D.C. taxi drivers could have cabs confiscated over credit card readers

Photo: John Hendel

WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- At taxicab garages across D.C. on Tuesday, cab drivers are standing, sitting, and waiting after procrastinating having their credit card devices installed. If they don’t have them installed by today, they risk having their cab confiscated.

"Knowing that this is the last day ...I had to come in today and just wait," said cab driver, James McKinnon.

As for those doing the installing, the backlogs are enormous for the number of parked cabs at D.C.’s UVC company in Northeast.

"We are very very busy -- we have been busy for the last 30 days or so, crazy busy," said Haimanot Bizuayehu, Taxicab Company President.

Drivers must either have credit card readers installed or present a notarized letter from a provider that they are scheduled for installation before September 30th.

"We have over 400 vehicles installed now and another 180 or so scheduled for installation before the end of September," District Cab Company President Jeffrey Schaeffer told ABC 7.

For many of these cab drivers, a fear of not being able to operate the credit card device has kept them leaving it until the last minute.

"Do you have a computer at home? My son does. He got to help me out! laughed driver Preston Johnson.

Taxi drivers in the city were supposed to be able to take credit card payments by Aug. 31 at the latest, but they were given an extension to Sept. 30 as long as they had proof that they had signed a contract with a reader provider.

About 2,000 city cabs already have readers in them, but at this point, the DCTC says that if a driver is stopped by an inspector and has neither a credit card reader nor a waiver, they risk having their taxi confiscated.