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DC cabbies install credit payment options

July 23, 2013

All cabs in the Washington, D.C. area will be optimized with credit card processing terminals by the end of the summer, according to taxicab commission chairman Ron Linton. However, news reports state that the adoption is being put off until the last moment: only hundreds of the area's 7,000 licensed taxis have made the switch to date.

All cabs in the Washington, D.C. area will be optimized with credit card processing terminals by the end of the summer, according to taxicab commission chairman Ron Linton. However, news reports state that the adoption is being put off until the last moment – only hundreds of the area’s 7,000 licensed taxis have made the switch to date.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that cabs currently outfitted with terminals will have to re-install new equipment to abide by the new statewide regulations. Speaking to the local ABC affiliate, Roy Spooner, of Yellow Cab, explained that the city has done drivers no favors in terms of expediting the transition. He says the final regulations were only decided in the past two weeks, sending drivers rushing to comply with the policies

“We have to go spend $2.4 million to create a new infrastructure,” he said, explaining that the state has even dictated the size of the screens that are to be placed in the cabs.

The ones his company has already installed don’t fit the recently-solidified statewide specifications, so the current terminals will have to be eliminated and replaced. 

“I’m at a loss why the government should be that involved into this,” he added.

As a result of the adoptions, the base fare for city cabs will rise $0.25.

Credit card processing makes it easier for the consumer
While local drivers are bemoaning the necessity of costly installations, many locals are celebrating the transition. And Linton, speaking to the Washington City Paper, promises that the changes will quickly become apparent

“Its a buildup of all the planning, negotiating, all the requirements for getting ready to roll,” he noted.

Though he explained that negotiations between the cab companies and payment processing service providers had become complicated, he also promised that resolutions were imminent. “Now we’re starting to roll.”

For many, this isn’t just a matter of convenience – it’s a matter of safety. Speaking to the ABC affiliate, local Angelique Young noted that late-night trips to the ATM, for a lot of common cab-riders, can be a troubling proposition. Extolling the virtues of credit card payment processing, she explains that the late-night ventures that often require the help of a cab driver are the type of scenario where she’d rather not be walking around with physical funds.

“We take cabs late at night and it’s just safer to go ahead and swipe your card versus getting cash out of the ATM,” said Young.

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