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Driver News (June 1, 2020)

Curfew Amidst Protests: Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) announced Monday that the District is instituting a curfew, starting 7 p.m. Monday through 6 a.m. on Tuesday, as officials prepare for more protests and demonstrations around the Washington, DC. Bowser said at a news conference that the restriction on residents will begin again Tuesday night at the same time and continue into Wednesday morning. The District’s curfew is in response to the demonstrations over the past three nights that have devolved into looting and destruction of property around downtown and in other parts of the city. District officials imposed a curfew from 11 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday, but some demonstrators ignored it.

The curfew applies to anyone in the District starting Monday at 7 p.m. through 6 a.m. Tuesday. Officials have not stated an end time. The city plans to keep the curfew in place Tuesday night. The only exceptions are for essential workers — health-care workers, for example — labeled as such under the mayor’s public health response to the coronavirus outbreak. Members of the media are exempt from the curfew. “If you are not a member of the media or you do not have an essential function, you can anticipate that local police and federal police will take you into custody,” police Chief Peter Newsham said at the news conference. “And that is a warning.” View live curfew updates here. 

 

T2R Expansion: DFHV is expanding the program parameters for T2R as part of evolving needs in the COVID-19 public emergency. The parameters are outlined below with the new requirements in italics and noted. Please keep in mind that many of the requirements – such as grocery, pharmacies, medical appointment trips – will continue as before.

Allowable trip purposes include:

  1. Allowable trip purposes include: To and from grocery stores, to and from pharmacies, to and from Metro stations citywide, trips for essential workers to and from their workplaces (Keep in mind this includes Home Aides who may be traveling to and from a residential address).
  2. Service is available citywide.
  3.  trips are within DC only. Trips to Virginia and Maryland are not allowed.
  4. Trip reimbursement rate has increased from $15 to $20 per trip (all trips will be paid at $20, regardless of meter fare).
  5. Passenger is responsible for fare beyond $20.
  6. Program hours are extended until 10 pm (Hours of Operation: Mon – Fri, 5:30am – 10:00pm; Sat, 7:00am – 10:00pm; Sun, 8:00am – 10:00pm)
  7. At time of booking, passengers must state the purpose of their trip (e.g. grocery, pharmacy, Metro, or essential healthcare worker), and providers must record and submit each trip’s purpose with trip records in the trip log each month

Update on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance *Update*: DC Department of Employment Services (DOES) has informed DFHV that DC-licensed taxi drivers living in MD or VA (as well as DC) can apply for unemployment with DC-info and links below.  The PUA application is now available: https://dcdoes.force.com/PUAForm/s/  but note that individuals need to file a standard unemployment insurance application first at https://does.dcnetworks.org/InitialClaims/  before filing the PUA application. More information on PUA at coronavirus.dc.gov/recovery-individuals<https://coronavirus.dc.gov/recovery-individuals>

DMV Services Suspended:  The DMV remains operational with most necessary services provided online. All in-person services at DC DMV locations are currently closed through the duration of the public health emergency. Although most employees are working remotely, DC DMV online services remain available, and customers are encouraged to use online options by visiting dmv.dc.gov.

  • DMV has extended the expiration date for all documents expiring March 1 through the duration of the public health emergency, including driver licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations, inspections, ticket payments and ticket adjudication responses, until June 29.
  • All driver licenses, vehicle registrations, and vehicle inspections scheduled to expire have been granted a waiver without penalty until DC DMV reopens at full operating capacity.
  • All tickets will remain in their current status for the duration of the public health emergency, and no additional penalties will be added during this period. In the interim, the public is encouraged to request adjudication and pay tickets online. Additionally, all driver license suspensions and revocations will be paused until DC DMV returns to full operating capacity.

T2R Taxi-to-Rail Pilot Program Expanded: Beginning April 2, 2020 the T2R program went Citywide in addition to the previously approved locations like metro stations.  Users will be allowed to go to Medical Facilities, Pharmacies and Grocery Stores free up to $15.00 per ride.  The passenger will be responsible for the fare over the $15.00 maximum subsidy.  Users can be book trips via Taxi2Rail.com or by calling 202-727-3827.

Transport-DC Pay Increase and Changes: DFHV has upgraded the pay rate for regular trips from $13.50 to $18.50 and WAV trips from $18.50 to $23.50. That rate does not include the customer $5.00 subsidy.  They also expanded the program from the 16th to EOM for uses to go to grocery stores and pharmacies in addition to medical appointments.

Adjusted Hours And Staffing: During the COVID-19 crisis, Yellow Cab has taken measures to reduce the on site staff. The Call Center and Dispatch functions are working remotely. There is on-site and remote technical assistance Mon – Sat 8:30AM to 4:30PM. The Cashier’s office is opened  Friday, Saturday and Monday.  Driver are urged to got to www.ycdcpay.com to pay dues and get insurance stickers.

Opportunity for Drivers: Food Delivery Services: Due to the devastating economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the District’s for-hire industry, DFHV has authorized taxi operators to engage in prepared food delivery service and allow operators to prioritize delivery service temporarily during this public health emergency. Operators can also specify the charge for delivery service. Please be aware of how to pursue this opportunity:

  • DFHV is allowing taxicab drivers to use their taxi vehicles for food delivery through direct registration between taxicab drivers and commercial food delivery companies including, but not limited to, Grubhub, Postmates, Caviar, and DoorDash.
  • Taxicab drivers are only allowed to engage with commercial food delivery companies that operate exclusively as food delivery services.
  • Taxicab will not be considered available for hire when the driver is engaged in a prepared food delivery; a taxicab shall not transport passengers while carrying food for delivery; and each driver who undertakes to perform food pick-up and delivery service shall complete the delivery as soon as practicable.
  • Alcohol can only be transported in a sealed container as part of a restaurant’s prepared food order.
  • Operators should turn their meter and dome light off when they are delivering food.
  • Payment to operators will be established and paid by the commercial food delivery company.

You are advised to review Administrative Issuance AI-2020-02 for full details. Please contact Driver Services for assistance. Call (202) 645-7300 or send an email to DFHV.ClientServices@dc.gov

Passenger and Driver Mask Requirement: The Mayor has signed an order requiring passengers to wear “face coverings” when riding in a taxi or other for-hire vehicles. While we don’t have the signed order, the Mayor was clear with her intent today in the press conference, passengers need to wear “face coverings” not necessarily a mask, and a bandana worn properly suffices.

Note there is also a requirement for drivers to wear gloves  in Section X (4), below.

  • A new subsection II.5.e of Mayor’s Order 2020-054, dated March 30, 2020, is added to read, “Individuals using taxis, ride-sharing vehicles, or other private transportation providers shall wear a mask or mouth covering.”
  • A new subsection III.4 of Mayor’s Order 2020-053, dated March 24, 2020, is added to read, “Food Sellers, Hotels, Taxis, Ride-sharing companies, and other private transportation providers must require employees and independent contractors to wear gloves and cloth or surgical masks and instruct employees and independent contractors on safe use. All gloves and masks shall be procured by businesses.”

Read the Mayor’s Order here. MayorsOrder2020.063

DFHV Notice To the For-Hire Industry Regarding Essential Services During Stay-At-Home Orders 4/2/2020: This notice is to provide clarification about for-hire drivers, and taxi and transportation network company (TNC) services, given stay-at-home orders issued by Mayor Bowser, and the governors of Maryland and Virginia. 

DFHV wants to clarify that the District of Columbia, the State of Maryland, and the State of Virginia deem for-hire drivers as essential workforce. This means that taxi and transportation network company (TNC) drivers are able to work despite the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia stay-at-home guidance and orders. Specifically, Mayor’s Order 2020-053, issued on March 24, 2020, states that “Taxis, ride-sharing companies, and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for Essential Businesses or Essential Governmental Functions and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order;” are essential services. 

DFHV Notification – Ongoing Efforts Regarding COVID-19: DFHV is very concerned about the impact on drivers and the local for-hire industry during this coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis.

  • Automatically extending Face ID’s expiring between March 18 and April 30 until Wednesday, July 1 (See AI-2020-01).
  • Assisting you remotely through Client Services between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM until further notice. Please call (202) 645-7300 or email dfhv.clientservices@dc.gov.

Save The Date – Taxi Drivers Summit Rescheduled: The Department of For-Hire Vehicles is conducting a Taxi Drivers Summit and wants your participation. Due to the current circumstances, DFHV has decided to reschedule the Taxi Driver Summit for May 2, 2020 from 10 AM to 2 PM at Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002. Registration is free. Morning refreshments and lunch will be served. Mark your calendar for this opportunity to learn about the future of the taxi industry in the District of Columbia. Get information about how to increase your revenue in the for-hire business. Your feedback about DFHV services will help to identify priorities that can lead to the development of policies and programs. More details to come soon.

No Paper Vouchers – Yellow Cab drivers should not be collecting paper vouchers during the COVID-19 crisis. This measure has been put in place for the safety of all passengers, drivers and Yellow Cab staff members. Yellow Cab will ensure that all drivers are paid for all account trips . If you are missing a payment for a account job, please e-mail contact@dcyellowcab.com with the trip information.

Rental & Dispatch Rebate: Yellow Cab is sympathetic to the lack of business during the COVID-19 crisis. In an attempt to offset the loss in wages, Yellow Cab will make the follow adjustments to dues indefinitely

  • 50% reduction of rental fees
  • 50% reduction of dispatch fees
  • 50% off MTS fees.

Please be advised that if you have already paid full dues for any of the above buckets for the week of March 15th, they will be prorated for the week of March 22nd. Also please be advised that you must be current with your dues to be eligible for this rebate.

Face Renewal At Kiosk: Drivers use 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.

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.

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.

Easter Seals Taxicab Operator GuideThis 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 April 2020