Credit cards in DC taxicabs will work by September
According to Taxicab Commission Chairman Ron Linton, all District cabs should be able to take credit cards by September.
The process of transitioning to using credit cards has been slow because cab companies are still trying to figure out which credit card systems to use.
Linton says they are allowed to pick – just as long as the system meets city requirements.
Roy Spooner of Yellow Cab says his company wasn’t planning to spend millions to change its infrastructure without knowing the final regulations, and those only got passed last Wednesday.
Linton says cab drivers were told nothing would change.
Spooner doesn’t deny that cab drivers need to be able to take credit cards; however, he does think that the city has gone too far in dictating exactly how it should be done; 400 of his cabs were already taking credit cards and now he will have to refit all of those cabs.
"We have to go spend $2.4 million to create a new infrastructure," says Spooner. He says the city has even decided on the size of the machines.
"This equipment I'm holding in my hands is $600. The larger 7-inch is $1200."
The city wants drivers to use the bigger screens which cost more, but according to Linton, “It's hard for passengers to see what they should be seeing on the 4-inch device."
"I'm at a loss why the government should be that involved into this," says Spooner.
Once the systems are installed, consumers will have to pay 50 cents. Half of that will go to the driver, and the other half will go to fund the Commission, which no longer gets tax money.
Angelique Young uses cabs a handful of times a month – usually when she’s out at night.
"We take cabs late at night and it's just safer to go ahead and swipe your card versus getting cash out of the ATM," she explains.
We also caught up with Katherine Dreyer at Union Station. Dreyer is visiting from Atlanta. She just doesn’t carry cash, and says most large cities she visits take plastic.