DC taxis jump into restaurant delivery

WASHINGTON — The D.C. Taxicab Commission is testing a program with Delivery.com that it says could provide taxi drivers with a nice little bump in income — bringing you your lunch or dinner.

A customer uses the Delivery.com mobile app to place an order for lunch or dinner and the closest available D.C. taxi driver is dispatched to pick up the food and deliver it.

It works by integrating the systems of D.C. taxis with Delivery.com’s own platform.

You as the consumer might, or might not, pay to get your meal.

“The restaurant pays the driver. Some restaurants pass the cost back to the consumer. Some restaurants just don’t,” Taxicab Commission Chairman Ernest Chrappah told WTOP.

“The consumer has a choice of saying ‘Hey driver, I want to support the District of Columbia business and drivers, so I am going to give you a tip for providing me excellent service.'”

D.C. taxi drivers will be entering a crowded field of on-demand delivery services in the District; but if it catches on, Chrappah estimates it will become a significant additional revenue stream.

“If a driver is able to do about three quick deliveries a day, that could mean about $8,000 a year in income,” Chrappah said.

He said the Taxicab Commission wants to use its resources to help drivers adapt to and be part of the digital economy.

Initial restaurants participating in the D.C. taxi delivery program through Delivery.com include Bolt Burgers, Buredo, Capitol Hill Crab Cakes, Cheers at the Big Chair, Mayur Kabab, Merzi and Tortino.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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