Things are often slow to change in the District of Columbia. Citizens of DC didn’t get the right to vote for the president until the 1960s, and they still don’t have representation in Congress. Even the taxis have been saddled with outdated technology. For decades the taxis in DC didn’t have meters. Instead, the city was divided into zones, and trips from one zone to another cost a flat fee. Not surprisingly, the politicians drew up these oddly shaped zones in order to minimize the cost of riding to and from their most frequent haunts.
Fortunately, that changed in 2008 when DC cabs switched from zones to meters. And now the city is about to leap into the 21st century with the chance for citizens of the District (and visitors, too) to hail a taxi right from their smartphones. Now, of course, there’s an app for that.
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The new UberTAXI app allows users to order a car service right from their smartphones. They can order a sedan from Uber for a premium charge or they request haul a regular taxi, tacking on just a few extra dollars as a service fee.
Users of this service should be warned, though. That service fee is a $2 charge and the company also tacks on a 20 percent tip on top of your fare. But the tradeoff, of course, is ensuring that you will be able to find a cab when you need it, while avoiding the hassle of standing out on the corner in the cold or rain.
DC’s city council approved the app for use within the District, although Uber is facing a host of charges in the city of Toronto. If it can succeed in the nation’s capital, though, expect to see Uber in more cities across the United States. But don’t mix the taxi app up with your favorite word game – I don’t think UBER is a legal play in Words With Friends…