Posted at 3:39 p.m. on July 10, 2012
If the D.C. City Council learned anything during the past 24 hours, it’s this: Don’t mess with Washingtonians’ affordable limo services.
Councilwoman Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) proposed legislation Monday that would impose a minimum fare of $15 for the startup cab service Uber, or five times larger than the base D.C. taxi fare. (Uber dispatches those omnipresent black sedans and SUVs to customers in the District and limited surrounding areas of Virginia and Maryland for a current base fare of $15.)
Upon hearing news of the legislation, many Washingtonians — and even a Member of Congress — took to Twitter to voice their outrage that the city was trying to price out an affordable limo service from the market in order to protect the city’s finicky cabbies.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) tweeted about the issue from his official Twitter handle @Jasoninthehouse, “Uber fans unite! D.C. Council wants to keep fares high. This is wrong! #UberDClove”
So did NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Luke Russert. After tweeting a link to the news that the council dropped the language that would hike Uber’s fares, he tweeted: “I’m willing to bet #DC cabbies after 12am will say, ‘cash only, no credit’ or claim that their credit machine ‘is broken.’”
At the end of the day, Cheh caved to Uber’s loyal followers and dropped the proposed legislation from a comprehensive taxi bill.
But not everyone is happy.
Washington Post reporter Tim Craig tweeted that mayor-for-life and Councilman Marion Barry is not a fan of Uber: “Marion Barry said he’s opposed to Uber because its a ‘San Francisco-based company’ and cab drivers ‘don’t need limousines coming in here.’”