Dear Mad DC Cabbie,
I have a question I'm hoping you can answer, because I can't find an answer anywhere and it's driving me nuts! What's the rule in DC for passengers that get out of the cab at 2 different locations?
A few nights ago I got into a cab at 28th & Calvert NW with my husband and a friend. My friend got out at 10th & M, and me and my husband got out 7 blocks later at 10th & E. The driver insisted that we all pay full fare from 28th & Calvert - my friend paid $9.80 when she got out, and then he made us pay an additional $11.30 when we got out! So the driver actually got paid twice for the first part of the trip (from 28th & Calvert to 10th & M), and made $21.10 for a 2-zone trip. This seemed like a huge rip-off to us, and we tried to argue that it didn't make sense, but the driver told us he out-ranked us so what could we do?
After reading the rules posted on the DC Taxi Cab Commission website, I think the correct calculation should have been $9.80 for the 2-zone trip + $3 for the 2 additional passengers + $1 for making a stop along the way - a one-time charge of $13.80, due at the end of the ride.
Or, if the driver insisted on treating it like 2 separate trips (which I still think is a rip-off), the only way it makes sense is if he charges the first passenger $12.80 for the frist 2-zone trip (from 28th & Calvert to 10th & M, with 3 passengers in the cab), and then charges me and my husband $7.50 for the second 1-zone trip (from 10th & M to 10th & E). That's still $20.30 for a 2-zone ride . . . I don't think that's what the DC Taxi Cab Commission intended when it wrote the rules, but it makes a LITTLE bit more sense than pretending it was 2 separate trips from 28th & Calvert and charging us twice.
If you could help me understand this, I would really appreciate it!
It's a very good question and you are not the only one! It drives lots of people nuts! I do have a surprise answer for you. Your driver is right!
The driver actually was completely honest with you guys! The DCTC law states that if passengers have different destination it is considered two separate fares starting from the ORIGINAL PICKUP POINT. The driver is 100% correct by charging your friend the full $9.80 (Two zones to 10th and M) and also charged you and your husband $11.30 (Two zones plus extra passenger surcharge) and the total of $21.10 is exactly right.
It is set up that way so people can't take advantage and abuse the flat based zone system by riding in groups and have the driver drop them all over the place with in the same zone for just an extra $1.50 per passenger. Let me give you a scenario: Let's say you and your four other friends were picked up from 28th and Calvert by Mad Cabbie (God Forbid) after a party and all five of you have 5 different destination; first fare: 21st and Mass, 2nd fare: 19th and E, 3rd fare: 15th and K , 4th fare:10th and E and the 5th fare ends up near Union Station....All of these drop off points are within a second zone even though I was all over downtown! And if this run is considered one run it will only pays me $15.80 ($9.80 plus $6.00 for four extra passenger surcharge) since we don't have a running meter to account for all those time consuming detours. That is the reason why different destination are separate fares. But as long as you have the same pickup point and same destinations, no matter the size of the group it is one fare plus the extra passenger surcharge.
I know it's a pain in the ass but that's how it is, DC cabbies dream of these kind of fares especially during the weekends where group rides with different stops are plenty. Passengers feel that they are being ripped off, but legally I can charge $49 (9.80 times 5 passengers) for the above scenario I created.
The fare calculator doesn't have the program to calculate multiple leg trips, thats why you got the incorrect fare total. Pretty soon we all don't have to worry about the zones anymore although I doubt they will manage to have all DC cabs equipped with meters by April 6th. The inefficient DC goverment don't have any private shops certified yet for the meter installment process.
I hope I have answered your question.
Please don't forget the homeless,