WASHINGTON — Thousands of D.C. residents who have trouble getting around have something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving: After public protests, the District is reversing cuts to a discounted taxicab program for paratransit riders.
Beginning Dec. 1, the Transport DC program will again provide rides for any purpose for the first 15 days of each month. The rest of the month, the $5 cab rides will remain limited to work-related and medical trips.
After a public outcry, the Bowser administration has reversed cuts to a popular, on-demand taxicab service for people with disabilities and senior citizens.
Citing a lack of funding, the District scaled back the Transport DC program on Oct. 3 for the second time in 15 months, restricting customers to trips to only jobs and medical appointments. Even worse, the cutback came without warning, stranding people who had taken the subsidized $5 cab ride to an appointment that very morning.
But as of Dec. 1, Transport DC will return to providing trips to any destination during the first 15 days of each month. Only trips to employment or medical services will be allowed during the remainder of each month through September 2018.
As technology brings us Uber, Lyft and self-driving cars, there may be decreased need for parking garages — but more need for designated pickup/drop-off points, similar to cab stands.
As CNN put it, “some of the hottest real estate in cities right now is curbspace.” CNN reports that Uber recently worked with the City of Fort Lauderdale to identify hot spots for pickups and drop-offs on Las Olas Boulevard, one of the city’s main drags. The street is undergoing a retail renaissance, as new stores and restaurants have opened to meet demand from an influx of downtown residents. A June report by the Downtown Development Authority noted that there were 1,663 residential units under construction and another 5,459 approved units in the development pipeline.
Uber has signed a deal with Volvo for 24,000 XC90 sport-utility vehicles for delivery between 2019 and 2021. With this deal—worth about $1 billion—Uber is essentially betting the company on a self-driving future.
When it comes to developing innovative transportation strategies and providing customers more convenient, comfortable and safe access to rides, the D.C. Department of For-Hire Vehicles regards itself as a global leader.
To that end, the department’s aggressive strategy over the past two years has aimed to be a model for forward-thinking governments adopting plans to treat transportation as a service.
“We are a disruptor of the status quo,” said DFHV Director Ernest Chrappah. “I know that sounds strange coming from someone who works for a government agency that is a regulator. Well, welcome to a new day. The Department of For-Hire Vehicles has moved on well beyond the image of the D.C. Taxi Commission. DFHV is a nimble, enabler of change, that is creating new economic opportunities.”