D.C.

Uber fare minimum legislation dropped until November

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The battle that has pitted city leaders and established taxicab services in the District of Columbia is being put off until November.

A $15 fare minimum for Uber in D.C. had been proposed. Photo: ABC 7

D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh announced Tuesday morning that the she's pulling legislation that would have put a minimum on fares for the Uber car services, ABC 7 and WTOP's Mark Segraves reports.

Saying that she is "flabbergasted but flexible" on the car service that has risen in popularity across the city, Cheh says that the council will revisit the fare minimum as standalone legislation later this year.

The move can be seen as a victory for Uber and its supporters, whose public outcry garnered attention from city leaders. The move by the D.C. Council would have installed a $15 minimum on Uber's services in the city.

It seems you see a lot of taxis in D.C. - just not when you need one. That's were Uber comes in, along with a smart phone app that allows you to track the luxury limousines.

"You couldn't ask for anything better," Uber passenger Mike Needham said. "It's an air-conditioned limo on a 103-degree day.

Needham uses Uber's services to get around the city. He's not too trilled with the council's consideration of a mandate on what Uber can charge him.

"I think it's outrageous. How can the city council tell me what I have to pay?" Neeham said.

Uber's service is booming in cities across the country. It arrived in D.C. in December with hundreds of limos. A fare minimum is something the company hadn't run into, though, until it got to Washington. The fare minimum would have roughly been five times the base fare for a taxi.

Uber is considering introducing Uber X Hybrid service in the city, which would cost less, but the council's actions could have killed the move.

"A $15 price minimum means that there are people who don't ride with us today who would ride with us if they were at a lower cost," Uber D.C. GM Rachel Holt said.

D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans said, "I received over 5,000 e-mails from people who use this service."

Some Council actually attested to the merits of Uber.

"Uber's an exciting new service that is offered to the residents of our city. It is one that I have used, and I believe that, you know, it is one that will be increasingly used," Councilmember David Catania explained. 

The flood of complaints from Uber customers prompted council to reconsider - at least for now.

Uber thinks it is in a better position to set its price than the city government, but cab drivers think council is heading in the right direction.

ABC 7/WTOP's Mark Segraves contributed to this report.

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