D.C. Taxi Passengers Get a Break

Taxicab Commission Rescinds $1 Fuel Surcharge

District taxicab passengers finally got the monetary relief that area drivers have been experiencing for weeks.

The D.C. Taxicab Commission took emergency action on Dec. 2, to remove the $1 per trip gasoline surcharge.

Leon J. Swain Jr., chairman of the commission, said declining gas prices eliminated the need for the extra charge and ruled that cab drivers are required to remove the Gasoline Surcharge sticker and replace it with a notice outlining the change.

The average price for a gallon of gas in D.C. was around $3 when the surcharge went into effect in late 2007. Today, prices have dropped below $2. Fairfax and Montgomery counties had already lifted fuel surcharges for riders.

Prompted by area residents questioning the need for such a charge when gas prices had dropped significantly, the change took effect less than two days after the decision.

But some riders, although thankful to save a few dollars, were surprised by the change.

“I was actually slightly surprised because I feel like most people had become adjusted to it and stopped noticing,” Columbia Heights resident Averi Thomas-Moore said. “I only noticed because I generally take cabs to the same places, for the same fare.”

The surcharge had been in place since November 2007 when the commission passed a unanimous decision to allow drivers to charge passengers as a way to compensate for rising gas prices. The commission had previously extended the surcharge expiration date twice from its original ending of Jan. 29.