Washington D.C. is finally catching up to the 21st century and citizens will be able to use the taxi app, UberTAXI. Washington, D.C., city council members unanimously voted to allow transportation apps in the city, letting users hail taxi rides from their mobile phones.
This is a huge step for Washington D.c. and it’s citizens. For decades taxi’s in DC didn’t have meters. Instead, the city was divided into zones, and trips from one zone to another cost a flat fee. The politicians drew-up the zones in order to minimize the cost of riding to and from their most frequent destinations. That all changed in 2008 when DC cabs finally switched from zones to meters in their Taxi’s.
UberTAXI will allow users to order taxi’s though it’s app and charge the ride through an on-file credit card. To request a taxi instead of the default black sedan, customers need to select “TAXI” in the Uber app. Up until now, Uber customers only had the choice to use the app to hail black sedans which have a base fee of $15.
Once you get in the car, your driver will start the regular taxi meter. At the end of the trip, your driver will input the fare into their Uber iPhone, including all tolls and surcharges that would normally apply for a DC taxi ride. This also includes the $2.00 dispatch fee, standard for any dispatched DC taxi.
Uber wrote on their blog that the number of taxi’s are limited for now because, “many taxi’s don’t fit Uber standards, so we are curating our supply pretty carefully.”
Still, Uber expects things to change with time and writes, “make no mistake: it’s still an experiment, and we will continue to improve on UberTAXI as more people use it.”
The San Francisco based start-up Uber, is already in a number of cities which include; Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and London. They’ve had to stop services in New York and it’s hometown of San Francisco, of a lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed by Leonid Goncharov and Mohammed Eddine, two drivers for the San Francisco-based Luxor Cab. Alleging the company is engaging in an unfair business by going around rules that apply to traditional taxi services.
The Uber lawsuit claims that “by partnering with unauthorized and unpermitted drivers to unlawfully compete with law abiding taxicab drivers,” Uber is “acting as a taxicab company while sometimes…[denying] this fact in order to avoid all regulations governing taxicab companies.”
For Uber, they deny any wrong doing. “Uber complies with all laws and regulations applicable to its business,” said an Uber spokesperson in a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle. “Any claim to the contrary is baseless and motivated by those who seek to deprive the public of this safe and convenient transportation option. Uber would rather compete for business on the streets of San Francisco than in the courtroom, but Uber will defend these claims in court and is confident of the outcome.”
We’ll have to see how long Uber lasts in Washington, D.C. but for now, citizens and politicians can enjoy the overpriced cab service.
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