Task Force Recommends New D.C. Taxi, Limousine Office

Posted on June 20, 2002 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

A task force report set up by Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams suggests the chairman of the D.C. Taxicab Commission should not oversee the daily operations of the taxi and limousine industry, according to a story in the Washington Post.

A draft summary of the task force report recommends the panel should be responsible for handling policy matters and resolving complaints. These suggestions are intended as a blueprint for a system revamp, the first in 17 years, to regulate for-hire car service in the District. Williams has openly questioned the need for the city?s taxi commission in its current form.

Among other suggestions, the task force report recommends handing down the chair?s operational responsibilities to the newly created position of director of the Office of Taxicabs. This position would also manage the testing, training and licensing of drivers and the enforcement of industry regulations. This director would report to the chair, which would report to a member of the executive branch of the D.C. government.

The report also recommends reducing the size of the mayor-appointed commission from nine to seven and cutting terms to three years, with a maximum of two consecutive terms allowed. The number of hack inspectors would go from nine to 20.

According to the Washington Post, who obtained a copy of the report, the summary says the commission has failed in its mission to achieve efficient regulation and ?fallen far short of the mark? in promoting policies to modernize the fleet and improving service quality.

Commission Chairman Lee E. Williams would not comment on the report, claiming he had not yet read it. Causton A. Toney, the Mayor?s person responsible for taxi issues, also would not comment saying the mayor had not been briefed on the report. The D.C. Council must approve any restructuring of the commission.

Officials said the report was ready at least one month ago, but its release was delayed because the task force could not meet with the mayor to discuss the suggestions. A June 21 appointment was canceled and another meeting has not been scheduled.

(for more on this story, see the August issue of LCT)

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