The Montgomery County Council unanimously approved two bills aimed at improving taxi service in the county and enabling taxi services to better compete with new types of services.
The bills provide for more taxicabs to respond to calls and address some working conditions for drivers.
One bill addressed competing ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft. Following a Maryland General Assembly decision to regulate those services, Montgomery County can now impose a charge of up to 25 cents on every trip with one of those ride-hailing services that originates in the county.
With the revenue from this surcharge, the county will create a Transportation Services Improvement Fund. It will use the fund to improve the delivery of accessible taxicab services to eligible senior citizens and people of limited income, according to the Montgomery County Council.
The other bill combined several previous bills in order to create a framework for taxi service improvement and the expansion of accessible transportation. The bill also creates a centralized dispatch system for county cabs.
It requires the county’s Department of Transportation to develop a plan to increase the number of wheelchair-accessible taxis with lifts or ramps. Council aims to have 100 percent accessible cabs by 2025.
“The measures our council passed today will fundamentally reform our county’s regulation of the taxi industry, and these reforms will accrue to the benefit of all — the industry, drivers, consumers, the disabled community, seniors and low-income residents,” Councilmember Roger Berliner said.