Reporting a bad experience with a DC cab driver


“Dear PoPville,

This morning my girlfriend was driving to work and a cab (Cab #J722) stopped short in front of her to drop his passengers off. I think it was a ABC cab but it could have been Luxury also, I noticed they both use the same red with grey siding coloration. [Ed. Note: Red and Grey is a city wide designation for all companies.] His brake lights were out and she almost rear ended him. When she pulled around him she very calmly and politely informed him that his break lights were out he responded very aggressively with “leave me the f*ck alone you stupid bitch.” The driver was an older overweight african american man with gray hair. She was left very upset and shaken from the experience. Like I said I am not sure about the company but I am sure about the cab #. When I called the companies to file a complaint, neither were interested in hearing anything I had to say so I thought my best course of action was turning to the PoPville community to at the very least inform them about this cab driver and to be weary of him. Hopefully the company takes note of the post and if they don’t reprimand the driver, at the very least they could make him fix his brake lights.”

Ed. Note: You can also file a complaint with the DC Taxi Commission.

62 Comment

  • I almost rear ended the same cab in question on Monday on my way to work. No brake lights and when I passed after nearly doing twenty into his trunk, he gave me the finger. I might file a report as well, I just wasn’t sure I had the number correct since it happened so quickly.

  • I have very rarely experienced a cab driver who didnt completely over react and become aggressive and threatening at the simplest perceived slight.

    I fear complaining will do no good.

    Just use uber whenever you can to help apply economic pressure on the cab industry. Thats the only real thing individuals can do because the system is so broken and the cabs are so awful (but still 20%+ better than before Uber and like 70% better than before the set of taxi reforms over the past few years)

    • Agreed.

    • It still blows my mind that they didn’t have meters until 2010. When I moved to DC in 09, I had just come back from China and EVERY cab had a meter. Even the most disgusting POS Chinese cars from the mid 90s had a meter. It was very much a “WTF” moment for me when I stepped into my first DC cab.

      • You can thank Congress for D.C.’s lack of meters all those years. The old zone system greatly benefitted them because the zones were constructed so that Capital Hill was one large zone. Therefore every fare was a one zone fare. Even though most, if not all, Congressmen (and women) never took a cab.

    • Yeah, but this guy is a threat to non-customers.

    • Yup. I was legally crossing an intersection in the crosswalk with traffic legally stopped waiting for me to cross. A taxi driver decided that he wasn’t going to wait, and sped around the stopped traffic, only having to slam on his breaks when he saw me with my dog in the crosswalk. His response? He shouted out the window, “Get out of the road, you stupid f****t!”

  • FWIW, I’ve reported a cab in the past that cut me off while I was on a bike and made an illegal right turn on red. I filled out the online complaint form through the DC Taxicab commission after I got home, and thought that would be it. 3 months later I got a letter in the mail from the city, thanking me for bringing it to their attention and saying that the issue had been dealt with and the cabbie fined.

    Very surprised! The system does work sometimes!

    • I have reported >10 times for this type of stuff, and have never received a response

      • One time I reported a cab that wouldn’t take me to destination, a few months later I got an email from Taxi Commission saying cab driver had been fined.

  • My not very bold prediction: absolutely nothing will come of this. Complain all you want if it makes you feel better, just don’t expect anything to happen

  • Was she in Thomas Circle around 8:25? Did she honk at him profusely for at least 30-45 seconds before she calmly and politely told him about his tail light? Someone was acting like a real jerk this morning. I get it, you have places to be, but honking for an extended period of time when it’s clear that there is a passenger inside that hasn’t gotten out yet doesn’t help the situation. If I were the driver and that was me, I would’ve had a few words as well. Not to say that this isn’t frustrating for your girlfriend, or that this was her, but to say that if it was then I’m not surprised if she got cursed at.

    • It seems that you’re assuming it was definitely her incident that you witnessed, like it isn’t possible if not probable that this type of thing happens dozens of times every day in this city during rush hour. You really set her straight though, so kudos to that

  • Ha! I’m trying to figure out what’s the OP point. The fact the taxi stopped? the tail lights being out? or because his girlfriend got shaken up by what the cab driver said. What if it was a regular motorist who said it? Where would we complain to? Something’s you just have to let go of and go on with your day.

    • Emmaleigh504

      +1 The cabbie was informed of the broken lights (good deed), just let the cussing roll of your back. Too many other things to be shaken or upset about.

  • Is your girlfriend fresh off the corn train from Iowa? She’s “shaken from the experience” of an older African American male cursing at her? She may not be cracked up to live in Chocolate City bub. That’s kind of what life is like in the big city. Lord knows how she would have ended up if she had moved to New York…those people are KARAZY!

    • agreed. if this was the first time someone yelled at your GF, she should count herself lucky. Having said that, cab needs to fix the lights.

    • Not helpful…

    • wow. offensive to those of from places where corn is king. yes, only big city folks are sophisticated. I keep forgetting.

      • Emmaleigh504

        Not insulting the corn people, Just an figure of speech. He’s saying that high density places have more opportunities for interactions like this. Can’t get shaken by all of them, pick your battles, or the things to be shaken/offended by.

        • Yeah, I’m saying someone needs some thicker skin and recognize that this happens, frequently, when living in a city. “Shaken” seems so over dramatic.

    • Been in this city over ten years and have lived in cities my whole life. I still get shaken by some encounters. This is such an unhelpful and unkind comment.

  • samanda_bynes

    who cares if she’s from Iowa and is shaken up – the point is the guy was a dickhead. Complain away, no one will care – but you guys shouldn’t sh*t all over her for being upset that a guy yelled at her, and if he’s on the job he shouldn’t be acting like that.

    • Agreed. The cab’s brake lights being out is a BIG problem, and the fact that he’s cussing at a complete stranger is also a problem (though less severe).

    • I agree with this. Clearly the OP should have just reported it to the Taxi Commission instead of posting on PoPville, but there is no reason to attack the victim here. Getting yelled at to shut the f up can be very shaking. Having taillights out and swearing at people should be grounds for suspending his license or a fine. Not sure if it is, but it is worth reporting.

  • Sorry to hear about your wife’s experience. At least, she is going to be ok.This guy ought to lose his job- sounds like a miserable (and dangerous) loser.
    Between the ever-failing WMATA and the legendarily BAD cabbies in this city, I’m having a hard time figuring out how I get to Reagan National on Tuesday morning. Do I call Red Top (who will come into DC for a VA-bound trip) or do I try my luck with these ridiculous DC cabbies. Goodness knows, we can’t trust Metro to get us to the airport on time anymore. DC is becoming an increasingly harder place to get around for those of us who don’t have cars and don’t trust/want to patronize the few options we have.

    • Accountering

      Seriously? Uber…

      • The trouble with Uber for the airport is you have no idea what it will cost. I got stuck with a 3x surge last time I needed to get to DCA at 10:00am. It wound up costing me over $100. I think next time I’ll reserve a black car the old fashioned way or schedule a cab.

        • Uber’s still a deal. An uberX ride surging at 2.2x is equivalent to the regular rate on a DC taxi meter.

          If you don’t want to pay surge, either wait it out (because it’s always fleeting) or let uber do the waiting for you by pressing ‘Notify Me If Surge Ends’ at the bottom of the surge confirmation screen:

      • If you don’t like Uber, use Red Top. There’s no charge to schedule a pick up, they are always very prompt and polite, and their cabs are clean and well-maintained.

      • Try Lyft too. They don’t surge as often and when they do, it’s never as high as Uber.

        • Agree, but keep in mind that Lyft doesn’t include tip in the fare like Uber does, so I find that Lyft is usually a little more expensive than Uber when no surge pricing is in effect.

    • I take metro to get to DCA with relative ease on a fairly regular basis.

      Is this something people seriously worry about?

      • Sure, but maybe they’re travelling heavy for one reason or the other. Maneuvering a couple of large roller bags around the system isn’t that fun. Definitely Uber.

      • That’s great, Katie, but if you’ve been following the news for, I don’t know, the past six years, Metro is no longer a reliable source of transportation (and timeliness is important when you’re trying to make a plane). Man, just look at today’s incident- case in point!

        • Wow, thanks for the life tip-good to know I need to start following the news and be on time for flights! And yes, well aware of the delays (red line in particular which I never take for that very reason). But to claim you ‘can’t ever take metro to catch a flight because it’s too unreliable is a bit hyperbolic.

        • The only time I have ever had a problem with Metro to the airport is on the weekends, especially mornings, where headways are insane and one problem can lead to an hour delay. Never had a problem during the week. I also second the comments about just call a cab (Diamond is often good) and they will be there. Or Uber. Getting to DCA really isn’t hard, even with all the transportation issues we have.

      • Emmaleigh504

        I’ve never had a problem taking metro to National either. I just make sure I have a small bag and give myself extra time. Hell, I take that route to work every day and I’m rarely late. The yellow line is the most reliable line.

    • This guy should lose his job because he cursed at someone in another car? Seriously?
      Maybe every driver that’s flipped off or cursed at another driver should have his or her license suspended.

      • The guy should fix his brake lights.

      • Ideally, yes- we don’t need an angry dude, who is responsible for driving people around the city and is reckless at it, to boot. But more importantly, we don’t need an angry dude, who is told that he has a dangerous car- no brake lights- and his chosen response is profanity, not “Thanks for letting me know- I need to fix that ” (as he goes to fix it!). Too idealistic?

    • I’ve used DC cabs to go to Reagan numerous times. I called the night before, and they were at my house on time the next morning. I’ve never had a problem.
      It’s funny how anecdotal bad experiences with DC cabs are taken as proof that all DC cabbies are bad, but anecdotal bad experiences with Uber are viewed as isolated incidents.

      • I take cabs regularly and have zero complaints. On the other hand, I’ve had lots of interesting conversations and occasional free rides.

      • I had to take a cab to DCA for an early pre-metro flight. The guy took me 2 miles out of the way on a convoluted route through RC parkway to bump up the fare. I even questioned him at the time – why not go straight down 14th St. since it is 5 a.m. He said “six of one, half dozen . . . ” No – it was an extra $5-6 bucks.

  • It really sucks when you try to do the right thing and it backfires in the worst way. I have filed a complaint with DC Taxi Commission in the past and it was taken very seriously. I recommend it.

  • DC Cabs can be the worst. What’s really clear and valid is that someone who makes a living driving their car has a critical part of it not functioning (the brake lights) and was not polite in expressing that they don’t care. This is clearly a safety hazard to drive without functioning brake lights.

    Kudos to your girlfriend for avoiding an accident. I would have been upset by the near miss as well.

    Just to share – I saw another cab driver recently heading the wrong way on a one-way road (I ST SE) and appeared pissed that people were honking at them.

  • I wouldn’t hold out much hope that the cabbie will be disciplined. As a side note, my BS antenna goes up every time I read something like, “When she pulled around him she very calmly and politely informed him that his break lights were out . . . ” In my experience, people in this situation are rarely as calm and polite as they think they are.

    • justinbc

      Pardon me sir, I thought you might want to remedy your failing tail light so that you may provide a better customer experience for all involved. Cheerio good friend!

  • Let’s see, you don’t know who the driver was or which company he works for. You called 2 companies to report that someone that might work for them did something wrong. The companies weren’t interested in punishing the unknown driver. And then you thought the best course of action was to report to PoPville that there is an unknown driver for an unknown cab company out there acting badly. Thanks. Problem solved.

  • I encourage you to file a complaint but don’t hold your breath: I recently (June 2015) received notice from DCTC that the cab driver whom I reported eighteen months earlier (in December 2013) for verbally abusing me and my short-legged dog (for crossing the street too slowly) had been “reprimanded for his behavior.”

  • I think you might get a better response from the cab companies if you called to report a broken taillight, rather than to file a complaint. The DCTC handles complaints, but if you don’t know any more basic information (such as the plate number or the driver’s name), my guess is the complaint will get lost in the shuffle.
    As for getting a thicker skin and not getting “shaken” over randos yelling at you … well, that kinda goes unsaid.

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