April 29, 2008

Poor, Poor Cabbies

By: Sonny Bunch

If you’ve lived in DC for any considerable period of time, you have a cabbie horror story. I have several, but my favorite involves almost getting into a fistfight with one who called my girlfriend “a crazy b-tch.” The rest involve cabbies refusing to pick me up, or take me to my destination, or overcharging me by a zone. Pretty standard stuff.

Which makes me oh-so-overjoyed that cabbies have been forced by the DC government (with a little push from Sen. Carl Levin and an assist from the DC courts) to install meters in their hacks. Now normally, as a conservative, I oppose increasing the burdens on small businesses–for the most part, the cabdrivers are independent operators struggling just to get by. They have to pay for the new meters out of pocket, and the fares appear to be lower now than they used to be.

But I don’t care. I hate the majority of the cabbies in this city with the intensity of 1,000 burning suns. For every decent driver there are ten more who either don’t know the city, don’t understand the zone system, or are more than happy to lie, cheat, and steal their way to an extra $2.20. (Not to mention the fact that tourists who don’t get the zone system are routinely abused by unscrupulous drivers. You’ll have more luck finding an honest cabbie in Eastern Europe than our nation’s capital.) This is one instance of government intervention I whole-heartedly support.