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The DC Taxicab Commission (DCTC) today approved rulemaking to establish the Coordinated Alternative to Paratransit Services (CAPS) program to transport ambulatory dialysis patients by standard taxis rather than MetroAccess.
“This pilot project will offer users a higher quality level of service,” said DCTC Chairman Ron M. Linton. “The CAPS program will allow participants to book rides easier without multiple stops; reduce the cost to District taxpayers; and increase the number of wheelchair accessible vehicles available to the public.”
The CAPS program will allow ambulatory patients to travel directly to and from treatments in standard taxicabs without making multiple stops while providing wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) to those in need of that type of service. Rides can be booked one hour in advance rather a day ahead as required by MetroAccess. Patients will also see no increase in their out-of-pocket costs and the District tax payers will realize a reduction as the city will save on this pilot program up to $1.8 million in subsidy payments to MetroAccess. Participating taxicab companies must purchase new WAVs for every 3,000 rides taken via the CAPS program with 55 to 60 WAVs projected to be added to the District’s fleet in the first year.
Other action taken by DCTC included the approval to publish revised proposed rulemaking for the use of private sedans as public vehicles for hire; proposed amendments to the Vehicle Modernization Program to encourage transition to fuel efficient and wheelchair accessible vehicles; and other administrative matters.
DCTC has modified the proposed rulemaking for private sedans to mandate drivers work for a single digital dispatch service (DDS) and allow drivers to work full time provided they receive a DCTC issued ID and an S-Tag. The DDSs would not be required to provide insurance coverage to full time drivers who must obtain commercial insurance. Also, the DDSs can set their own rates and would remit to the District’s CFO the passenger surcharge on a quarterly basis.
The incentives proposed for the Vehicle Modernization Program would allow the formation of new associations that agree to have fleets that are 100% wheelchair accessible and use fuel efficient vehicles by a specific date. All vehicle owners will have the opportunity to replace current vehicles to take advantage of the extended service years by transitioning to wheelchair accessible vehicles powered by more fuel efficient methods. The current Vehicle Modernization Program mandates that no vehicle more than seven model years will be in service by 2018.
The other matters include approval to publish rulemaking to prohibit taxis from long term parking in neighborhoods around the administrative offices of taxicab companies; rulemaking to consolidate definitions into one chapter; and proposed regulations to provide flexibility to the Chief of the Office of Taxicabs to designate shared ride locations.