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Taxi Refuses Ride, MPD Response

Many of us have experienced similar situations. Having said that, this video of one patron’s experience is very tough to watch.

From the Shaw Neighborhood listserv:

Dear Mr Ron M. Linton,

First of all, I would like to thank you — and Councilmembers Mary Cheh and Tommy Wells — for your leadership and hard work to reform and upgrade the District of Columbia’s taxi services. For this evening’s incident, I must again thank the responding Third District MPD officers for their fast response, professionalism, patience and acting effectively and expeditiously to support the rights of a DC taxi patron. I also realize that DC taxi driver’s have a challenging, risk filled and sometimes dangerous job of serving the general public and, for the most part, in my experience they have done an admirable job in their efforts to serve all patrons fairly.

I file this complaint, not because I am insensitive the the concerns of the driver, but because the driver failed to follow basic regulations for customer service. I was not inebriated and I maintained a civil and compassionate tone throughout this encounter. But as responding MPD officers indicated (as you can see in the accompanying video http://youtu.be/WWhGH9-2Vk8 ), the DC taxi driver 1) did not have his license information properly displayed, 2) he refused to make it available when I requested it, and 3) at least initially refused to take me to a legitimate DC address (as indicated on a business card which I handed to him for clarification).

The reforms that you and our forward-thinking DC Councilmembers have initiated should help to prevent problems like this. When drivers can be assured of payment up front, they will have less fear of wasting time and losing income. GPS devices will help them find legitimate DC addresses. Vehicle based driver and passenger emergency system call buttons will help drivers and patrons avoid dangerous and uncomfortable situations and confrontations. Taxi drivers should not need to be afraid to serve any patron in any corner or quadrant of the Nation’s Capital. A detailed service tracking system log will help resolve incidents and well as help create a data base of statistical information that will constantly help to improve the service; such a service will serve patrons and drivers best if it has an iphone app/mobile phone/pda/tablet compatibility. I honestly believe that better training and support for the drivers by your Commission will help give the District the best taxi service in the world and help avoid problems like this.

Having an exceptional police force, under Chief Lanier’s guidance working with engaged Commanders like MPD 3D’s Kishter, effectively eliminating problems in the Convention Center area, will help taxi drivers and patrons feel more comfortable on our streets and in our alley ways. Convention Center and future hotel guests (who are also DC Taxi patrons) need and deserve to feel as safe in Shaw at all hours of the day or night as they would in any other part of the Nation’s Capital.

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