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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  • nattral

    Cab drivers in this area are a joke. I never have an issue flagging one down but the fact that they don’t accept credit cards in 2013 is ridiculous!! I was excited when the DC commission reported that DC cabs would start taking credit cards. But apparently it’s not being enforced and they had to the nerve to increase rates. I recently stopped giving tips to drivers who don’t accept credit cards. I’m paying you for a service and shouldn’t be inconvenienced by stopping at the ATM before reaching my destination.

  • Just saying

    Completely agree! The worst is at night when the metro has stopped running.

    Once in NY, NO cab would stop for me and 2 friends. We ask the police (black) why, and he literally tells us, “it’s because you’re black”!!

    How is it so commonly known that even a black officer can say that in the most nonchalant way possible?! SMH It’s crazy

  • This is why I use UBER. I can call my cab from my phone and not have to deal with the nonsense. The same issue occurs in New York.

  • Apple Pie

    Just right now, this same station (Fox 5 News D.C.) gave breaking news regarding a cab driver who was shot early this morning (3 a.m) by two black males. He picked them up and they tried to rob him. They shot him 20 times!!!! I find it ironic that the news station just ran an investigation as to how many Blacks were discriminated against (mostly males) when it comes to catching a cab. Although many did not like what the poster “Andrea” had to say, she was blunt and honest. As a person who was born and raised (and still living) in the D.C. area, I know that the characters we have running on these streets can be something else. Every 2 weeks or so, Fox 5 news has a story about a cab driver being stabbed or attacked. I’m serious. Cab drivers are at risk while on duty. It is only to their advantage and best interest that they screen and pick who they feel is “safe” for them to carry. Many obviously have experienced bad situations regarding black patrons, so most likely this is the route they take.

    The cab driver who was shot was from Nigeria. If he discriminated and decided not to stop and pick up those two men, everyone would be saying how he is “prejudice”. Now this man has lost his life and leaves behind a wife and 5 children. I bet that the only reason he stopped to pick up those two men (at 3 a.m in the morning mind you) was because of the investigation that was done. Go figure…

  • Apple Pie

    Here is the link in case anyone wanted the detailed story:

    Read more:

    Sorry if I misquoted, but the police officers were the ones shot at 20 times when chasing the two men. The cab driver died from a single gunshot wound to the shoulder. But interestingly, check out what the other cab drivers had to say. They were quoted as saying:

    “This is very terrible because he is one of the few guys that he will not pass anybody. He stops for everyone, he stops for anyone”.

    “I tell you, all cab drivers are scared for this to happen, because say for $10 or $15 fee, not justified to die”.

    Why would cab drivers make make unjustifiable statements such as these? Shouldn’t it leave one to believe that these cab drivers know it is risky for them to stop for certain individuals? Don’t you think experience has led them to behave in this manner?