New to D.C.: What’s the Fare? Look at the Meter!

By October 17, 2007General

The issue has been covered extensively in the D.C. media, but may come as big news to readers who travel to Washington, D.C., for business trips or sightseeing: The zone system of figuring out taxi fares is being replaced by meters. From The Washington Post:

“As we work to become a world-class city, it is essential that all aspects of District government are user friendly, fair and efficient for residents and visitors alike,” Fenty said in a statement. “District residents are overwhelmingly in favor of modernizing and simplifying the fare system. By switching to time-and-distance meters, we meet the needs of the residents and standardize the experience for every taxi passenger.”

We’ve always found D.C. to have a relatively civilized cab system with good drivers and service, but can see how the zone system would confuse taxi tyros. The new system will probably make it marginally more difficult for the few dishonest drivers to take advantage, so …OK. Now if only we could remember what the light on the roof means — in service, accepting fares?

UPDATE: (4:30 p.m.) In other D.C. transportation news, lawsuits! Short-term rental vehicles discriminate because they don’t provide hand controls. From WTOP last week:

WASHINGTON – Two popular car sharing companies and the District of Columbia are facing a discrimination lawsuit.

At issue is the accessibility for the disabled after both Flexcar and Zipcar refused to provide hand controls for a disabled woman.

Elaine Gardner, project director for the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, said not providing hand controls and prohibiting seeing eye dogs from such cars is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

D.C. is included in the lawsuit because the city gives the two companies free parking spaces. Both companies say they have been trying to find a solution but will not talk about specifics.

Perhaps we can impose enough costs to make the rentals prohibitively expensive for everyone. Now that’s progress — in a Harrison Bergeron kind of way, that is.

Hat tip: Walter Olson.

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