Model Pro-Innovation, Pro-Consumer Legislation from Washington, DC

The Public Vehicle-for-Hire Innovation Amendment Act of 2012

Model Pro-Innovation, Pro-Consumer Legislation from Washington, DC

The bill passed by the DC Council is a legislative framework that is pro-innovation, pro-consumer, and pro-driver. It will improve transportation in the District and serve as an innovative regulatory model for city transportation across the country. Some of the highlights include:

Transparency in consumer pricing:

  • Receipts required (electronic or paper)
  • Receipts provide trip info including pickup and drop off, breakdown of fare
  • Ability to get fare estimate before booking vehicles and access to rate structure

Regulatory process must be transparent and in best interest of the public:

  • Regulations can only be issued if they are attributed to improving customer or driver safety
  • No limit on number of cars unless approved by both Taxi Commission and DC Council
  • Digital dispatch services must work with licensed for-hire providers of transportation
  • Digital dispatchers are not transportation companies:  they must be licensed by the city like all businesses (and require no license from transportation regulators)

Increases the supply of vehicles-for-hire:

  • Single operator licence for all for-hire vehicles (taxi, sedan, limo)
  • Ability to convert a vehicle from limousine or taxi to sedan
  • Sedans operate exclusively through digital dispatch, and are not  allowed to accept street hails
  • Sedans are only able to charge on basis of time and distance (except well-travelled routes that can have a flat rate)
  • Strong incentive for Taxi Commission to begin issuing new operator licenses after four-year hiatus

Protections to increase access and prevent discrimination:

  • Dispatchers to gauge interest in handicap vehicles and look at providing service once supply exists
  • Large sedan companies are required to have wheelchair accessible cars in their fleets
  • Digital dispatch companies must agree to service entire city
  • Digital dispatch companies must provide the ability to report discrimination
  • Uber adds anti-discrimination clause to agreement with drivers
  • Commission can request census-level data from sedan companies to identify underserved areas
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