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Dear PoPville – Meaning of Top Taxi Lights

by Prince Of Petworth March 5, 2014 at 2:30 pm 36 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

I work in Dupont Circle and my eyesight is about 20/150 (not legally blind, but not correctable beyond that), and live in Brookland. While attempting to flag a taxicab, I went to a taxi that had their light on, but although empty, the driver said he couldn’t take me to Brookland. A man on the sidewalk came up to me after to tell me that the taxi’s light said it was not available, and I shouldn’t approach such cabs. Is it true that taxis leave their light on, even though they are not available? If so, does it make sense that taxis would leave a bright light on, even though they cannot, or will not, pick up passengers, when it would be less confusing to just turn the light off? Was the man that came up to me misinformed, and if not, how is someone without great eyesight able to tell when a cab is actually available?”

Hopefully when all the cabs switch over to the new lights (as you illustrated in the photo above) when the light is lit it will mean the taxi will be for hire.


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