WASHINGTON — Changes are coming this summer to D.C. taxis: Big, bulky analog meters, similar to meters found in cabs worldwide, will be replaced by a new digital pay platform using either a tablet or smartphone.
D.C.’s more than 8,000 taxi drivers have until the end of August to dump the traditional meter and begin using a digital app, not unlike what’s used by Uber and Lyft.
Regulators say taxis need the modernization and innovation.
“It is important that taxicabs survive in this new transportation ecosystem. Taxicabs are the backbone of our transportation system, providing over 16 million rides in the District of Columbia,” said Ernest Chrappah, director of D.C.’s Department of For-Hire Vehicles.
The changeover to digital payment is expected to benefit both taxi operators and passengers.
“It will streamline the taxi experience. When you get in the vehicle, you can choose to pay by cash or you can choose to pay by digital means: Tap and go with your phone or dip your credit card, and you are out,” Chrappah said.
D.C. will be the first major U.S. city to shift its taxi fleet to digital meters.