- The Washington Times - Friday, January 6, 2006

The D.C. Taxicab Commission has approved fare increases that will begin Monday.

The commission’s decision yesterday will bring the base fare to $6.50 and the cost of the maximum eight-zone trip to $18.90.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams said the increases were necessary.

“We are constantly working to strike a balance between the needs of the people who live and work in the District and those hard-working men and women who drive them around,” said Mr. Williams, a Democrat, who is not running for re-election. “The last fare increase came in 2004, and this year’s modest increase will allow cabbies to support themselves and their families.”

The new fare system also will allow cabbies to charge more for waiting for a customer more than five minutes and for stopping en route to a rider’s destination.

A $1.50 fuel surcharge in place since September expires early Monday morning.

The decision follows the review of a study indicating that fuel, maintenance and acquisition costs for cabs have increased by 20 percent since the increase approved in May 2004.

Though Mr. Williams agreed with the increases, he still wants the District to switch from the zone system to meters. City officials say a meter system being tested in some cabs has been well received by drivers and passengers.

Drivers lining up for passengers outside a downtown hotel said the increases will help offset their increasing costs.

But a driver waiting outside Union Station said they are not enough.

Drivers and riders had mixed reactions yesterday about switching to a metered system.

A D.C. woman shouted “no meters” as she loaded her luggage into a cab. She said with the meter system she would owe the driver nearly $3 upon entering the cab.

District official say stickers inside the cabs showing the increased fares will be posted promptly, unlike last time.

City Administrator Robert C. Bobb has put Deputy Mayor Stanley Jackson in charge of making sure that cab drivers and their passengers have the proper notification about the increases.

Mr. Jackson is deputy mayor for planning and economic development, which oversees cab operations.

In May 2004, it took several days for stickers with the new prices to get to cabbies.

This story is based in part on wire service reports.

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