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Over 4,000 Taxicabs Request 30-Day Extension On Credit Card Mandate

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Some D.C. taxicabs will take credit cards at the end of August, but the majority won't take plastic until a month later.
Victoria Pickering: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vpickering/4040551209/
Some D.C. taxicabs will take credit cards at the end of August, but the majority won't take plastic until a month later.

Over 4,000 of D.C.'s 6,500 taxicabs have applied for a 30-day extension on the requirement that they accept credit cards by Sept. 1, again delaying the rollout of the long-awaited and much-demanded payment option.

The deadline to apply for an extension to the city mandate was Thursday at midnight. To qualify for the extension, approved payment service providers (PSPs)—the companies that provide the hardware for drivers to take credit cards—had to prove that they had signed contracts and scheduled an installation with drivers. If they could do that, they would be given an additional month to install the needed hardware.

According to Neville Waters, spokesman for the D.C. Taxicab Commission, PSPs filed requests for extensions on behalf of 4,200 drivers. Waters said that 2,500 drivers would be able to accept credit cards by the end of August, while the remaining taxicabs would have until the end of September to come into compliance.

In recent weeks taxicab drivers had complained that they were being pushed too quickly into choosing and installing a PSP to accept credit cards. D.C. had pre-approved 10 PSPs, but drivers said that a Sept. 1 date for taking credit cards didn't leave them time to shop around and get the credit card readers installed.

D.C. officials have been pushing for credit card payment options since mid-2012, and originally signed a $35 million contract with a single PSP that all taxicab drivers would be required to use. That contract was nullified on a technicality, and officials opted instead to allow taxicab drivers to choose their own PSPs.

This year, city officials had initially promised that taxicabs would take credit cards by June, but that deadline was later moved back.

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