Not all D.C. cabs ready for credit cards

Cab driver Joseph Tillman acknowledges that credit card machines need to be installed in all D.C. cabs, but believes the process was rushed, leaving small, independent cab owners like himself behind. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)

WASHINGTON – Passengers must wait a little longer before every D.C. taxicab is equipped with credit card readers. More than half of the city’s cabs will not be ready to accept cashless payments by the Sept. 1 deadline.

D.C. Taxicab Commission spokesman Neville Waters says 2,000 to 2,500 vehicles will be equipped with devices by the end of August. However 4,214 vehicles will need another month before they can offer those services.

“We’re pretty confident that most of the fleet will be in compliance by the end of September,” Waters says.

Payment service providers could apply for a 30-day extension on behalf of the vehicles if they “had a contract with the vehicle owner and provided an installation schedule as to when and how they intended to get the devices installed in these vehicles by Sept. 30,” Waters says.

Some vehicle owners and payment service providers were concerned they couldn’t meet the deadline for a variety of reasons.

“I think there was some dragging feet; they were trying to review what the options were,” Waters says. “I think there may have been some misinformation and rumors in the marketplace. There were some delays in ordering the devices.”

But because the new regulations took effect June 1, he says they had plenty of time.

“There’s been over two-and-a-half months for vehicle owners to review and consider and make a commitment to a payment service provider,” he says. “I’m not sure how valid the excuses are that there was not enough time.”

Any vehicle that is not fully equipped by the end of the extension period will face action, including impoundment. Waters says they will not grant further extensions.

In the meantime, passengers can call separate companies’ dispatch centers and request a taxicab that accepts credit card payments.

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