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Meters vs the DC Taxicab Zone System

Karl Rudder

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What is the merit of having a "written survey from drivers and a telephone survey of DC residents" by the DC Taxicab Commission when neither group have ever been informed of the corrupt origin of the unique DC taxicab zone system?

Judge Adkins 75 years ago upheld the initial government decision(PUC order no.956 11/6/31)which listed 20 reasons THAT DENIED ANY VERSION OF THE ZONE SYSTEM to replace meters with his ruling,"In my view the zone system is only a means to exploit the labor of the driver." (PURC 1932 pgs.17,19)The white cab drivers were being exploited by the use of the zone system in 1931 and only white people were receiving discriminative taxicab service and the system therefore denied the use of the zone system in the overtly racist period of the early 1930's. PUC order no.956 reasons 4,5,6,and many other of the 20 reasons on PUC order no. 956 clearly justified their decision to deny the use of the zone system due to it being stated that the "zone system is discriminatory!"

Who do you think they were talking about as being subject to discriminative taxicab service during the overtly period of 1931 when this country had yet to come close to challenging "colored restrooms" and we were decades away from receiving the courage of Rosa Parks?

The current predominantly Afro-American residents of DC and taxicab drivers as well as every other specimen of the Human Race living in DC deserve to be clearly enlightened of the undeniable facts of this issue before they are asked to express their opinion of whether DC should use a meter or continue to use the zone system.


The Wash.Post editorials "Taxicab Rider" of 11/13/71 or the recent Post editorial of 08/02/07 entitled "Taxi" and an article by Post reporter Ashlee Clark on 8/08/07 continue to fail to responsibly refer to the initial and still standing decisions against the use of the zone system. "Why?

Believe it or not Yolanda Woodlee and other Post reporters if not Carol Schwartz and other DC City Council have responded to my research or testimony by arrogantly and very indifferently informing me that, "DC residents don't want to hear about what happened in 1931." The essential facts of an issue should always be examined in my scale of values. What about yours? American Justice has often boasted that the jury will be allowed to know all the facts of a case before they are asked to express a verdict on a case. Right?

Congress dismissed the professional services of the Public Service Commission to be responsible for regulating the DC Taxicab Industry in 1987 and strangely created the very costly DC Taxicab Commission. This political trick has insured that for the past 20 years Congress has been able to maintain an unprofessional address to the "regulation" of the DC taxicab industry. Congress does not even allow the IRS to have on their agenda any jurisdiction on the taxable income of the DC taxicab industry!


John E Rudder helped address this issue by doing his best to form a representative Union of DC taxicab drivers and held such a successful strike in late 1971 that Sen. Inouye began a series of Congressional hearings on the unique DC taxicab zone system. Congress has since insisted on referring this issue to the DC City Council. Has the DC City Council or the DC Taxicab Commission ever held popular and intense hearings that allowed you to know of the corrupt origin of the unique DC taxicab zone system?

The complexity of this issue should not overlook that there is still a complete failure of there being a representative Union of DC Taxicab drivers that provides essential benefits to its members.

The 5-8 individuals presenting themselves to the DC Taxicab Comm. and the DC City Council as being representatives of 5-8 different "Unions" of DC taxicab drivers must be openly challenged.

A true Union effectively representing the needs of a majority of full time drivers must exist before DC residents and tourists to DC will ever receive professional taxicab service.


"The case for meters is so apparent that it begs the question of sanity to think otherwise."

John E. Rudder

(" Ban on Meters since '32 Will be Challenged" Washington Post 12/07/01)

Edited by Karl Rudder
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