D.C. Taxicabs will take credit cards

Friday, January 25th, 2013

All District taxis should accept credit cards by the end of March, according to planned regulations from a city agency. The dream of cabbies to accept credit cards will at last come true.

Earlier a plan to have all city cabs install “smart meters” that would take credit cards, have interactive screen, GPS navigation and “panic buttons” was on hold for the indefinite future due to a costly contract. The situation that exists today does no longer justify acquiring a single system as it was proposed. The technology has changed and a better way to do this has appeared.

The DC Taxicab Commission will issue regulations requiring individual taxi owners to either install credit card swipers or sign up with a digital dispatch service, like UberTAXI or MyTaxi, which accept riders’ credit cards via smartphone.

As for the other features of the proposed smart meter system — including an interactive screen, GPS navigation and “panic buttons” to hail authorities — city will still seek bids for those devices.

Allowing cab owners to choose their own systems will lower the costs. And the contract for the rest of the smart meter features will include an advertising component that will cover most of the costs for the cab drivers.

These changes are all part of city’s plans to modernize its cab fleet.

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