Living in the DC metro area has its fair share of ups and downs. One of the biggest downs? Hailing a taxi while being black.  On several occasions, I’ve attempted to hail taxis in DC, only to have them drive right by and pick up a white person just a few feet ahead of me. At first I thought maybe this was all in my mind. Why would a black (typically West or East African) taxi driver completely ignore me? Aren’t we all the same color? That’s sarcasm because we all know, we can be our worst enemies. Apparently it’s just what they do.  Oh, and if you’re handicap, you’ll get the same treatment.

Thanks to Russ Ptacek, an investigative reporter from WUSA9, I now know I’m not delusional. Take a look at the clip below:

After posting this video on my personal Facebook page, plenty of friends had the same experiences. One friend wrote:

“…aka internalizing the behavior of the oppressor. Once, I hopped in one of the cabs that idle in front of The Mayflower on ConnAve in Farragut North. Driver was from one of the East African nations. Dude actually SCOWLED when I got in, which I ignored. I told him where I was going (just to the West End from there, about 8 blocks or so), then said, “And I will use my credit card,” dude actually tossed his cell phone angrily into the dash, turned around sharply, looked at me and said, “We don’t take credit cards!” This was a full year or so AFTER the taxi commish passed the reg that they ALL HAVE TO TAKE CREDIT CARDS. So I was like, “Oh? REALLY? You mean none of the WHITE CUSTOMERS you pick up here in Farragut North ever use credit cards? Seriously?” He glared at me through the rearview mirror! I got out and went to the cab behind us.”

Well, I guess she was lucky to actually have a chance to get in the taxi.

If you’re in DC and frequently take taxis, here are 5 tips to help you along the way, courtesy of WUSA9.

1)  D.C. cabs may not inquire your destination prior to allowing you inside their cabs.  If they’ve stopped, you’re entitled to your ride.

2)  You have the right to be taken anywhere in the Metro Washington area, including Dulles Airport, Prince Georges, Montgomery, Fairfax, and Arlington Counties, along with the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church.

3)  You are entitled to see the driver’s “face card.”  You’ll want that to report violations.  It is required to be located on the right visor of the front seat (each cab should also have the company name and cab number printed on the door).

4)  You’re entitled to see the cab’s rate card, and a paper copy of the meter’s receipt.

5)  Your can enforce your rights by contacting the DC Taxicab Commission viae-mail:  [email protected] or by calling 202-645-6018


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