Another Day, Another Taxi Protest


@JasonCollinsDC tweets us:

“Pennsylvania Ave. around 13 and 14th. Honking horns and all. It’s happened weekly for the last 3 weeks. they’re limiting them to one lane now.”

56 Comment

  • Emmaleigh504

    It’s like they want people to hate them.

  • I took an Uber for 3 blocks the other day to counter-protest this. Maybe I’ll do it again today.

  • Cool park though.

    • Unfortunately, no, it’s not. It is cool only from the air. On the ground it is an expanse of paving that is an oven in the summer, without any shade or compelling features to make you come, stay, enjoy yourself. What some people call a “placeless” place.

      • Yeah, that’s true. I just thought it looked cool from above, that’s all. Of course I wouldn’t ever want to spend timw there.

  • I’ve got to say that I side with the taxi drivers on this one. I’m not a user of either cabs or Uber, but I do think that the rules should be consistently applied to all.

    • Including them? Taxi drivers frequently and regularly break the law when it comes to picking customers up. Maybe you’ve never had a bad experience, but I have, and plenty of others have as well, and see Uber as a welcome relief.

      • +15 (one for each shitty taxi interaction I’ve had in the city)

      • If cab drivers obeyed the rules in the first place–like driving me to Arlington, or taking credit cards, or keeping their cabs clean–we wouldn’t need Uber.

        Regardless, it’s too late. I’ve been burned so many times that I won’t take a DC cab anymore. They’ve lost my business forever, no matter what happens with regulations and Uber.

    • +1. The rules should be the same across the board.

      • Yep, and they should be the rules that currently apply to Uber. So protesting Uber doesn’t make much sense.

        • Aren’t they protesting the regulations?

          • That was my impression. They aren’t protesting Uber (or Lyft or any of that ilk); they are protesting the lack of regulation. I think they’d be happy to abide by the same rules that currently apply to Uber (or lack thereof). I’m not a huge fan of the cabs here, and I think they are going about it the wrong way. However, they do have a point.

          • Yes, they want to regulate their competition out of business. Incumbents in any industry typically want to erect regulation that protects them from competition. In the taxi business you see this in many forms, most explicitly by limiting the number of licenses to operate a taxi.

          • There is no limit on the number of licensed taxis in DC.

  • And another reason to continue by 3 years long DC taxi boycott.

  • What are they protesting this time? Instead of being angry at Uber all the time, drivers can choose to join them or find other innovative ways to stay relevant. Holding their collective breaths, turning red in the face and stomping their feet does not change the market demand for additional and better services. If they can’t make a sufficient living under the present circumstances, drivers need to rethink their work options.

  • accendo

    When do we get to limit them to no lanes? Seriously cab drivers, either compete and provide better service, or go the way of the dodo.

    • How can they compete when regulations prohibit fair competition?

      • accendo

        I’m all for rules being applied fairly and equally, but I think DC cabs still have a long way to go when it comes to providing equal service and quality, so I’m unsympathetic.

        • So you’re saying that one set of people should be subject to a burdensome set of rules, and the others should not, simply because the former set of people were bad at complying with the rules?

      • Regulations forbid them from fixing their credit card machines?!

      • Do the regulations require them to drive rattly, uncomfortable old cars, lie about their credit-card machines being broken, harangue passengers who want to use a credit card, refuse to pick up certain passengers, refuse service to passengers headed somewhere they don’t want to go, or spend the whole drive talking on their cellphone over a crappy AM talk radio station?

        Because those are the reasons I tend to choose Uber over taxicabs.

        • Agreed. There are different rules because they are different types of services. DC cabs have fought every opportunity to join the 21st century. remember when we had the zones instead of meters. They fought that for decades. They fought credit card machines etc. They claim they are just independent businesses, well then join Uber . I have no sympathy for an industry that has done everythign possilbe to NOT provide the service they are designed to offer. I would rather wait extra time for Uber than get into a taxi waiting on the curb.

          • Ally

            Agreed. I spent YEARS trying to support DC cabs. Only to have them not show up when I call. At least 75% of the time. Refuse to accept credit cards. And refuse to take me where I want to go (all within the District). I don’t feel the least bit guilty for enjoying a service where people seem to appreciate my money and my time.

        • So are you (and Jay above) saying that you would rather have a completely unregulated industry?

          • Not at all… in principle, I’m all for Uber coming under a more restrictive regulatory regime that would ensure that drivers have the right kind of insurance, protect rider safety, et cetera. What I am saying is that the reason I choose Uber over taxicabs has absolutely nothing to do with the regulations that taxicabs are complaining about; if taxicabs were as comfortable, pleasant, and convenient a riding experience as Uber is, I wouldn’t be steering my business away from them.

  • brookland_rez

    Enough with these protests. I take cabs from time to time and have never had a problem. I’m not a member of Uber or Lyft, but this has me seriously considering ditching taxis for alternative services.

    • You’re one of the lucky few to never have had a problem. For every good taxi ride I have, I have a bad one.

      • brookland_rez

        I guess it’s all about the odds. I only take a cab once or twice a month at most. I’m a white male, so I know that is a factor in not having a bad experience. I’ve read all about bad experiences that women and minorities have.

  • I made the mistake of taking a cab Saturday night instead of uber for the first time in a while. When I got in, he asked if ever take uber, to which I replied sometimes. This resulted in a rant from him the whole way about uber. No sympathies.

    Then I also took one home. But this one wasn’t without him complaining the whole way because he was hoping to go east, while I wanted to go west.

    • Same thing happened to me. I got in a DC cab on H Street NE two weekends ago, and a minute after getting in the driver said he saw an Uber car pick up “an illegal fare.” (How would he know if it’s illegal if the customer used his phone to order an Uber?). Anyways, my taxi driver started blaring his horn and shouting at the Uber driver, using plenty of profanity. For the next several blocks I had to listen to his rant. Last time I’ll take a DC cab.

      • Happened to me at DCA this weekend too, actually, except I was on the receiving end. A whole row of cabs were yelling profanities and honking their horns at me and my Uber driver–it was actually quite scary.

  • They are protesting because they have to pay commercial licensing and insurance fees when UberX drivers do not. I think they have a valid point. Amongst all these posts about them protesting, I don’t recall ever seeing the gov’ts response to them answering the question why UberX’s are allowed to operate as a commerical vehicle without having a valid commercial license.

    • And taxi drivers get to pick up street hails, while Uber drivers do not. Seems like a good compromise.

      • I don’t think you understand who licensing and insurance protects.

        • Oh, so you and your taxi brothers and protesting on behalf of your riders. So altruistic of you.

        • The licensing regime is in place to protect the taxis from competition, which is why they are limited in number.

          • That is patently false. Licensure is a barrier to entry, so it reduces the number of would be entrants, just like requiring a degree for any job does. But this is a side effect; it is not the purpose of the law.

  • I took a cab last friday night because Uber was surge pricing, and I have to say it was an extremely pleasent experience. The cab was in good shape, the driver didn’t protest at all when I used my card, AND he even offered to change the radio station to something different if I wanted. This was probably just a fluke, but perhaps uber really is forcing the cabs to step up their services.

    • I’ve had some really great cab experiences recently too. The cab drivers even knew how to get where I wanted to go without my directions or GPS and could pick me up and drop me off on the right side of the street without complaining about how scary it is to make a left hand turn into a driveway.

  • I understand the basis for the protests – everyone who wants to pick up passengers should be playing by the same rules. But I think these kinds of protests just deflect attention from the fact that the shine is already coming off of Uber, Lyft, and these other “ridesharing” companies. As it turns out, most of the drivers aren’t making a mint; the companies are trying to sabotage each other by setting up fake memberships and canceling calls; there’s a lot more “surge” pricing than there used to be; and, surprise surprise, ridesharing drivers can be just as creepy and sexual assaulty as taxi drivers. It’s certainly not all bad, but it’s not all good either.

    • That has certainly not been my experience. Out of hundreds of uber rides, I have bad/ borderline service about 5% of the time. More like 25-33% of the time with cabs. (complaints about credit cards, not taking credit cards, driving unsafely, dirty cars, talking the whole time on the cell phone, etc.). I suspect the discrepancy has everything to do with the rating system — there are no (immediate) consequences for bad taxi driving.

      • Ally

        Agreed. I’ve taken hundreds of taxi rides and nearing 100 Uber rides now. While neither have been perfect, the stats above align with my experiences for regular rides within DC. It’s even worse for times when I’ve tried to book a cab in advance to take a family member to the airport or the like. Nothing like seeing your mother with cancer, stressed about making her flight, all because the cab you booked two days prior is an hour late and they can’t tell you when they can send someone, if at all. Goodbye, cabs. Hello, Uber.

  • Cabbies who for years made up prices while using the zone system to rip of tourists and locals alike (taking DC cabs outside of DC was always a fight, always.

    How many years were credit card machines delayed? It was at least 2 years from the first legislation that was passed to all of the waivers and extensions being implemented and the machines being installed that the amazingness that is the corrupt DC Cab Commission finally had to cave. Cabs are only required to do very basic things in DC and they kick and scream like children any time that part of the process is updated and I will never have any sympathy for them.

    • So you’re saying uber shouldn’t be regulated because cabs fought to have less restrictive regulations?

    • What’s the difference between a cab driver making up a price that he thinks you’ll pay to go from point a to point b when demand is high, and Uber deciding you’ll pay 3 times its normal rate because you are at a location that Uber has decided deserves higher rates due to supply and demand? When answering this question, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying what SOME cab drivers have done to artificially inflate fares is right. I’m saying what Uber is doing is wrong.

      • The difference is that’s the price on Uber. Surge pricing is no different, at its core, than Metro’s peak fare and (formerly) peak-of-the-peak fare.

        The inflated price in a cab is not the price. If the Taxi Commission decided that, from 12am-3am on Fridays and Saturdays cabs cost more money, that’s their prerogative. A driver unilaterally deciding he should fleece me is not.

  • I will be taking exclusively ubers this week.

    Keep it up, cabbies, keep it up.

  • i thought it was weird they were just taking up one lane, honking their horns, but had no signs or anything about *why* they were protesting. I mean, dude, I’m not going to ask.

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