The DC Taxicab Commission on Tuesday shut down a cab company it said was operating illegally, in the first such action taken by the commission in years.
As first reported by The Washington Examiner, the commission ordered the Anacostia Cab Association to cease operations, forcing its cabbies to black out the company logos on the company's 26 cars, to stop operating as taxis, and to hand over their licenses or have their vehicles impounded.
Commission Chairman Ron Linton accused the company of failing to prove it paid its taxes or register as a legal business. The company's drivers had fled from the city's hack inspectors and operated with expired licenses and inspection stickers, he said.
"They're out of business, that's it. They were given every legal way of resolving this issue," Linton said.
A spokesman for the cab company denied the charges, saying the commission was unfairly targeting its drivers.
Taxi drivers welcomed the news that the city was finally cracking down on illegal cabs, which they said rob them of riders and fares.
"I am tickled pink. It's about time," said longtime cab driver Carolyn Robinson, claiming that there are about 15 other companies still operating in D.C. illegally.
Larry Frankel, chairman of the Small Business Association of DC Taxicab Drivers, said illegal cabs are the No. 1 issue the commission must address.
"I can't specifically point the finger at Anacostia, but if you haven't paid your taxes and you have bad tags, then you need to be taken off the road," he said.
Linton promised an audit of all 116 District taxi companies.
Cab drivers listed "illegal cabs" as a grievance earlier this winter when they petitioned the D.C. government for a fare increase. Some estimates put the number of illegal cabs in the city at about 2,000. The District has 8,500 legal drivers.
Tuesday's action was Linton's second enforcement action in a matter of weeks. Earlier this month, he carried out a sting operation on the hybrid taxi/limousine service Uber after drivers complained it was operating illegally.