Arlington considers financial relief for taxi drivers amid Uber, Lyft growth

Arlington may soon provide some financial help to the county’s taxi industry. 

There are talks of eliminating certificate fees to help keep fleets operating during troubled times.

This comes as taxi companies across America are struggling. Drivers tell FOX 5 that the business is almost dead. 

Many of them wait outside the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City for hours hoping to get a customer.

That’s why a new measure is being introduced that would eliminate the $150 annual certificate fee for each of the 441 taxis authorized to operate in Arlington. 

That money adds up to $66,150 per year for the county. The goal is to eliminate a cost during a time when taxi drivers are barely making ends meet.

Arlington County leaders estimate from 2019 to 2023, there has been a 50 percent drop in taxi services due to rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft. That is the main challenge the declining taxi industry is facing.

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Arlington considers financial relief for taxi drivers amid Uber, Lyft growth

Arlington taxi drivers say it would be nice to have a dispatcher who can directly connect them with customers – similar to how their competition works.

The Arlington County Board sent FOX 5 this statement:

The Arlington County Board at its April Regular Meeting will vote to authorize advertisement of a public hearing (set for May 18, 2024) on proposed changes to the Taxicab Ordinance (section 25.1 of the County Code) to eliminate the taxicab Annual Certificate Fee. Taxicab companies have requested a reduction in the annual fee, citing continued economic hardship since the formal end of the pandemic emergency. (For the past three years, the County's Emergency Continuity of Operations Ordinance had reduced those fees.) After a thorough discussion with taxicab companies during the Transportation Commission meeting on Feb. 29, 2024, staff advise eliminating the annual fee. 

More information is available here, and the board is set to discuss this agenda item on Saturday.