Fenty Snubs Council Over Taxi Fare Cap

Cap is a holdout from the zone fare system

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Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty has decided to ignore a D.C. Council directive to lift the $19 cap on taxicab rides that start and end in the District.

Hizzoner insists that, per Congress, his administration has exclusive authority over taxi fares and meter regulation, according to the Washington Examiner. The cap, which was supposed to end in October as part of a law passed by the council, is a remnant of the zone fare system, which was replaced by meters starting in June 2008.

According to an opinion issued by the office of Attorney General Peter Nickles, the council's action "unlawfully" interfered with the mayor's power, the Examiner noted.

It's not the first time he's snubbed a council decision -- or been called on his less-than-stellar behavior.

"The emergence of Fenty the Jerk—an arrogant, stubborn, uncommunicative boor who's anything but accountable... [isn't] a product so much of any isolated incident, but a narrative that was continuously sharpened by a string of small travails—secret foreign travel, hoarding of baseball tickets, his children's school enrollment, and so on—and Fenty's response to them."

More recently, when asked by NBC4's Eun Yang about how he planned to deal with the remaining snow that was causing major traffic delays and other problems, he laughed and gave her an "are you crazy"-type look, saying the question "doesn't make any sense, if you forgive me."

Meanwhile, it looks like no one is going to challenge Fenty on his actions.

Sen. Carl Levin delivered to Fenty dictatorial control of the taxicab industry, in Nickles' view ... The authority granted to Fenty, in Nickles' opinion, "can't be impeded by local legislation."

"He gave the full faith and authority for operating of the meters to the mayor, bypassing the city council," Leon Swain, D.C. Taxicab Commission chairman, said during a recent commission meeting. "And so, right now we have a legal opinion from the attorney general that the $19 fare cap is still in effect."

If the cap were lifted, drivers associations said it would affect only a fraction of rides, for which it would typically yield $2 to $5 extra, according to the Washington Post.  

But not every cab driver agrees.

"They want you to drive them for free," one driver told the Examiner. "Where are the checks and balances here? Who's going to defend us?"  

Riders, meanwhile, might be thanking the mayor. The $19 cap applies during rush hour too. And, according to the website TaxiFareFinder, DC's fares rank near the bottom of the price range among 28 cities nationwide. 

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