By C.N. Staff Writer
The D.C. Taxicab Commission has debated adding credit card machines to taxis for the past year. A proposal last year failed to go through final implementation when Creative Mobile Technology (CMT) filed suit against Verifone, the company who won the contract to install the meters, because of irregularities in the procurement process.
The taxi commission has dubbed the project the “Modern Taxi System” (MTS) has faced opposition by taxicab drivers and with companies who are vying to install the meters. CMT says that the process has loopholes in that taxi drivers could insist on using alternative meters that have lower transaction fees. The new meters will come with a $0.25 base fare increase, making it $3.25 instead of $3.00. The commission also voted to allow drivers to charge $1 for each extra passenger. Overall the
According to a press release by the Taxicab Commission, installation of the MTS is set to begin June 1, 2013 and taxi drivers have three months to have the system fully installed and it is expected that every cab will be in full operation of the system by August 31st.
A new 25-cent-per-ride surcharge will also be collected to pay for the commission’s various costs. All other fees, such as baggage fees, have been eliminated, with the exception of telephone dispatch and snow emergency charges, and cabs are not permitted to pass on transaction fees to their riders.
So far there are ten pre-approved companies who can participate as Payment Service Providers (PSP). Final approval is pending the successful completion of testing the transmission of electronic trip data sheets and driver verification. However, the selection of PSPs does not place any limits on the ability of taxi operators to choose more than one digital reservation service provider. The ten companies receiving pre-approval notification include DC VIP Cab; Yellowcab of DC; Transco; Verifone; USA Motors; Pathfinder; Universal Tranware LLC; United Ventures Consortium Inc; Skynet Solutions LLC; and Creative Mobile Technologies.
Taxicab Commission Director Ron Linton said more changes are coming to the taxicab commission. By Dec. 1st, cabs will also feature new “personal information monitors” offering news, tourism information and public service announcements, and by June of next year, will offer “panic buttons” to summon help if a driver or rider needs it.