District residents are overwhelmingly unhappy with the city’s taxicab services, according to a survey by Councilmember Mary M. Cheh.
Cheh, who is the Chair of the Committee on the Environment, Public Works, and Transportation, released the results of the month-long public survey through her website. The release comes ahead of a Jan. 30 hearing on the "D.C. Taxicab Commission Service Improvement Amendment Act of 2011" that she introduced last month with Councilmember Tommy Wells.
Of the 4,025 people who responded to the survey:
• 76% rated the District's taxi system as "fair or poor"
• 69% believe that taxis in the District are "worse" than those in other American cities
• 94% support the legislation to improve taxi service in the District
"The results of the survey are striking," Cheh said in a statement. "It is clear that the public views the District's taxi system as mediocre, unreliable, and antiquated. There are many complaints of discrimination, unwarranted surcharges and fees, and distracted drivers. The survey results certainly suggest that taxi service in the Districts needs to be dramatically improved."
A majority of respondents (52%) believe that the Taxicab Commission should not raise taxi fares until the quality of taxi service improves. Twenty-five percent said that taxi rates were already too high. Only 16% supported higher rates without any changes to service.
Of the recommended improvements proposed to the commission, the most popular were to require taxis to accept credit cards, to install GPS units and to adopt uniform cruising lights.