Taxi cabs under pressure to install credit card readers

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - It’s crunch time for D.C. cab drivers.

“We working, we trying to work hard, but look what they did to us – they stuck us here, everybody has a family,” complained cabbie Alex Saed.

Taxi drivers stood around not knowing what to do, as approved installation companies admit they are overwhelmed.

“We cannot supply all the demand that is coming here,” said David Miller with the Hitch Installation Company. “Some people are not going to make it – it’s very sad, it’s very unfortunate because these guys need to be able to go to work.”

In D.C.’s “Little Ethiopia,” a group of cab drivers gathered on Tuesday to plan a protest tomorrow in Freedom Plaza.

"Cab drivers stand to miss the deadline for no fault of their own, yet the Taxicab Commission intends to hold them fully responsible,” said one taxi driver.

Another one said he had been waiting for three weeks, and still hasn’t had his credit card reader installed.

And they are getting no sympathy from the Taxicab Commission.

"I would say that those companies and individuals that make those statements are simply finding excuses to justify their failure to have acted in an appropriate time,” said Chairman of the Taxicab Commission, Ron Linton.

Silver Cab’s chief says his association has 1500 cabs.

"It takes one hour, so I need 1500 hours,” said Mohammed Momen, owner of Silver Cab. “1500 hours is six months, and the chairman is giving us two months.”

And some drivers who do have the devices say they aren’t even functioning properly.

"It’s a complete mess,” said cab driver Larry Frankel. “I have been out of work for several days because the equipment that was installed in my cab does not work."