Driver News (January 22, 2020)
The Opt-Out Debate: Now that there are no more opt-outs from specific dispatch services we are seeing some drivers refusing to accept trips in certain areas during certain time periods on the assumption that it might be one of those trips. Our mission as a full-service transportation company is to provide service to all our clients and allowing opt-outs is incompatible with that mission. As an independent operator it is your right to accept or deny offered trips but you should be aware how those actions will have an impact you personally, financially and on the business.
On the personal side, the dispatching application captures the percentage of offered trip declined or missed by each driver. The system uses this information to dispatch based on each driver’s performance. It will reward drivers with the highest trip acceptance percentage and penalize or ignore those drivers with lowest trip acceptance percentages. The application, like a radio-dispatcher, is looking to dispatch the trip as quickly as possible to ensure timely pickups. You are better off accepting every or most trips offered to increase your trip offer opportunities.
On the financial side, it has been my observation after fourteen years in the taxicab business, that some drivers who “count their money” at the end of each trip while others tend to follow the trip flow. Drivers who follow the trip flow generally have the highest earning potential over those that count each trip. The goal is to maximize your income potential by accepting and completing every offered trip whether it is short, long, metered or fixed rate. Every day I see drivers ignoring lucrative Cash or Account trips because they believe it is a fixed-rate trip. My advice is to accept every offered trip because you never know what that trip may lead to. The idea should be to keep your cab occupied at all times.
On the business or industry side I keep hearing the argument that drivers should not be forced to run them. Firstly, drivers are NOT being forced to run dispatched trips. Dispatch service is voluntary and drivers signing up for that service can decline to join the company if they disagree with the company’s service policies. Secondly, these City and Federally funded grant programs, generate about 13,000 trips per month for Yellow and have filled some of the losses created by ride-share invasion. There is no dispatch contract or mandate that binds the driver to the company. Trips are offered to the driver and it is your choice accept or decline them. However once you accept the trip you are obligated to run it by both service policy and Title 31 regulation or be subject to penalties because it is considered a refusal to haul. There are remedies in place to resolve any concerns about the trip but there is no remedy for false completing or refusing to run the trip because you do not like the pickup location or the payment rate.
We are all witnessing the steady decline of street hailing. It only shows some life during inclement weather because customers still trust a professional, certified and licensed taxicab driver in those situations. Customers are now accustomed to summoning transportation from their mobile devices and we must compete in that space. Dispatch service is now and the future of the transportation industry. Yellow is transforming from a traditional taxicab company to a full-service transportation service through technology and service. We intend to apply for more of these City and Federally-funded programs as they become available and seek opportunities whether it is food or package delivery. It would not matter if they are fixed rates or metered rate.
Each of you must make an independent decision on whether Yellow direction or service policy fit your needs. We cannot continue to have an argument about opting-out of some services when our mission is to bring more trips to a reviving industry. We depend on a fully engaged fleet to meet the growing service demands. We will always negotiate for the best pay rate whether fixed, metered or mileage trips but we are now actively competing with the ride-haling companies for the same business since they are approved to bid on City and Federal funded programs. Each of you made a personal investment by voluntarily signing up for dispatching and should take full advantage of that investment.
Customer Service: At the end of each trip the customers receive an independent survey to rate the trip. Based on the 5,687 responses received to date the customers give Yellow Cab an overall 4.6-stars rating out of 5-stars. Over 90% of them rated the service between 4 and 5 stars. We are humbled by the results but our mission should be to get a 5-star rating. Let us collectively work to improve and provide an excellent service experience.
Vehicle Age Waiver Inspection Request: Taxicab operators who have vehicles that are older than eight (8) model years but less than ten (10) model years may complete an application to waive the eight-year vehicle age retirement requirement under Title 31 DCMR § 609.3 for one calendar year. To qualify for the waiver, the operator must show proof that the vehicle has been driven no more than 175,000 miles and has passed a 150-point inspection by an independent ASE certified mechanic. No taxicab company or association may self-certify the 150-point ASE inspection. The charge for the waiver application is $100.00, including the license renewal fee.
The vehicle shall meet other eligibility criteria for the waiver as follows:
1. Have passed its two (2) most recent required DMV inspections;
2. Be in excellent mechanical condition, as evidenced by passage of a 150-point inspection administered by an independent third party Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified inspection service, any fleet, company, or association may not self certify;
3. Be in excellent condition in appearance, including having no body damage on its exterior;
4. Not be a salvaged vehicle or declared a total loss;
5. Not have been driven more than one hundred seventy-five thousand (175,000) miles at the time the waiver application is filed.
All other public vehicle-for-hire requirements under Title 31 of the DCMR are still applicable. Apply For The Waiver here.
Discontinuing Daily E-Mails: As of Monday, December 9th, Yellow Cab Co. will no longer send drivers daily e-mails regarding their deposit. Driver will still receive daily text messages. However, the text message will direct drivers to a ycdcpay.com link where they can check their own deposits. Drivers are encouraged to become familiar with ycdcpay.com, where they can log in daily to check their bank deposits, transaction history and buy their insurance stickers. This tool was created for the empowerment and convenience of drivers. Please take advantage of the website.
No Cash Environment Update: The move to a Cashless environment is officially complete. The current bullet-proof glass has been replaced with sliding windows for better communication and convenience between drivers and staff. Drivers have complained about the difficulties communication through the bullet-proof glass. Accepting and handling Cash in the new open environment is not advisable and could place our staff and drivers at risk.
Drivers still paying Cash will have to use one of the following alternatives to make their weekly payments: :
- Deposit the cash into your personal account
- Pay online by ACH at the Payment Portal at www.ycdrivers.com or with the Receptionist.
- ACH payment transactions made on Friday are debited to your account on Monday and those made on Saturday are debited on Tuesday. We give you ample time to deposit the cash to cover your payment.
- Use your debit or credit card to pay at the Receptionist. Please be aware that credit cards will cost an additional $5.00 Square fee.
- Purchase and pay with a money order. It will be processed as a Cash payment.
For drivers still paying Cash and may not be aware how the Cashless option works see below:
- When you select to pay your weekly payment by ACH it is debited against the same account that your credit card/voucher credits are deposited
- The online system or Receptionist will at the same time give you a receipt and the current insurance sticker
- You account will be debited the next business day for the amount of your weekly payment
- The company in essence is extending you credit or paid full until they receive the funds from your bank
There is really no need to use Cash anymore!! Thanks for you cooperation.
Union Station Fast Pass: The Department of For-Hire Vehicles (DFHV) is launching an exciting new pilot program that will impact the Union Station taxi line with the introduction of the Union Station Fast Pass. Selected DC taxi drivers will be given a Union Station Fast Pass to allow them to have priority access to the front of the taxi line at Union Station. Drivers will approach Union Station from Columbus Circle via Massachusetts Avenue and the Union Station Fast Pass holders will use the designated access point to move to the front of the taxi line at Union Station. DFHV is giving top-performing drivers of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) easier and faster access to the Union Station Taxi Stand, the busiest pick up point for taxis in the city. This incentive to WAV drivers is a reward for their choice to drive a WAV taxi and provide service to passengers using wheelchairs. Drivers can pick up any passenger – with or without a wheelchair – when using their Union Station Fast Pass.
Union Station Fast Pass Eligibility
Taxi drivers that provide at least 50 trips to wheelchair users in the Transport DC program in a calendar month will be eligible to receive a Fast Pass. DFHV will use Transport DC program data from two months prior to the eligible month to determine qualification. (e.g., DFHV will evaluate January Transport DC data for the March Union Station Fast Pass)
Changes with the Union Station Taxi Line
- A portion of the outside taxi line will be blocked by cones and drivers will maintain a single file line as they come around the front of Union Station.
- Union Station Fast Pass holders will access the taxi line at the designated access point between the two medians. These drivers are required to show their pass to the DFHV Vehicle Inspection Officer on duty to use the Fast Lane to enter the taxi line at the access point. Those without a valid pass will be turned away.
- All drivers will resume two lines at the break in the medians. Union Station Fast Pass holders will enter the taxi line in the outside taxi lane.
Face Renewal At Kiosk: Drivers can now come to the Yellow Cab lobby 24/7 and begin the process of renewing their Hack License. You must have a cellphone to receive texts and emails and an email address. Follow the steps in the link to begin the renewal process.
Transport DC Reimbursement: DUE TO A PROJECTED INCREASE IN TRIPS AND A FIXED BUDGET THE REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORT DC TRIPS WAS CUT BY $2.50 PER TRIP FOR FY 2020. THE CUT WILL BE SHARED BY BOTH THE COMPANY AND THE DRIVERS. THE DRIVER REIMBURSEMENT WILL GO FROM $15.00 TO $13.50 AND THE COMPANY PAYMENT WILL BE CUT BY $1.00 PER TRIP.
Reminder: As of October 1, 2019 a clause was added to the dispatch agreement that stipulates dispatch drivers will not be allowed to opt out of serving specific users. Since the August 1 to August 31 open season period has closed, drivers will no longer has the option to change their status to non-dispatch.
MINI Thermal Bluetooth Printer Battery Replacement: Drivers with the MINI Thermal Bluetooth printer may have experienced issues with their printer battery this summer. This is due to overheating, which caused the batteries to expand and break. Drivers have been instructed to not leave the printers inside the vehicle when they’re not working. Yellow Cab is now selling replacement batteries for $25 each. Please see a technician if you need a replacement battery.
T2R Taxi-to-Rail Pilot Program Expanded: The expanded T2R program now includes several grocery stores in Wards 6, 7 and 8 will be part of the program. Also, several libraries, pools and recreation centers in Wards 7 and 8 are also part of the expanded pilot program for subsidized taxi rides. The Taxi-to-Rail (T2R) pilot program covers up to $10.00 for passengers. Once the trip surpasses $10.00 on the meter, the passenger will be responsible for paying for the rest of the trip out of pocket. Users can be book trips via Taxi2Rail.com, the ezRidr app, or by calling 202-727-3827. Read the Washington Post article here. See the expanded location list here.
Make sure to check out the WUSA9 report on the Taxi-to-Rail Pilot Program here.
Muhammad Al-Qaabil Feature: In this GPS driven world, there’s still something to be said for a cabbie who actually knows his way around. Read the feature on one of Yellow Cab’s longest tenured drivers & dispatchers Mr. Muhammad Al-Qaabil, written by Washington Post Express columnist Kery Murakami.
Looking For Seven-Seater Vehicles: Yellow Cab Company is looking for drivers that own seven-seat vehicles to add to the fleet of taxicabs. If you anyone with that vehicle type please encourage them to consider joining the YC dispatch fleet .
Payment Resume Button Error: Drivers, please DO NOT press the RESUME button when a passenger requests a copy of their credit card receipt. This cancels the payment and creates extra work for you and the creates a headache for the customer. The correct way to print a copy of a credit card receipt is for the driver to press the ACCOUNT button then enter account 100.
Inform The DFHV of Renewals: When drivers renew their face, driver’s license, vehicle registration or vehicle inspection, you should call DFHV to inform them to update their records at 202-645 6018. Failure to do so could lead to inadvertent shutdown of your system.
SMS Payment Instruction: The SMS payment option is now available on all driver consoles (tablets). SMS pay can be used as a backup to the Verifone system or as the customer’s preferred payment method. To use press SMS Pay on the driver console and enter customer’s mobile telephone number. If it is a dispatch trip and the customer used their cell number to book the ride the mobile number will automatically be populated on the screen. Press the DONE button, then the SEND button. The customer will then receive a text message with a link where they can enter their credit card information. Once that is completed, the driver will receive the completed payment information on their tablet. Please note that passengers will not be able to add a tip at the end. You can politely ask the customer if they would like to add a tip. If they do, enter it on the Extras screen prior to entering their mobile phone number.
New Child Seat Laws: DC has updated and made very defined rules as to how small children children are permitted to ride as a passenger in all vehicles, taxicabs included. Please read here to become more familiar with the new guidelines.
Electronic Receipt: Customers can request electronic receipts from the Verifone back seat device. After selecting a payment option, customers will see an eReicept by Curb button option and can enter their mobile phone number and press ENTER to receive a text message with a link to the the eReceipt. Customers can still request a printed but we should promote the electronic receipt option to show them the technology advancements at Yellow Cab.
YCDC Pay Browser Update: The YCDC Pay website works best with the Chrome browser. Other browsers may work but are not full compatible.
Taxi Butler: There are now 31 Taxi Butler locations throughout the city. Here is a list of locations with the installed Taxi Butler device.
- Fairfield Inn – 2305 New York Avenue NE
- Hotel Arboretum -1917 Bladensburg Road NE
- Courtyard Marriott – 1325 2nd Street NW
- Homewood Suites – 465 New York Avenue NW
- Pod DC Hotel – 627 H Street NW
- Hampton Inn Hotel – 501 New York Avenue NE
- Hampton Inn and Suites, Navy Yard – 1265 First Street SE
- Avenue Suites Georgetown – 2500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
- Hilton Garden Inn – 1225 First Street NE
- Willard Intercontinental Hotel – 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
- Intercontinental Washington DC – 801 Wharf Street SW
- Hampton Inn Washington DC White House – 1729 H Street NW
- Hotel Hotel– 2224 F Street NW
- Greenbriar Condominiums – 4301 Massachusetts Avenue NW
- Kimpton George Hotel – 15 E Street NW
- Knollwood Military Retirement Community – 6200 Oregon Avenue NW
- The Kennedy-Warren – 3133 Connecticut Avenue NW
- Homewood Suites – 1475 Massachusetts Avenue NW
- Residence Inn – 333 E Street SE
- Hyatt Place – 24 N Street NE
- Holiday Inn/White House – 1501 Rhode Island Avenue NW
- Washington Marriott Wardman Park – 2660 Woodley Road NW
- The River Inn – 924 25th Street NW
- The Kenmore – 5415 Connecticut Avenue NW
- Hyatt Place/White House – 1522 K Street NW
- Hyatt Place/National Mall – 400 E Street SW
- The Watergate Hotel – 2650 Virginia Avenue NW
- The W Hotel – 515 15th Street NW
- Foxhall Medicine – 3301 New Mexico Avenue NW
- The Ritz-Carlton – 3100 South Street NW
- Thomas & Dorothy Leavey Center – 3800 Reservoir Rd NW, Washington, DC 20057
Uber, Lyft Haven’t Paid Taxes Owed To Baltimore: Despite charging an extra $.25 per trip to offset tax costs, Uber has failed to pay Baltimore taxes owed, the Baltimore Sun has reported. Fellow ride-sharing company Lyft charged no surcharge, but also has failed to pay taxes. The back taxes owed comes on about nine million trips by Uber and Lyft in Baltimore. The unpaid taxes not only cost the city an estimated $2.1 million in revenue, but the rise in ride-sharing has cost Baltimore around an additional $4.1 million in parking tax, meters and city-owned garages. Read the Baltimore Sun article here.
Easter Seals Taxicab Operator Guide: This pocket guide covers driver responsibilities for serving passengers under the ADA, disability etiquette, mobility aids, assisting customers with service animals, and passenger responsibilities.
Taxicab ADA Brochure Frequently Asked Questions on Taxi PDF version: This brochure outlines in question and answer format taxicab companies’ responsibilities under the ADA and is geared toward managers and owners.
Here are the latest editions of DFHV Newsletters January 2020