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After Years Of Delays, D.C. Taxicabs Now Accept Credit Cards

No cash, no problem—D.C. taxicabs have to take credit cards starting today.
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No cash, no problem—D.C. taxicabs have to take credit cards starting today.

Starting today every taxicab on the streets in D.C. must accept credit card and smartphone payments.

D.C cabbies have had since June to install credit card readers, one piece of the D.C. Taxicab Commission's drive to modernize the taxi fleet. Despite a lot of reluctance and confusion that led to two extensions, most met today's deadline.

"It is here now, so we just dealin' with it. That's the only way I look at it now," said one driver outside Union Station. "They say that's the law, that's law. That's it, man."

The Taxicab Commission has warned drivers it will impound their vehicles if they pick up passengers without the new devices. However, regulators will consider on a case-by-case basis whether a cabbie was denied a "reasonable opportunity"—as they put it—to install the mandatory credit card readers. Commission Chairman Ron Linton says about 80 percent of taxis will be in compliance.

"It will exceed 5,200," he says.

There are roughly 6,500 taxis licensed in Washington. That should be a sufficient number of vehicles to serve the market.

The commission estimates fewer than 200 drivers were affected by an installation company pulling out of a contract, and they will be eligible for more time to get their credit card readers installed. Linton says five other companies have additional capacity to help cabbies come on board.

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