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DC Taxicab Commission Approves Final Rulemaking to Increase the Number of Wheelchair Accessible Fuel Efficient Vehicles in the Fleet

Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Final rulemaking supports vehicle modernization program

Contact: Neville Waters (202) 645-6020

The DC Taxicab Commission (DCTC) took action to speed up the transition to having more wheelchair accessible fuel efficient vehicles in the District’s taxicab fleet by approving final adoption and publication of three rulemakings to support the modernization of the District’s taxicab industry. The amendments to the regulations include a revised schedule for equipment replacement; authorizes Digital Dispatch Services (DDSs) to determine rates for rides booked through them; and provides the Commission with the flexibility to designate shared ride venues as warranted. DCTC also resolved not to increase rates for riding in the District’s taxicabs.

Chapter 6 of Title 31 establishes the criteria for the age of taxicabs. The Vehicle Modernization Program previously required equipment replacements on January first of each year with the result that no vehicles greater than seven model years old would be in service by 2018. The revised schedule will allow vehicle owners up to the vehicle inspection date during the year to make the change of the vehicle. Thus, vehicles from model year 2004 and prior must be replaced during 2015 and vehicles from model year 2007 and prior must be replaced during 2016. No vehicle prior to model year 2010 would be in service by 2017.

These amendments are reflective of the Determinations and Findings report that was accepted by DCTC (see attached document below). Vehicle owners have the incentive to convert to wheelchair accessible fuel efficient vehicles as the authorized service life will be greater than for a gasoline powered vehicle.

The rates charged to passengers that summon vehicles through electronic booking are subject to what is set by the DDSs. The competitive marketplace would be allowed to determine what is charged. Street hails for rides in licensed District taxicabs would remain subject to the metered fare.

Shared riding – which allows multiple riders to travel together in the same general direction – has previously been permitted only at specific fixed locations. These venues were Union Station, Verizon Center and Nationals Park and a Starter employed or authorized by the venue is required. The amended final rulemaking for Chapters 8 and 99 authorizes the Chief of the Office of Taxicabs to designate other venues as warranted provided a Starter is on site to control the orderly departure of taxis.

DCTC has completed the statutorily required Rate Structure Review of the present charges for the District’s taxis and consideration of several recommendations. In conclusion, DCTC adopted the position that there will be no change to the metered rates charged in the District’s taxis. The full decision on the Review of Rate Structure is below.

Other action taken by DCTC included the approval to publish proposed rulemaking to: set the parameters for taxicab companies to provide refresher training to drivers prior to the renewal of Face IDs; set standards for compliance to meet the requirement to have a specific percentage of their fleet be wheelchair accessible vehicles; and require that public vehicles for hire dispatched electronically must comply with Title 31 provisions.