VIRGINIA

Alexandria council requires all taxis to install credit card machines

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Credit card readers will soon be going into all cabs in Alexandria. Many customers are praising the change, but some drivers are upset about the upgrade.

Cab driver Bernard Halterman has become used to accepting credit cards from passengers, but to him the old way is still the best way.

"Cash is always king," he says.

Halterman has been driving for White Top Taxi in Alexandria for nine years. He understands the convenience of cards for passengers, but for him they mean less cash for gas and repairs, and much more hassle.

"I have to take my time to go to the bank. The other thing is the credit card company takes out five percent," he says. "So if I make a $100 dollar run that's $5 out of my pocket."

Several cab companies in Alexandria already accept credit cards. But after more than a year and a half of back and forth negotiations, the city council last night approved a plan requiring all of the nearly 250 cabs in the city to accept cards beginning in September.

In a victory for cab drivers and companies, they will not have to use a specific credit card machine.

Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille says this move will make things much easier for tourists, and for business travelers going to and from the airport.

"It saves time, it saves money," says Euille. "It's about convenience to the passenger, and it's also about quality of service on the part of the company."

"I think that's fabulous," says Robert Goler of Arlington. "It's great for consumers."

Goler says any time he takes cabs on business trips, he prefers plastic over paper.

"Change is difficult and I sympathize with cab drivers, but that's where we're going," Goler says.

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