DC taxi discrimination and Taxi Commission's response probed by DC Human Rights

7:04 PM, Jan 8, 2014   |    comments
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Video: WUSA9 Reports Lead To New Investigations


WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) - DC's Office of Human Rights has launched a "Director's Inquiry" into discriminatory practices of District taxis and into the Taxicab Commission's handling of racism complaints, according to a letter obtained by WUSA9. 

"DCTC intends to fully and completely respond to the inquiry from OHR," said DC Taxicab Commission Spokesman Neville Waters in an e-mail to WUSA9.

Update:  Shortly after publication of this story, the DCTC issued a statement announcing coming field tests to track drivers refusing passengers calling it "a violation that will not be tolerated."

The OHR letter comes after a year of undercover WUSA9 reports documenting black passengers being repeatedly stranded in favor of white passengers.

Click here to see most recent undercover operation documenting disparity of taxi service to black passengers.

"OHR has been attentive to the taxi-related reporting of Russ Ptacek and WUSA9," Acting Director Monica Palacio wrote in the letter dated January 2, 2014.  "While these efforts have helped raise awareness among District residents, we agree the problem persists and merits investigation."

Palacio was responding to a request from Councilmember Tommy Wells prompted by a WUSA9 story where Taxicab Commission Chairman Ron Linton said he didn't believed the disparity in service was racially motivated.

Linton later issued a statement distancing himself from his comment calling the decision to pass some passengers as "economic."

"My recent comment in a television interview citing economics as a reason for failure to haul was simply incorrect," Linton said. "The Commission is committed to ensuring that taxi drivers realize they are offering a public accommodation and all people have a right to use it."



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