D.C. new cab design: Commission releases proposed red, grey design

The proposed new design will feature red cabs. (Photo: Steve Chenevey)

Gone are the days of the classic yellow cab. Welcome to the 21st century.

The D.C. Taxicab Commission on Wednesday released the proposed design for the District’s new cabs. The cabs will be red with a grey stripe on the side.

The commission earlier said the effort to make all cabs look the same stems from an objective to modernize the cab industry in D.C. by creating a more customer-friendly, aesthetically-pleasing vehicle. They say it would also help cut down on illegal cab operations.

“They will not adopt the new color until they have an equipment change, meaning the vehicle they had goes out of service and they bring in a new one,” says Ron Linton of the D.C. Taxicab Commission.

But looking at all the red with the grey stripe has driver Larry Frankel seeing red over green.

“We easily could be talking a $1,000 paint job here which is quite expensive for a cab driver to maintain,” he says.

Frankel says he spent $300 for his last paint job, which was for one single color. Drivers would have to pay for the paint jobs out of their own pockets.

It’s too much red for Dan Brown, a designer from Philadelphia. He says from a designing perspective, the colors aren’t inviting.

The general manager of Yellow Cab, D.C.’s largest dispatch fleet, says losing the competitive advantage would be disastrous for his business, and as a private manager he’s not a fan of the city dictating the details.

“If there’s no longer a Yellow, just a regular red cab and they don’t have that company brand and service behind it, they don’t come to us. As a company, eventually we disappear,” Roy Spooner says.

The meeting to collect public comment will be held at the end of May. If the proposal goes through without any delays,{ } the first cars with the new paint schemes could be seen on D.C. streets in July.

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