District cab drivers will be forced to start accepting credit cards soon, according to a new decree from the D.C. Taxicab Commission. But the change won't come in time for Obama's second inauguration. After Mayor Vincent Gray's botched attempt to get high-tech credit-card readers in cabs fell apart in (still ongoing) legal entanglements, D.C. Taxicab Commission Chairman Ron M. Linton has taken matters into his own hands. He'll soon introduce new rules requiring all the city's cabbies to take plastic by March 31st, according to The Washington Post's Mike DeBonis. The proposal won't be as standardized as Gray's smart-meter proposal, but at least D.C. will finally catch up with most major cities on the issue of taxi payments. Linton says cab drivers will be responsible for buying and setting up their own card readers, which shouldn't be too much of a burden thanks to developments in credit-card reading technology. Many companies offer these machines to cab drivers at no cost, recouping their profit from transaction fees, Linton says:
A year ago, when we came up with the "smart meter" concept, it was a way to get credit cards and the other kind of technological things we wanted in the cabs quickly ... Since then, there are six, seven, eight companies coming in here offering credit card services.
Unfortunately, the new rules won't be here in time for Monday's inauguration. So if you're heading to D.C. like so many others, bring a wad of cash. Or if you're feeling more "disruptive," you can download the just-released Uber app. The taxi-hailing technology was finally reintroduced in D.C. after much legal wrestling over the disruptive livery service.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.