Ernest Chrappah, 38, was appointed chairman of the D.C. Taxicab Commission in June. He served as the commission’s operations chief under the late Ron Linton, who took major steps towards modernizing the District’s largely outdated and unpopular taxi fleet.
Chrappah’s vision is to transition the commission from a legacy regulator that places burdensome rules on cab drivers into a nimble, innovating agency so the city's taxis can compete with popular ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft in an intensely competitive marketplace.
He has a strong foundation to work from. The taxicab commission says D.C. is on pace for 18 million cab rides this fiscal year. Business is increasing; there are 313,000 trips per week this year, up from 308,000 last year and 291,000 in 2013. Out of the 6,500 operational taxis in Washington, roughly 6,100 are on the road in any given week.
Chrappah talked with WAMU 88.5 transportation reporter Martin Di Caro about the agency's goals for improving the customer experience. Among other things to deal with illegal street hails to Uber and other private vehicle for hire companies he said he plans to "educate the public" about the legality of flagging down an Uber driver on the street. He also stated taxicab drivers should get evidence (take a picture) if they see it occurring while they are driving around. [Sound realistic or serious to you?] Listen to the entire interview here.