The Monday Rant: Fare Play in a D.C. Cab?
I haven't flown out of Reagan National in quite some time, but a few weeks ago, I was surprised to step into the cab line and -- just before a taxi whisked me away -- be given the sheet of paper you see here. On it is listed the approximate fares you should be paying to numerous locations around town and outside the Beltway.
At last! Now I could see in advance how much money I needed to assemble for the driver. Normally, I would have taken the subway, but I was late for work so I decided to cab it. I asked the driver to take my wife and me to the Madison Hotel, near The Post building.
On the sheet, it lists the fare to the Capital Hilton, about a block and half away from The Post, at $11.
I figured with the $1.75 airport fee, maybe some extra for the bag in the trunk, maybe some hidden gas surcharge I'd forgotten about, the total would come to about $15.
When we arrived, the driver looked down at some chart and mumbled "19 dollars"; if I hadn't been buckled in I would have fallen out of my seat. I protested, showing him the sheet and wondering how there could be that big of a difference, but he just shrugged and refused to respond. I'll admit it: I should have fought harder, but I've never come up on the winning end of a dispute with a cabbie, and I was tired. I just wanted to get away from him.
Now that I've given that sheet a better look, it lists all sorts of fees that are applicable (I don't pretend to understand them). There is a line that states, "Your actual fare may be different than the amount shown on the map," but doesn't that render the map useless? On the back, it indicates that you should always ask your driver for a receipt showing the driver's name, the driver's I.D., the cab company name and number, and the fare paid.
Has anyone ever gotten that out of a D.C. cab driver? I usually just get a little slip I have to fill in myself before I'm dumped at my location.
To its credit, the sheet lists an address where I can send a complaint -- provided I have all that information that I've never gotten from a D.C. cabbie before.
I say: Bring on those meters, and the sooner the better.
Anyone out there with a similar experience? How did you handle it?
By John Deiner |
February 25, 2008; 7:28 AM ET
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