WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA9) - Monday at 11:00 p.m., WUSA9 is launching a new mobile site that will target discriminatory DC cabs and present more hidden camera documentation of black passengers not being served.
The WUSA9 initiative will document taxi behavior and help consumers fight back against taxi discrimination.
Watch the video to see clips or our latest undercover taxi investigation, our December hidden camera operation and a one-on-one interview with DC's Taxi Commissioner .
Our December investigation showed black passengers were half as likely to be taken to their destination by DC cabbies.
District of Columbia Taxi Commission Chairman Ron Linten said the Commission is relying on consumers to complain and when they do, he says he'll hold them accountable with fines up to $500.
When he sat down with WUSA9, he said he wasn't surprised by our December investigation's findings and that he is committed to ensuring everyone in DC can get a cab.
Question: Your insight into the community is so important because the night I called you and told you about our test, um you didn't seem surprised at our numbers
Chairman: No, no, in fact I was surprised they were that good
Question: So why aren't you out there doing that test?
Chairman: Going out there and doing the test doesn't really do anything for us.
We get a complainant, we don't' have to do a test if we have a complainant
Question: So you are telling me if people complain you are going to follow through?
Oh, oh, we do
Chairman: That is the biggest thing, the most complaints we get is from that. And yes we do, we are overloaded with our complaint activities
Question: And do you have enough staff to handle those complaints?
Chairman: Well yeah but we are right at the brink and if we increase the amount then no we will won't.
Doing the test will already confirm what we know. It's finding the ones that haven't gotten the message and it's getting the passenger to understand their rights. I gotta get my black passengers to understand, open that door and sit down in the back seat and shut that door, tell the driver where you want to go. That is the way the regulation reads. As soon as the vehicle stops, open that door.
Question: But what people are telling me is drivers are not letting them in, drivers are keeping them out until they tell them their destination.
They are locking the door before they can open it
Chairman: Get the name and the number on the cab because locking the door is a violation. They can't do that. And we make it very clear to the drivers that come in here on those charges. (:10) You elected this profession as a way to make your money and you agreed to a set of rules under which you would operate and you are not doing it. They can't take that position. They said they want to do this, here are the rules they study them, they get tested on them, there is no excuse for not for refusing a haul
If you've got a complaint against a DC Taxicab, you MUST file it in writing and you MUST include the name of the operator, the tag number, date and time of the incident.
Experience taxi discrimination? Click here to link to the DC Taxi Complaint Form: http://dctaxi.dc.gov/webform/dctaxi-complaint-form