Washington DC

Next time you call an Uber in DC, a taxi could pop up. Here's why

Uber says it’s partnering with D.C. cabs to increase its pool of drivers.

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The next time you request a pickup in the Uber app in Washington, D.C., you could be connected with a taxi.

As demand for both rides and food deliveries grows, the rideshare company says it’s partnering with D.C. cabs to increase its pool of drivers.

Starting Friday morning, D.C. taxi drivers will receive information from Uber about how to sign up for access to Uber trip referrals.

All D.C.-area drivers will be eligible. Uber also plans to let taxi drivers who use Curb Mobility to get trip referrals through their existing technology in the coming months, the company said.

Taxi driver Kris Asayehegn, who’s been a D.C. taxi driver since 1993, says Uber’s partnership will be a boon to drivers.

“It is a wonderful partnership because it will help taxi drivers with supplemental income,” Asayehegn said.

In 2013, he could sign up with Uber because he offers wheelchair-accessible rides.

The option of Uber kept him in the cab industry. He says wait times for fares are night and day.

“Less than five minutes, versus driving around the city, burning gas and not being able to pick up fare for a minimum of one hour sometimes,” Asayehegn said.

What changes for Uber riders?

For riders, nothing changes on the app. Riders will still pay the UberX rate and receive upfront pricing — but now, you may get paired with a cab.

If you do, you’ll get a notification and could choose to get rematched with a non-taxi driver.

Riders can also continue to choose a taxi driver upfront and see a fare range based on the taxi meter.

Taxis are allowed to drop riders in D.C., Maryland or Virginia. However, riders who request a car in Maryland and Virginia won’t be matched with taxis due to differences in local regulations, Uber said.

Why is Uber partnering with D.C. taxis?

Uber says the program is a win-win-win situation.

“D.C. taxi drivers will gain access to Uber trip referrals, providing them with more earnings opportunities, cities will get less empty miles driven, and riders will have faster pickups,” the company said in a release.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi last year said that while inflation is driving up prices on the app, a driver shortage has had an even greater effect on growing fares, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The rideshare company booked more than $17 billion in rides and $16 billion in delivery business worldwide in the third quarter of last year, according to its recent earnings report.

D.C. is the latest city to take part in this pilot program. New York, San Francisco and Southern California started including taxis earlier this year.

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