Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Taxicab Meters: Good; DCTC Web Site: Bad

As of May 1, all taxicabs in DC must have meters. In practice, they won't be fined until the end of May, but the rule of law still says they're all supposed to have meters now.

It's annoying that the cabs are being permitted to just break the law and get away with it. But what's more annoying is that if you get your information from the DC Taxicab Commission web site, you'd think the zone system were still the rule of law.

First of all, in about 10 minutes of Google searching, I can't even find a current, complete description of the new meter rate structure. I eventually came to the DCTC web site, and what do I see at the top of the page, but a link to the fare calculator. Guess what? Zone system. At least there's a note that says the site will be taken down on June 1, but still, it's a joke that the only link referencing fares on the DCTC home page goes to the technically obsolete zone fare calculator.

Then, under "News," there's a link to a press release entitled WMATC to Change Meter Rates. This is a scanned court document that, even upon reading through it, doesn't actually completely describe what the rates are going to be.

We have the following information from this document:

"The base rate will change from $3.25 for the first half mile, plus $0.90 for each additional half mile or fraction thereof, to $3.00 for the first 1/6 mile, plus $0.25 for each additional 1/6 mile."

Okay, that's useful information. Not that I remember the base rate ever having been $3.25, but whatever. How about the other charges?

"The charges for additional passengers, telephone dispatch service, additional luggage, and personal service will not change."

OK... will not change FROM WHAT? There's another link to some 25 page document from May 1. I scanned through it, but found nothing useful.

On Google, I found a Post article from January 17, in which Fenty changed the drop fare from $4.00 to $3.00. Not sure where this $3.25 mentioned in the court document before came from. No mention of the other fees.

I finally find from DCist on March 3 that the extra passenger fare of $1.50 has been added back in, but the rush hour surcharge is gone, but of course the article has the caveat that "it's unclear if this is set in stone."

Seriously, can anyone tell me what the hell the final rule is for the cab fares that are now in effect? Why is this so hard to find?

DCTC: Please get your shit together. Take five minutes and put a link on your web site that actually tells us what the rule is now without making me read a bunch of court filings and conduct a google forensics investigation!

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