Mayor Vince Gray Intros Smart Meters

Mayor Vince Gray spent the morning introducing press to the new "smart meters" coming to D.C. taxicabs. The mayor took a seat in the first D.C. cab with a modern meter that will allow credit card payments, provide printed receipts, have GPS tracking, and have a monitor with local television programming.

Basically, D.C. is getting what most other major cities in this country have.

The city's 6000 cabs will get the meters installed over next few months -- probably.

Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry has thrown a wrench into the plan, reports the Post's Mike DeBonis. Or, at least he's trying to.

Barry has been lobbying his colleagues to vote down a modification to the city's meter contract that would let the D.C. pay the $500 fee instead of the drivers. Not because he wants the drivers to pony up, mind you -- but because he wants to slow the process of executing the contract. Slowing things down could benefit the two companies that lost their bids to provide smart meters and are appealing the city's decision to contract with VeriFone.

(Note: VeriFone has a national contract with NBCUniversal to deliver NBC content to smart meters in cabs across the country.)

For his part, Barry tells DeBonis that he's not trying to help the other two companies, he's simply being "responsible" by slowing the process.

Meanwhile D.C. Taxicab Commish Ron Linton wants cabs to start installing the new meters ASAP. Though, considering how long it's taken to get the legislation passed, he may just have to hold his horses a while longer.

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