldn’t be there and knowing that you’ll get a nonsensical argument when you bring it to their attention. Taking away the snow emergency rate is interesting. Wonder if that means there will no longer be a rate 3 on the meter. One of the cabbie tricks is to hit the snow emergency rate on the meter on unsuspecting patrons.

    • The cab driver used rate 3 on my last return from National coming back from the airport. I asked him for a printed receipt but he wouldn’t give me one. Slime.

      I will pay more just to feel like I am not getting ripped off left and right every time I take a cab. However, my gut instinct is that the charades will continue even after the fee hike.

  • Does anyone know where to find info on what the rates and fare structure are NOW? I went over the Taxicab Commission web pages for what felt like forever and could find nothing. I would think rate info would be one of the most requested. Is there somewhere else I should look?

    • Great question. I have never seen anything like this. It’s part of the game to be able to rip off as many riders as possible. DC cabs are the worst.

  • I had a very positive cab experience this morning on the way to DCA and just wanted to share so people keep in mind that not all drivers are out to rip passengers off.

    To make a long story short, the cab I requested last night never came this morning, and I was stuck trying my luck at hailing a cab at 4:15am (never easy). A cab driver eventually stopped to see where I was headed. He already had a passenger who was going to DCA and they allowed me to get in. When we got to the airport, the fare on the meter was $17, plus $3 in fees from before I got in (I assume the $1 fuel surcharge and $2 charge for advance reservation). He just asked for $10 from each of us. No attempt to make us both pay full price, no additional $1.50 for me being an extra passenger – just split down the middle. I was so grateful that he had stopped in the first place and enabled me to make my flight on time that his desire to be straight-forward and fair was all the better. I paid the total fare and gave him a large tip, and he was very appreciative. He turned what had been a terrible morning into a bright spot.

    • Sounds like you actually had a normal experience where you’re cab DIDN’T show up. The driver that picked you up was definitely not the norm and you got lucky. As the old saying goes even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  • Not that I want to start a NY vs DC debate (I really couldn’t care less to compare), but why are NY cabs way cheaper than DC?

    • Because they’re basically used as a form of public transportation. I will take a NYC cab over a DC cab any day…for one thing, they don’t ask me for directions.

  • this is why people don’t support things that taxi drivers propose like increased fares. Most of them will screw you over any chance they get.

  • Cab drivers will tell you that this 44% rate increase is necessary to make DC “comparable” with surrounding jurisdictions. What tends to get lost in this discussion is that the level of service in DC is far below other cities. The cabs here tend to be dirty and in poor shape. The drivers yack on the phone, which is dangerous (even if hands free) and annoying, and they tend to be rude (not always, but too often). And just try calling to have a cab pick you up. There is a 10% chance that one will show up, 20% if you’re going to the airport. In other cities, you pay more but get into a clean, newer car with a polite driver. In short, rates should be less here because service is poorer, and if rates are to be raised, the city should demand more of the taxi industry. This is just an example of the taxi industry extracting benefits from the Gray administration without giving anything in return. I used to take taxis home from work frequently. Now, I’m going to CaBi instead.

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