The City Council on Tuesday, July 10th, gave final approval to a major reform and modernization bill (B19-630) for the taxicab industry. Under the new law, by the end of 2012, all DC taxicabs will have to have new meters that will accept debit and credit cards and produce electronic manifests for drivers. In addition, the required Global Positioning System (GPS) will have monitors for drivers and passengers along with a digital map and audio/visual content for passengers. New smart phone applications will open up new links between passengers and drivers. The law also mandates that taxicabs install the new universal dome light and gradually adopt the same color scheme. It also sets out a schedule for additional accessible vehicles for passengers with disabilities.
This new program with the exception of the cost of dome lights will be provided at no cost to drivers. Drivers will be expected to pay the cost and installation of the new universal dome light. Other provisions of the law include a 50 cent surcharge on each taxi ride to cover the operations of the Commission, thus removing it from direct DC taxpayer support and shifting a substantial part of the administrative burden to visitors and business users.
Over the next few weeks the Commission will publish an implementation timetable for the new law.