Looking for Meters
Though today is no longer the deadline for D.C. taxis to have meters (today used to be the deadline, before the city recently extended it to June 1) it seemed like a good time to walk the streets and try to gauge how many drivers are getting with the program.
Not many yet, by the looks of things this morning.
"I don't have the money yet," said one driver, John Akinboye, referring to the roughly $400 cost of buying a time-and-distance meter. Sitting in a line of cabs outside the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel downtown, Akinboye, like other drivers, fretted about the city's decision to do away with the fare system based on geographic zones.
"How we are going to survive, I don't know," he said.
Drivers have been grumbling for months about the switch to time and distance meters. Under the new system, the fare will start at $3 and go up by 25 cents for each 0ne-sixth of a mile, with an added charge when a cab is stuck in traffic. Drivers say they fear they'll make less money than they do now under the zone system.
Of 15 cabs that came and went from the Mayflower between 11 a.m. and 11:30 today, only two had meters. In that time, of the 30 cabs that drove past the hotel on Connecticut Avenue NW, only 4 had meters mounted on their dashboards.
The situation appeared the same elsewhere in the city, with most cabs still plying the streets without meters. The city has said it will issue warnings to drivers without meters this month, then begin imposing $1,000 fines.
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