Afternoon Read: Why D.C. Cab Drivers Should Be Happy With Gray's Proposal to Modernize Taxis - NBC4 Washington
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Afternoon Read: Why D.C. Cab Drivers Should Be Happy With Gray's Proposal to Modernize Taxis



    D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray announced a much-awaited new meter system for District cabs, which includes credit card readers, GPS tracker and a safety-response button in the event of driver-customer disputes.

    The City Council is set to approve the modernization legislation in a few days, according to DCist.

    But a coalition of small and medium cab companies have been against these modernization measures, even threatening to go on strike if they are passed. The updates, they argue, could cost upwards of $4,100 per cab, a price that could wipe out many small and independent cab drivers.

    In an article in Atlantic Cities today, Sommer Mathis argues that failure to keep up with the times will put taxi drivers out of business far quicker than the cost of modernizing cabs.

    She writes about a proliferation of public transportation options—including the circulator and Capital Bikeshare—as well as private services like Uber, Car2Go and Zipcar that provide residents with alternatives to cabs. If cab drivers want to stay in the game, they need to adapt to the times.

    Still, taxi alternatives are coming, if they're not there already, to most major U.S. cities, and it's not hard to see that drivers who resist adapting to compete with them are risking their own livelihoods. Cities with taxis that are hugely expensive, like Boston, are prime targets for companies like Car2Go. New York City long ago figured out how to ensure a world-class taxi fleet, but it's also in the midst of a massive bicycle infrastructure expansion soon to be anchored by its own bike-sharing service. (Some recent handwringing over the purportedly high cost of New York's bike-share totally missed the point of the service: bike-share isn't designed to appeal to weekend cruisers looking to take an hours-long joy ride, it's aimed at locals and tourists alike who will use the bikes as a replacement for quick cab and subway rides). In San Francisco, birthplace of Uber, some entrepreneurs have recently launched an app that lets users connect with citizen drivers, a kind of mash-up of Uber and slugging.

    * A conservative group called Concerned Women for America is launching a $6 million ad campaign against Obama's health care law in Virginia and five other states, according to Politico.

    The Post reports that the group is launching its She Votes 2012 campaign on Saturday at a cafe in Ruckersville, a rural community outside of Charlottesville.

    * The Maryland Reporter writes about the high marks the Republican members of the Maryland General Assembly received from the Maryland Business for Responsive Government.

    * And here’s one more Fourth of July parade you may have missed, courtesy of the DCist—the Takoma Park Parade with the local chapter of the 9/11 truther movement.