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D.C. taxicab dome lights require installation by Friday night

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Patience is short for Javid Iqbal after working 16 to 17 hours a day. His job is to install the new D.C.-mandated dome lights on taxicabs, and he’s taking no guff from drivers.

"I want him to do the sealing…so we can pass inspection," says Grand Cab driver, Eskinder Kifetew.

He claims the $475 installation lacks a required sticker, so some cabs are failing city inspection. But Iqbal insists he is following Taxi Commission guidelines -- and to that end, drivers have been waiting at his shop, sometimes for days.

"It's about four days," said cab driver Tevebe Abede.

The new light is supposed to make it easier to hail a taxi and eliminate complaints from riders, and cabbies have had since July to get in compliance.

The catch? If the cabs get impounded for not following guidelines, it's the driver's fault. In fact, hack inspectors can now impound even if the cab is not in use.

"They impound the car for one week, you have to pay all the dues for the car, then they release the car," explained Muhammad Arif.

But tempers are flaring because the ultimatum is to install the dome by Friday night or keep your taxi parked until it is installed.

"What am I going to say? Financially I'm going down," said Abede.

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