Mayor Vince Gray Proposes New Cab Meter System

Pending D.C. Council approval, meters would be installed by the end of the year

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray announced a much-awaited new meter system for District cabs, and there's plenty in it for riders to be happy about: Credit card readers, GPS tracker, and even a safety-response button in the event of driver-customer disputes.

If approved, the contract would go to VeriFone. NBC has a national contract with VeriFone to provide content in taxis, so riders will be able to see programming from NBC and NBC4.

Drivers have been apprehensive about changes throughout the process, with some worrying that GPS tracking will extend even when they're using their cabs privately, but GPS only turns on when the meters are on.

Drivers are largely receptive to card readers. One driver told News4's Tom Sherwood, "We carry a lot of cash and I was robbed."

The improvements will be funded by a fifty cent surcharge on customers, and drivers will have to pay up to $500 to add the new meters.

Solomon Keene, executive director of the Hotel Association of Washington -- a powerful organization that has been pushing for taxi reforms -- told News4 that "it's another good step in the right direction." Keene praised Mayor Gray and council members Mary Cheh and Tommy Wells for pushing reforms first begun under former mayor Adrian Fenty.

Gray said he will be sending the proposal to the D.C. Council, which will vote on whether to implement it. They'd previously indicated they would do so. He intends to have the new meters installed into all District cabs by the end of the year.

One thing is yet to be settled: What uniform color the D.C. Taxicab Commission will pick for city cabs.

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