Sound Familiar? New App Orders D.C. Taxis, Pays Fares, Via Smartphone | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Sound Familiar? New App Orders D.C. Taxis, Pays Fares, Via Smartphone

Play associated audio
A new smartphone app called myTaxi allows people to order a cab via smartphone in D.C.
Victoria Pickering: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vpickering/4040551209/
A new smartphone app called myTaxi allows people to order a cab via smartphone in D.C.

One of the biggest gripes about D.C.'s taxicabs is that so few of them accept credit cards, but that may change starting today.

The D.C. Council passed regulations last spring requiring all cabs to have credit card machines, but the changeover has since been mired in red tape. The D.C. government is still trying to settle a dispute among contractors who bid on the $35 million contract to install new credit card readers in the city's cabs.  

A new myTaxi smartphone app launching in D.C. allows customers to order a ride on a smartphone — much like the smartphone-based Uber service, which has caused some consternation among the city's cab drivers. myTaxi's GPS will locate the nearest taxi and send the driver a notification on his smartphone, and the driver has five seconds to accept. Payment is made at the end of the trip using the passenger's previously approved credit card.

"We support Visa and Mastercard, or if you are with PayPal you can also store your PayPal account," says myTaxi spokeswoman Lina Wuller. She notes that the GPS feature of that app means that a person doesn't need to have an exact address to order a taxi — which is the case with Uber. 

Passengers can begin downloading the app today, but it's still unclear how many taxis are actually participating. Wuller declines to disclose how many taxi drivers have signed up, but she does introduce one of them, taxi driver Masood Medgalchi.

Medgalchi is also active in the D.C. Professional Taxicab Drivers Association, which opposes the Taxicab Commission's proposed reforms, including the plan to install the credit card machines.

"We were trying to be proactive about what the government of the District wanted us to do without having the government impose on us," he says.

Medgalchi's group calls the credit card system the district is attempting to push into taxis "antiquated." It's also on hold until the District clears up a dispute over what company should install the card readers.

NPR

A 'Lasciviously LA' Lunch With Crime Novelist James Ellroy

Ellroy's new novel, Perfidia, follows the Los Angeles police response to a brutal murder on the eve of Pearl Harbor. In a vintage steakhouse, the author discusses the book and his tech-free lifestyle.
NPR

Reality Check For Young Farmers: It's An Expensive 'Habit'

More young people are trying their hand at farming, hoping to make a living out of it. But, as it turns out, passion and grit are just a few of the prerequisites for success.
NPR

Clintons Return To Iowa To Rally Democratic Hopefuls

The Clintons are back in Iowa at an event that is the place to see and be seen for ambitious Democrats. NPR's Arun Rath talks with national political correspondent Don Gonyea.
NPR

Gaming Expert: Destiny Is Good, But 'There's Not Much There'

The much-anticipated video game, Destiny, was released this week. NPR's Lynn Neary speaks with gaming expert Adam Sessler about the new game and whether it was worth all the hype.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.