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Posted at 2:14 PM ET, 10/ 4/2005

Now Hail This

By Fritz Hahn

And now, a subject very near and dear to the hearts of Going Out Gurus:

In case you missed an important blurb in Metro's In Brief section, more than 20 D.C. cabs with meters -- yes, thank God, meters -- are now cruising the city's streets. It's part of an eight-month experiment in which cabbies will record the difference between what passengers pay under our current zone system and what they'd pay with meters ($3.75 for the first mile and $1.50 for each additional mile).

While it would be rad if customers could pay whichever fare is lower, you'll have to pony up whatever the zone map (or your cabbie) says you owe.

If you're lucky enough to hail one of these taxis, let us know what it said on the meter versus your actual zoned fare, and what you (and your cabbie) thought of the experience. We'll do the same.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | October 4, 2005; 2:14 PM ET
Categories:  Misc.  
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Comments

$3.75 for the first mile?!?! Looks like zones or no zones, the taxicab commission is intent on keeping fares in the District more outrageous and unfair than any other major city.

Posted by: DC | October 4, 2005 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Boston is far, far worse.

Posted by: DC | October 4, 2005 4:17 PM | Report abuse

go to Kiev and get a cab without perfecting you local (or Russian) accent

Posted by: Mith | October 4, 2005 6:08 PM | Report abuse

$3.75 is bad, but at least you're getting an accurate fare. I for one would be happy to pay that rather than the 2-zone fare I currently have to pay to take a cab to my house from Cleveland Park.

Posted by: boonelsj | October 4, 2005 8:26 PM | Report abuse

$3.75 isn't terrible, considering it can cost you $8 to go less than a mile right now. One thing to note--There is a blatant bias in reporting here. The cab drivers (who for the most part love the zone system) are the ones recording the data? If that isn't a conflict of interest, I'm not sure what is.

Posted by: Peter | October 5, 2005 10:20 AM | Report abuse

$3.75 is nothing. When do you ever go than 1-2 miles in a cab in DC?

Posted by: Han | October 5, 2005 11:52 AM | Report abuse

$3.75 is not bad.

What I want recorded is what the customer would hvae ACTUALLY paid in a normal setting (i.e., probably the wrong, more expensive fare that the cabbie happens to throw out to the passenger) versus the metered fare.

Posted by: MC | October 5, 2005 12:23 PM | Report abuse

It's like 15 bucks to ride 3 miles right now (Palisades to Logan Circle). Metered would be like half that. Seems better in theory.

Posted by: Jon | October 5, 2005 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Was in one of these cabs yesterday. Went from 17th and K to Alexandria (Duke Street). The zone fair was cheaper by almost 3 bucks than the meter.

My cabbie said that the meter so far has always been cheaper in the city, but more expensive if you're going out into MD or VA.

Just FYI

Posted by: JT | October 5, 2005 12:25 PM | Report abuse

There's also a website thatlets you type in your starting point, destination, number of people to get the correct fare by zone. I always check it to make sure I won't get ripped off. I forget what its called but I beleive it has the words DC, comission, tax and cab in it...

Posted by: DC | October 5, 2005 2:50 PM | Report abuse

What's that website, DC? Very cool...

Posted by: Local | October 5, 2005 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't know how to make it a live link, but here's the address: http://citizenatlas.dc.gov/atlasapps/taxifare.aspx

Posted by: CR | October 5, 2005 3:11 PM | Report abuse

right now, when you travel interstate (DC to MD or VA) the rate is based on a mileage rate. That rate is set by the WMATC (wmatc.gov)... You can get a price qoute by calling their office during business hours @ 202.331.1671

Posted by: Anonymous | October 6, 2005 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I live about 4 miles from work. Normally, when I take a cab on days when I'm running late, it costs me $11 or $12 depending on if it's a "peak time." According to the meter fares posted here, it would only cost me $8.25 under the meter system. Go meters!

Posted by: AK | October 6, 2005 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I second what Boonelsj said! I live in Woodley Park, right on a zone dividing line. Cab fare to south Dupont, less than 2 miles away is $9.10 with the gas surcharge. A metered fare would be $6.65.

Posted by: DC | October 7, 2005 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if they charge you time as well? So, let's say you're stuck in some horrific traffic jam and aren't moving an inch is the meter still running? It does in NYC and on Barwood cabs in MD.

Posted by: dc | October 7, 2005 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I believe the whole point of the zone fare system was to eliminate the fares accrued while waiting. Essentially, the zone fares were created to take into acccount traffic, gridlock, and waiting times. Maybe someone else can confirm this.

Posted by: DC | October 7, 2005 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget the communal riding that goes along with the current zone fare system. I was at Union Station last week and my cabbie kept waiting to see if someone else was going in the vicinity of my stop.

Sharing a cab should be the customers perogative, not the cabbies, and not allowing them to share the fare is for the birds!!!

Posted by: ET | October 7, 2005 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad they are at least testing this out. Cabs in this city are so horribly unregulated and any semblance of quality controls are nonexistant. I, personally, am not so concerned about the actual price but rather having a system so cabbies are forced to play fair. I've gotten in to way too many arguments with cabbies for my own sanity and have ridden in way too many decrepit taxis with drivers who think they're still driving around the lawless dirt streets of [insert country]. Meters will be a means for quality control, please please make it work!!!

But, agreed, $3.75 is highway robbery. New York City is only $2.50 and somehow there are a million cabs in that town.

Posted by: Charlie Kemper | October 8, 2005 11:55 AM | Report abuse

It's $2.50 for just an initial fee, not for the first mile. After the initial fee (which is basically just to get in the cab) it's $.40 for every 1/5 mile or every 2 minutes standing. And then there are surcharges, like and extra $.50 - $1 for peak times, etc. So DC obviously has it better, because it is $2 per mile here, assuming you are going at a steady pace (almost never true). Of course, we almost never go that far, cause the city is so small, milage-wise.

Posted by: NYC | October 13, 2005 12:55 PM | Report abuse

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