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Too Many Taxi Drivers in D.C.?

D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) wants to reduce the number of licensed cab drivers that he says are flooding the city's taxi system. He introduced legislation today to begin looking at a way to "cap" the cabbies.

Graham, whose committee oversees the taxicab industry, said the city now has 8,000 licensed operators and another 1,000 candidates. "We have more licensed operators per capita, as best we can determine, in the world," he said. "This boat is going to sink by its own weight."

New applicants have inundated the system since tests resumed last year after the city stopped giving exams when questions were leaked. There was evidence of cheating in 2005.

Graham said he did not know how the city would achieve a "cap" on drivers but said stakeholders should look at requiring medallions or certificates. He also said applicants currently get "three tries" to take the exam, which he said should also be re-evaluated.

By Nikita R Stewart  |  June 30, 2009; 1:27 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Taxis  
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Comments

So maybe the meter fares aren't too low--if there's this much supply, then it must be a way to make a living.

Posted by: ah___ | June 30, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Too many Cabs, Too Many Foreigners driving them! Then again, TOO Much time DC Council is wasting on USELESS BS!

Posted by: CashNDC | June 30, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I think the point of a free market economy is that the market regulates itself. I don't think that there should be any restrictions on the number of cab licenses. If there are too many cabs out there, then it will no longer be profitable for new licensees, and the number of applications will decrease. It might decrease to the point where there's not enough, but again, the market will correct for that when people realize that there is a need for the service. The market will regulate itself just fine. There doesn't need to be a limit on cab licenses.

Posted by: randomned | June 30, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

So, what problem is the good councilman trying to address? Because I just don't get it.

If there really are too many cab drivers, I would expect the cab drivers would be the first to notice, and they'd correct appropriately, by going into another line of work. Or by buying a councilmember.

Posted by: DupontJay | June 30, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

City Council, there's lots of other stuff going on that needs your attention. WHY THE CABBIES? Good grief, they've got jobs. I don't, and I would love to have one. They bring in a bit of revenue, which you spend on a thousand-room hotel. I agree with randomned and DupontJay -- the market will take care of itself, and there doesn't seem to be a problem here. Or is there more to the story?

Posted by: sbuck | June 30, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

This is stupid. The problem is with the current cabbies we have. Some are great. But many are poorly trained,don't know their way around, spend the entire trip on their cellphone, etc.

Capping the number of cabbies means we get the sorry lot we've got now forever, as new applicants can't come in and compete.

And this is actually Jim Graham doing the existing cab companies' bidding. The real story here is that for the first time ever real cab companies want to come into DC on a professional level. The existing substandard companies don't want to face professional competition, so they are of course pushing for a cap on the number of cabbies.

Posted by: Hillman1 | June 30, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

But Graham has one thing right. We should have a medallion system. BUT it should be like the one in NYC, where having a medallion means you have to also have a modern car, an actual knowledge of the city, etc.

IF that were to take place then a limit on cabbies would make sense.

But this is DC, and there's simply no way that our existing politicians and cab commission folks would actually implement real standards that go along with a medallion system.

Posted by: Hillman1 | June 30, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Ah___, there are supposed to be a large supply of drivers trying to get into the system. That's the way it works. Just as there are a large supply of hair stylists who are trying to get into L.A. That doesn't justify someone coming into L.A. and compromising the incomes of the experienced stylists already there. This ain't Russia.

Posted by: starclimber9 | July 1, 2009 1:42 AM | Report abuse

randomned, it doesn't work that way. What if you went into the school system and divied up a pool of cash among all prospective teachers. And if a teacher felt that she wasn't making enough, then she could bow out of the system. You'd be letting the market take care of itself all the while sacrificing the experience that is so necessary to be of value in that particular school. The same is true of cab driving. It takes experience to learn these streets.

Posted by: starclimber9 | July 1, 2009 1:45 AM | Report abuse

sbuck, the council is looking out for the cab industry just as councils do in every other major city and county because the cab industry brings cash flow into the city and that stimulates the local economy which is in everybody's interests.

Posted by: starclimber9 | July 1, 2009 1:48 AM | Report abuse

Hillman1, many cab drivers have to talk on their cell phones while they're driving because they're working 75 hours a week so it helps to multi-task.

Posted by: starclimber9 | July 1, 2009 1:51 AM | Report abuse

DupontJay, cabdrivers don't have the money to buy a councilmember. But there are many suburban cab companies who do have the money to buy a mayor.

Posted by: starclimber9 | July 1, 2009 1:54 AM | Report abuse

They can't drive, they don't obey the laws, they stop wherever and whenever they feel like it and block traffic while they make illegal u-turns. Enforce the traffic laws on them and then cull the herd by kicking out those with 3 tickets.

Posted by: blankspace | July 1, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Graham is unbelievable. It's always something. Here is somebody who truly believes he is an expert in everything. Trying to get rid of fireworks, trying to get rid of one way streets which are "too much like urban boulevards with there high speeds," always some crime emergency, now nosing into the cab issue. Leave it alone people, the zone system worked great, you f***** that up, now just let it be. Finally, Mr. Graham, maybe this would be a good time to start investigating METRO, you know, the subway system you're supposed to be on the board of yet haven't ridden since November?

Posted by: CapitalTruck1 | July 2, 2009 2:20 AM | Report abuse

On the previous comment I meant "their" not "there" as was written. Do'oh

Posted by: CapitalTruck1 | July 2, 2009 2:21 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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