If you’ve ever run into the whole ‘I have a CC but no cash for this f***ing DC cab,’ thing, be excited. After a year-long process spearheaded by Mayor Vincent Gray and DC Taxicab Commission Chairman Ron M. Linton, all 6,500 Washington DC cabs are now required to accept credit cards!
It’s fine with me. I have no problem with it. I’ve been driving a cab for 42 years. A lot of these guys want cash money and don’t want no paper trail. These guys live in Maryland and Virginia and DC can’t tax them. Now they have to rent cabs in DC so DC can tax the company and have more of a clear record. I don’t mind. I’ve been doing the right thing.
– Anonymous OG DC cabbie
Here’s a condensed timeline based on (7) Washington Post articles:
After an 8-month legislative debate, lead sponsor Mary M Cheh (D-Ward 3) feels confident the last loose ends have been wrapped up and a bill requiring DC cabs to offer credit card payment options will pass. Relevant parties include independent cab companies, Uber, larger cab companies and Verifone, whose bid to supply 100% of the proposed credit card POS systems beat out several competitors.
At least (2) cabs in DC are now equipped with the VeriFone meters. Mayor Gray rides in a cab and pays by credit card. Issues regarding automated vs. print receipts and business-expense padding schemes become forefront issues. An injunction against the $35M VeriFone contract is issued by losing bidders.
The latest bump in the DC taxi credit card road was made when former city contracting officer John Dean’s bid analysis and handling of the contract came into question. A judge as well as the city’s Contract Appeals Board ordered to the city to “cancel the VeriFone contract and accept new bids from VeriFone, CMT and RideCharge.”
The idea was to have the credit card machines installed for Inauguration Weekend. And while the VeriFone contract issue remains in litigation, Mayor Gray and the city decide there’s no need for one standard point of sale taxi cab credit card system. They instead will allow cabs to choose their method of taking credit cards, as long as they actually do it. Interactive screens (like the ones in NY cabs), GPS and an emergency button (in case a driver is injured) are requirements as well.
Various credit card system developers are said to be providing the technology free of charge. Which is obviously great for taxpayers, cab companies and drivers alike. Systems are scheduled to be installed by March 30th. Representatives for VeriFone decline to comment… duh.
Now it’s getting pushed back to May…
Now it’s getting pushed back to August 31st… here’s how it affects you financially:
The average annual cost for the new system is estimated to be $970 per vehicle (incl. transaction fees, installation, maintenance and wireless fees). Instead of 1 vendor (VeriFone) there will be up to 9 different service providers. But that doesn’t really affect us.
The cool screens and stuff are required to be installed by December 1st.
DC cab owners who make a ‘bona-fide’ effort to install card readers now have until September 1st to get ‘er done. While city officials admit the plan isn’t moving as quickly as they had hoped, roughly 1,000 cabs in DC should have card readers by August 4th and 3,000 more by August 31st.
If drivers do not affiliate with a payment service provider by August 15th, their vehicles will be impounded come September 1st. Drivers will then be issued letters excusing them from the deadline.