Code of the District of Columbia

§ 50–301.31. Dispatch services.

(a) All taxicab companies, taxicab associations, or taxicab fleets with 100 or more licensed taxicabs shall install radio or digital dispatch equipment in each taxicab. This equipment shall link to a central dispatch service within each company. Each licensed taxicab operator affiliated or contracted with a taxicab company, association, or fleet with more than 100 licensed taxicabs shall be available via dispatch at all times while accepting fares and may not turn off the dispatch equipment while in service. Once a taxicab operator chooses to accept a dispatch request, that operator must accept the fare, regardless of the fare’s location within the District.

(b) A company that provides digital dispatch shall be exempt from regulation by the DFHV, other than the rules issued pursuant to this subsection and subsection (c-1) of this section. The DFHV may establish rules only to the extent necessary to ensure compliance with the following service requirements; provided that, the rules shall protect the personal privacy rights of customers and operators, and shall not result in the disclosure of confidential business information:

(1) If a company that uses digital dispatch connects a customer to a taxicab, the fare shall be calculated in accordance with the taxicab fare structure established by the DFHV through an approved taxicab meter system or through a time and distance charge set by the company;

(1A) If a company that uses digital dispatch connects a customer to a private or public vehicle-for-hire other than a taxicab, the company shall calculate the fare in compliance with the method required for that class of service;

(2) If a company that uses digital dispatch charges a fare other than the metered taxicab rate, before booking a vehicle the company shall disclose to the customer the fare calculation method, the applicable rates being charged, and the option for an estimated fare. The company shall review any customer complaint about fares that exceed estimated fares by 20% or $25, whichever is less;

(3) The public vehicles-for-hire affiliated with a company using digital dispatch shall be licensed and shall provide service in a manner that complies with all laws, rules, and regulations applicable to public vehicles-for-hire in the District;

(4) A company that uses digital dispatch and the public vehicle-for-hire operators it employs, contracts with, or affiliates with shall comply with all reciprocal agreements between governmental bodies in the Washington Metropolitan Area governing public vehicle-for-hire service, including section 828 of Title 31 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (31 DCMR § 828), as long as the DFHV is actively accepting and processing applications for the licensure of public vehicle-for-hire operators and vehicles. The condition that the DFHV is actively accepting and processing applications shall not apply if it issues rules establishing limits on the number of vehicles and licenses issued pursuant to § 47-2829(j), which requires the DFHV both to conclude that limits are in the public interest and do not unduly and significantly harm the public vehicle-for-hire industry in the District and to submit the rules to the Council for approval;

(5) Upon completion of the trip, the customer shall receive a paper or electronic receipt that lists the origination and destination of the trip, the total distance and time of the trip, and a breakdown of the total fare paid, including fees and gratuity, if any;

(6) A company that uses digital dispatch shall provide customers with the ability to indicate an interest in receiving service from a wheelchair accessible vehicle for the purposes of determining market need and for a request for this service once these vehicles become available in this class;

(7) A company that uses digital dispatch shall not transmit any destination information about a customer, except for the jurisdiction of the customer’s destination, to an operator of a public vehicle-for-hire until the customer has booked the trip;

(8) A company that uses digital dispatch shall not allow a private or public vehicle-for-hire operator it employs, contracts, or affiliates with to discriminate against customers in any way or to otherwise refuse to provide service to or from an area of the District; provided, that a company that uses digital dispatch may rate a customer as long as the customer’s rating may be viewed by the customer, the company that uses digital dispatch includes a non-discrimination policy in its contract terms with private or public vehicle-for-hire operators, and the company that uses digital dispatch provides a customer with the ability to report allegations of discrimination in private or public vehicle-for-hire service;

(9) A company that uses digital dispatch shall provide service throughout the entire District;

(10) A company that uses digital dispatch for public vehicles-for-hire service shall register with the DFHV by submitting proof to the DFHV that it is licensed to do business in the District, maintains a registered agent in the District, and maintains a website containing information on its method of fare calculation, the rates and fees charged, and a customer service telephone number or email address. A company that uses digital dispatch for private vehicles-for-hire shall comply with the registration requirements of § 50-301.29a(12);

(11) Every 3 months, a company that uses digital dispatch for private or public vehicles-for-hire other than taxicabs shall transmit to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer 6.00% of all gross receipts for trips that physically originate in the District. Of the money collected pursuant to this paragraph, 83.33% shall be deposited in the General Fund and the remaining 16.67% shall be deposited in the Public Vehicles-for-Hire Consumer Service Fund established by §  50-301.20. The company shall certify that the amount transmitted is consistent with the amount collected for such trips arranged through digital dispatch. The Office of the Chief Financial Officer may inspect records of the company to ensure compliance with the requirements of this paragraph; provided, that any records disclosed to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer shall not be subject to disclosure to a third party, including through a request submitted pursuant to Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.];

(12) A company that uses digital dispatch for taxicabs or an approved payment service provider pursuant to the DFHV’s regulations shall transmit the per trip passenger surcharge to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer to be deposited in the Public Vehicles-for-Hire Consumer Service Fund established by § 50-301.20 in a manner prescribed by the DFHV pursuant to its authority in § 50-301.20(g). The Office of the Chief Financial Officer may inspect records of the company to ensure compliance with the requirements of this paragraph; provided, that any records disclosed to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer shall not be subject to disclosure to a third party, including through a request submitted pursuant to Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.];

(13) During a state of emergency as declared by the Mayor, a company that provides digital dispatch that engages in surge pricing shall limit the multiplier by which its base fare is multiplied to the next highest multiple below the 3 highest multiples set on different days in the 60 days preceding the declaration of a state of emergency for the same type of service in the Washington Metropolitan Area;

(14) A private or public vehicle-for-hire operator may affiliate with more than one company for the purpose of using digital dispatch unless otherwise provided for by an agreement between the company and the operator; and

(15) A trip manifest maintained in an electronic format by a private or public vehicle-for-hire operator who connects with a passenger through a digital dispatch service may include the phrase “as directed” or a similar phrase in lieu of including a passenger’s trip destination; provided, that the destination is included upon completion of the trip.

(c) The DFHV shall provide contact information, including hyperlinks, if available, for each of the available public vehicle-for-hire dispatch services within the District. The DFHV shall list this information or a link to this information on the front page of the DFHV’s website and shall include the company name and any other appropriate, information, including a hyperlink to the website or phone number listing of each company.

(c-1) Repealed.

(d) Repealed.


(Mar. 25, 1986, D.C. Law 6-97, § 20l; as added Oct. 22, 2012, D.C. Law 19-184, § 2(s), 59 DCR 9431; Apr. 23, 2013, D.C. Law 19-270, § 2(j), 60 DCR 1717; Mar. 10, 2015, D.C. Law 20-197, § 2(m), 61 DCR 12430; June 22, 2016, D.C. Law 21-124, § 401(ff), 63 DCR 7076; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, §§ 6004(b)(2), 6142(b), 65 DCR 9388; Feb. 22, 2019, D.C. Law 22-224, § 2(k), 66 DCR 187.)

Prior Codifications

2001 Ed., § 50-329.02.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 50-321.29.

Effect of Amendments

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-184 added this section.

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-270 rewrote (b); and added (c) and (d).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-197 rewrote the introductory paragraph of (b); in (b)(1), substituted “a company that uses digital dispatch” for “the digital dispatch service” and added “or through a time and distance charge set by the company”’ added (b)(1A); rewrote (b)(2); substituted “affiliated with a company using digital dispatch” for “using a digital dispatch service” in (b)(3); substituted “A company that uses digital dispatch and the public vehicle-for-hire operators” for “The digital dispatch service and the operators” in (b)(4); substituted “A company that uses digital dispatch” for “The digital dispatch service” in (b)(6) and (b)(7); rewrote (b)(8), (b)(9), and (b)(10); added (b)(11) to (b)(15) and (c-1); and repealed (d).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 6132(b) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-458, Oct. 3, 2018, 65 DCR 11212).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 6004(b)(2) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-458, Oct. 3, 2018, 65 DCR 11212).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 6132(b) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434, July 30, 2018, 65 DCR 8200).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 6004(b)(2) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434, July 30, 2018, 65 DCR 8200).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of D.C. Law 19-184, § 7, see § 7007 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-130, July 30, 2013, 60 DCR 11384, 20 DCSTAT 1827).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of D.C. Law 19-184, § 7, see § 7007 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-204, October 17, 2013, 60 DCR 15341, 20 DCSTAT 2311).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of D.C. Law 19-270, § 5, see § 7017 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-130, July 30, 2013, 60 DCR 11384, 20 DCSTAT 1827).

For temporary (90 days) repeal of D.C. Law 19-270, § 5, see 7017 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-204, October 17, 2013, 60 DCR 15341, 20 DCSTAT 2311).

Short Title

Section 7001 of D.C. Law 20-61 provided that Subtitle A of Title VII of the act may be cited as the “Subject to Appropriations Repealers Amendment Act of 2013”.

Editor's Notes

Section 7 of D.C. Law 19-184 provided that the act shall apply upon the inclusion of its fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan, as certified by the Chief Financial Officer to the Budget Director of the Council in a certification published by the Council in the District of Columbia Register.

Section 5 of D.C. Law 19-270 provided that the act shall apply upon the inclusion of its fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan, as certified by the Chief Financial Officer to the Budget Director of the Council in a certification published by the Council in the District of Columbia Register.

Section 7007 of D.C. Law 20-61 repealed D.C. Law 19-184, § 7.

Section 7017 of D.C. Law 20-61 repealed D.C. Law 19-270, § 5.

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-197: Section 7 of D.C. Law 20-197 provided, in part, that §§ 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the act shall apply as of March 10, 2015.