Thursday, January 20, 2011


"Hello Mad Cabbie,

I live in Georgetown and I do quite a lot of business travel. In most major cities the cabs accept credit card and it makes it really convenient for people like myself to use my company's credit account to expense all my travel costs. It really doesn't make any sense that majority of the cabs in one of the most important cities in the world (Washington, DC) don't accept credit cards. I know that there are cost associated with the card readers and commissions to the bank, but at the same time wouldn't be to the drivers interest not to carry a lot of cash and more passenger traffic because of the credit cards? It just doesn't make any business sense not to accept credit card these days! Please explain Mad Cabbie, you probably know somethings I don't.

Your blog rocks man, I thought you stopped writing, it just happened a friend of mine emailed me a link about your new years eve post which was one of your funniest post. Keep on blogging you might end up doing something great out of this blog.


CJ from Georgetown."

Thanks for your email CJ. I am one of those drivers that don't take plastics. In my case just for one reason and one reason only, COST! Majority of my night riders pay me in cash, okay maybe few in food stamps so I really don't want to spend money on equipment, commission and other wireless access fees, I am just a natural born bean counter. But if I drove during the day time and do a lot of airport runs I would definitely have one of those wireless CC scanners.

District of Columbia Taxicab Commission doesn't have a law that enforce taxis to accept credit cards, at least not yet so it's completely up to the driver to accept credit cards or not. Some drivers don't have good credit score and don't want to pay the higher commission rate to the banks, sometimes as high as 8% . The culture of paying cab rides with credit cards in DC is not really catching on yet, so some drivers are waiting until the demand justifies the cost.

People have creative ways paying  for their cab rides. I remember few years ago some dude offered me a set of steak knives he just stole from a store for a ride to Michigan Park and I took on his offer. I gave those same set as a weeding gift a year later. Of course there is that old bullshit story that every cab driver tell, "...she didn't have cash for the fare so I let her give me a blow-job!" That never happened to me so far and it will never will unless she is one toothless crack-head bitch.

CJ, unfortunately for the time being it's not going to be easy finding a DC cabbie that would accept your corporate credit card. Maybe in a couple of years or so but for now you have a better chance of paying for your fare by carrying a set of steak knives in your brief-case.

Please don't forget the homeless,

Mad Cabbie.


Peggy said...

Cash works. It is immediate and you can't cancel the transaction later from another location. A credit card is one step removed from actually paying for services recieved. Man up and hand over cash!

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine any DC cabbie installing these machines with the fare being so low. If the DC big shots want Cabbies to install these things then they have to look into the fares. Till then Cash, a sac of rice, steak knives,..... it should be.


Anonymous said...

I know it'll cost you $2 more, but if you really want to pay by credit card, call one of the bigger companies (Diamond, Yellow) and specifically ask to pay by cc. They'll send someone to pick you up who has cc capability in their car. And if you're expensing it, the extra $2 for calling for the cab won't matter to you anyway!

Pastor Joe said...

Zebra, don't forget that most dc cabbies are on the run from the law and they don't want that paper trail from the transaction.

I remember there used to be this guy I used to pick up from TGI Fridays and he used to pay me with shit load of food.

Diamond888 said...

Couple of days ago I picked up a fare to Dulles at 8:23 am that paid me $41 and by the time I got back to town after fighting traffic it was almost 10:30 and all the rush-our businesses were gone. Like you mentioned in one of your posts, we take home about 60 cents on the dollar and that means I made about $12/hr on that stressfull run. CJ it doesn't make any business sense with these low fare rates for us to accept credit cards for now. Like Moi said, if people want the convience of charging their cards, we have to be paid accordingly. This same ride I did for $41 costs $56 with a Virginia cab, if we get paid like that, then we can afford to be nickeled and dimed by the bank.

brokemoto said...

The new Taxi Technology that is coming has a tarjeta de credito feature that is similar to that in
New York and Philadelphia where the customer pays a surcharge for using his card. When the DCTC compels its use, it should allow for a sign in the cab that advises the customer that he will pay one dollar, two dollars or whatever the surcharge is. The receipt should also reflect that.

There are some cabs on the street that already have this new technology. It has the screen similar to that in New York. Supposedly, it even contains basic hard and soft ware for a satellite dispatch system.

I would hope that this would not be the City's first step in going to a Unified Dispatch System. The drawbacks of this are obvious. If anyone listened to Kojo on WAMU last week, they had a segment on the cabs that focused on what is going on in Prince George's County. There, the dispatch system is effectively unified, as there is only one guy who runs a dispatch system to which all the drivers who want dispatch subscribe. Currently, there is no other choice either to consumer or driver. There are numerous complaints about adequacy of service from the public. Since there is only one place to call to get a cab out there, if you do not like the way that they treat you, you can not take your business elsewhere.

In the City, that option is still open. If those in gubbamint who want this get their way, the only place that you could go for a dispatched taxicab would be the gubbamint. No one in his right mind wants the gubbamint as his only choice. If a private company in PG is the only choice and it is supposed to be bad, think of what the gubbamint could do.

I must wonder, though: if the service is bad in PG County, there must be numerous uncovered requests for service. Anyone who knows the dispatch business knows that when you can not cover service requests, there is a lack of drivers to cover them. If there is so much business in PG County, why are there so many PG cabs working in the City?

Why does the City tolerate vehicles working in the City when those vehicles pay no fees to it? Why do the Harrassment Inspectors concentrate on writing fines for legitimate City drivers and ignore unlicenced drivers in City cabs and suburban cabs working openly in the City. Why do the Authorities give you a song and a dance about how they can do nothing to these lawbreakers while their lackeys write you summons after summons for real and trumped up violations?

It will NEVER cease to amaze me how MUCH they can due to me, someone who makes every effort to follow the law; and; how LITTLE they can do to those who blatantly violate the law.

Anonymous said...

Dude, I respect that you have been keeping this awesome blog for five years and stayed anonymous and shunned your publicity, but PLEASE, Mad -- at ten years, come out of anonymity and let someone pay you big bucks to turn this shit into a TV show or movie. You're like a less violent, hilarious cab-centered version of The Wire.