So, I am sure you have all heard the news, but in case you have not...cabs are now switching to the meter!
In an article in the Washington Times, the situation is described in more detail. The good news is, that by June 1st all cabs must have a meter installed in their vehicles or they are at risk of a $1,000 ticket! The date was trying to get pushed back, but Mayor Fenty said that for cabs who don't have meters by June 1, will only be getting warnings:
"Now until June 1 is more than enough time to get the meters in," said Mr. Fenty, a Democrat.
As of May 1st, the cab fare will be $3 for the first sixth of a mile and 25 cents for every additional sixth of a mile. There will be a 25 cent charge for every minute stopped or travelling under 10 mph, and the fare will never go above $19. Sweet.
The meter system can work for the benefit of both wallets. The cab driver's when it is longer trip, and the customer's when it is a shorter one.
The reason for the change? Simple. As customers, we want to know exactly where our money is going:
"The residents of the District of Columbia have said they want clearly visible fares," Fenty said. "They want a sense that overcharging is not occurring, and they want a clearer relationship between a fare and the distance traveled."
As a New Yorker, I can understand this very well. I grew up in a city where we ran solely on meters, if there was traffic-it was your loss. When I came to D.C. I couldn't understand the zones. I still can't understand the zones as a matter of fact. This is mostly a commuter city, are people supposed to learn the zones ahead of time? As in, learn the zones and streets before you enter the city to insure you don't get ripped off? Absolutely not.
The drivers caught on to the fact that no one really knows the zones, and began to make up fares. I noticed this when traveling to and from Union Station, and the cost was $6 dollars more on the way back than it was on the way there. The key to not getting ripped off is to ask how many zones he drove passed and where. Tonight, I got ripped off yet again! It was $11 to go from 16th and L to 19th and F. I asked him how many zones we crossed and he said one. I then told him that the fare should be only $7.50-$8 for gas prices. I paid him $10 and left the cab. So, if the price of your cab fare seems oddly high, don't hesitate to speak up and say something!