cab wars, continued

Today’s Washington Post includes an article detailing new taxicab regulations taking hold in DC. In a post last week, I mentioned the contentious history of the rules governing cabs in the district. Today’s article gives the driver’s perspective, noting that DC’s cabs are more plentiful with many more drivers working as independent contractors (whereas cities like New York are dominated by large cab companies). Will reform change all of that as drivers have long feared?

Now, that may all be on the cusp of dramatic change as a wave of additional regulations and a burst of new competition combine to alter the city’s taxi landscape. D.C. cabbies, always a cranky bunch, now waver between outrage and despair. Their incomes, they say, have plummeted, and the new rules could force them to leave the business.

My wife Rachel and I grabbed a cab home on Friday night and – as always – I asked the driver what he thought about the change from the zone system. “I am going to tell you the history,” the driver told us, before launching into a speech I’ve heard time and again. The zones were less expensive and good for riders. Meters and medallions will destroy independent drivers. Mayor Fenty was corrupt and arrogant, probably bought off by the cab companies. DC politicians are rotten to the core. Why did Congress get involved?

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