Taxi Commission Nixes the Prius – Agrees to Uniform Color “red with a gray stripe along both sides”

Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

NBC Washington reports on this odd ruling:

“In a direct blow to app-based cab services like Uber, the D.C. Taxi Commission Monday approved new regulations that disallow some fuel-efficient vehicles, like Toyota Prius, from operating as sedans.”

From the DC Taxicab Commission:

“The DC Taxicab Commission (DCTC) approved today the adoption of final regulations defining sedan vehicles and the rulemaking concerning the uniform color scheme for taxicabs. The specific regulations regarding sedans are contained in Chapters 12 and 14. The uniform color scheme is covered in Chapters 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9.

The characteristics to define sedan vehicles include: an L Tag; prohibition from accepting street hails; no meter; and specific size and color limits. The uniform color adopted is a red with a gray stripe along both sides to include company name, logo and contact information. The transition to the uniform color will initially occur for equipment replacements due to age, mileage or DMV inspection rejection.”

You can read their full report here.

30 Comment

  • Disgraceful.

  • is Ron Linton an appointee? how can we replace him?

  • Correction: The DCTC won’t allow the Prius to be called a “sedan” but they can still be used as a taxicab.

  • These regulations are inane. I’m hardly a free marketer, but this is government interference at its worst. Does the Taxicab Commission have any purpose other than to collect bribes?

  • How do we oust the Taxi Commission?

  • From the NBC article, it sounds like “sedan vehicle” = “limousine,” and that the commission said that the Prius was too much of a “basic economy vehicle” to qualify as a limousine.

    As long as the Prius meets the size requirements, I don’t see why it can’t be used as a limousine. I’m curious what hybrid vehicles *do* qualify as limousines under these rules.

  • This is a freaking joke…. The DC Taxi Cab Commision makes me feel like i’m back in Detroit… run by asinine imbeciles who want nothing for the public but to protect their own interests. Get a grip idiots. Sorry the service you mainly represent blows and god forbid a competitor comes in and forces you to clean up your act!

    • As it turns out, Chairperson Linton is also from Detroit. No wonder he thinks cities and economies work by fiat.

  • This is awful. What a pathetic excuse for government. Throw the bums out!

    Chairperson Ron M. Linton
    Ralph Burns
    Paul Cohn
    Cyril Crocker
    Elliott Ferguson
    Gladys Mack
    Anthony Muhammad
    Betty Smalls
    Stanley W. Tapscott

  • To be implemented in tandem with credit card acceptance machines in Spring of 2037.

  • Clearly…someone got bribed. I expect to hear about an undercover FBI investigation anytime now.

  • I for one would like to thank the DC Taxi Commission for protecting me and other consumers from the scourge of fuel-efficient vehicles as well as non-grey/red-striped taxis. By issuing such regulations the commission is really getting at the heart of the problems which plague the DC taxi industry. I only hope that the DC government will wisely apply this model to other industries where consumers are threatened by a diversity of options and confusing color schemes.

  • one reason (of many) why I ride my bike

    • I don’t take cabs either, but it still bothers me that a Commission that’s infamous for bribery, and toxic to the city, still has enough power to stall development. We might not use cabs as DC residents, but many visitors do, and the system is so bad that it makes our city look like a joke.

      • Not to spring to the defense of the DC cab industry, but you must not spend a lot of time in San Francisco!

        • You’re right, I haven’t. But I’ve taken cabs in other U.S. cities and abroad. Even the cabs I’ve taken in developing countries were a million times better. I did have an old broken-down cab in Athens that reminded me of home, but at least the driver was nice.

  • I am not a supporter of the DC Taxi Commission (and I like Uber and Hailo), but Uber X was basically a blatant work around of the taxi laws. Since they didn’t call themselves taxis, they could do whatever they want and charge whatever they want, but in reality all they were is taxis without meters (cost close to the same, provided no luxury, etc.).

    • this.
      I’m a huge fan of Uber (very early adopter), but once I got the email announcing the service I thought it was quite suspicious. What difference is an Uber X than a random Prius taxi you hail on the street. Only difference really is that you pay more. That being said, cabs and Taxi Cab commission suck in DC and they need to modernize ASAP. Uber’s success in the city is clear proof that people were desperately seeking an alternative…

      • Personally, I’ve had some STRANGE taxi cab experiences in this city….and, as a woman, I prefer to use Uber because it’s 1.easy, 2.well-documented, 3.safer [or at least they do a great job of making you feel that way], and 4.a very professional service (i.e. your driver isn’t on the phone to their relatives in some other time zone and continent while he drives you and blasts religious radio) .

        If they take away Uber Taxi and Uber X, I’m cool. If they make all the “regular” taxis look the same, I’m cool.


        …any takers?

      • If you want to repeal the taxi laws and let everyone do whatever they want, then so be it, but you can’t let certain companies operate in regulated industries without following the same regulations. If Uber wants to put meters in the Uber X Prius’ and still let people pay by credit and hail from the app, then that is one thing, but if they want to operate a taxi service without a meter, then it is unfair to the competition who are stuck charging a certain (regulated) amount, prohibited from picking up in certain places (i.e., DC cabs in VA and vice versa), etc.

        • They could also just start driving for Uber instead.

        • Definitely. If Uber can just disregard taxi regulations, why would anybody drive a regular cab? We’d be left with many operators charging whatever they want and you’d have to search multiple companies to find prices and availability.

          • That sounds pretty great — lots of options and price points. Seems to work for most other forms of transportation.

  • So how long until we have a 25-cent surcharge for new paint?!? And then another one to pay for tires? And the cabbie’s coffee bill? It would be nice for a change if the cab commission showed interest in what cab customers want rather than how the commissioners can line their pockets and enable taxi service to suck in DC.

  • Does this mean DC taxis will now clean the vomit out between passengers?

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