Black Sedan and Uber Drivers Complain About Nightly DCTC Harassment

by Sean Riley


WUSA9

The District has long been a struggle for Uber and Lyft drivers, with constant friction between the smartphone ride services and the D.C. Taxicab Commission.

Uber drivers say D.C. represents a major cut of their business but, they claim, as soon as they cross this border and enter the District they're being targeted.

After receiving more than $2000 fines from the commission, Abdirahman Abdull says it targets Uber and Lyft operators.

Abdull has driven Ubers to D.C., Maryland and Virginia. But he says D.C. is the only jurisdiction where he gets harassed by taxicab commission inspectors on a nightly basis. 

Uber drivers are allowed to operate in the District, but they are regulated and subject to fines if they break regulations.

"What they saying is we cannot pick up passengers from D.C. to D.C. but they don't even know who we picking up," Abdull said. "They don't even ask where the customer is going. Sometimes they even harass the customer." 

Just last week, the taxicab commission hit Abdull with $2600 in fines.

"They just giving us tickets left to right and it's out of control," Abdull said. "Unlicensed vehicle in D.C. Well, we don't need a license to be here. We are licensed in the state of Virginia. So this ticket is not legit." 

The taxicab commission has specific rules for the operation of black cars, which Abdull says he was operating when he was issued fines for a operating a taxi.

In an emailed statement to WUSA9, the D.C. taxicab commission insisted "No enforcement personnel target private sedan operators. All for-hire vehicles are subject to safety and compliance checks."

The commission says they welcome Abdull to appeal his fines, which he, confidently, says he will do.

But, Abdull adds it's not just about the fines.

"It's a harassment and it continues every single night," Abdull said. "The customers have a choice. They call us. If they are not interested to ride a taxi cab that's not our fault." 

Drivers say if the alleged harassment doesn't stop, they'll choose to stop operating in D.C. They insist that won't only be bad for them -- the drivers -- but for customers looking for ride choices.