Credit Card Terminals in DC Taxis Delayed
Published: Friday, January 25, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 25, 2013 02:01
The District of Columbia Taxicab Commission delayed Jan. 24 the adoption of rules that would require all taxicabs to accept non-cash payments by March 30.
According to Public Information Officer Neville Waters (G ’91), the commission did not have quorum at today’s meeting and was therefore unable to pass the credit card proposal.
Instead, DCTC will hold a special commission meeting Jan. 30 to vote on the regulation.
Last year, the city had granted a contract to VeriFone Systems to install credit card smart meters in all District cabs, but the Contract Appeals Board halted the process in November 2012 after determining that the contracting officer did not follow proper procedure.
The commission then announced last week that it would no longer mandate all taxicabs to obtain a universal meter for their cabs. Instead, the current proposal would allow drivers to choose from several different companies, including myTaxi, Taxi Magic and Hitch.
Should the credit card requirement go into effect, however, the commission has said that it does not plan to pay for the installation of meters in all area taxis, noting that several companies now offer these meters free of charge and make a profit through transaction fees with individual cab drivers.
“It made sense at this point to drop that plan issuing a [Request for Proposal] to identify a single vendor and allow the market place to compete,” Waters said.
Waters said that he believes the environment has changed since the universal smart meter idea was first introduced by the commission a year ago.
“During that interim while the contract protest was being waged, many drivers went out and got credit card readers or swipe[d] cards because it was something the market place was demanding,” he said.
If the regulation for all taxicabs to be required to accept credit cards passes next week, it could impact Georgetown students who frequently use cabs for getting around on nights as well as for travel to and from area airports.
“Being able to use a credit card in taxis would definitely be a lot more convenient [than the current system],” Allison Heymann (SFS ’16) said. “I know my friends and I don’t always have cash on hand, and really, it would just simplify the whole process.”
Local area taxi drivers concur.
“It doesn’t make any difference to me,” local cab driver Sunni Kingsley said. “All the major cities require cabs to take credit cards, and since D.C. is a major city, it just makes sense.”