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Red with gray stripe wins official nod of approval for D.C. cab color

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Local,DC,Transportation,Liz Essley,Metro and Traffic

The District's cabs all will be painted red with a wide, swooping gray stripe, pending regulators' final approval.

The DC Taxicab Commission unveiled the new color scheme Wednesday, adding a gray stripe to the all-red design recommended by an earlier commission panel.

The design is meant to resemble the DC Circulator buses, commission Chairman Ron Linton said.

"The concept of the design was to give a relationship [to the Circulator] without being identical. We're not copying the Circulator," Linton said.

The choice of red and gray comes after the city announced nine color options for D.C.'s taxis online and on example cars parked at the Verizon Center. Many of those schemes were mocked by residents, with only one getting more "yes" votes than "no" votes in an online survey with 38,000 responses.

It could be eight years before all cabs are painted the new color, since cab drivers won't be forced to switch to the new colors until they replace their aging cabs -- which most will be required to do by 2021. Drivers could voluntarily adopt the color scheme.

The commission approved the color scheme 6-1, though it will vote again in June after a 30-day public comment period.

Commissioner Stanley Tapscott, who drives a taxi for Capitol Cab Co., voted against the uniform color scheme, saying it would ruin individual companies' brands.

"There are about six to eight companies in D.C. who existed in D.C. back before the '60s," Tapscott said. "Their name is out there. This is going to hurt them as far as I'm concerned."

Cab drivers expressed concern about the cost of the paint job and the gray stripe.

"We as drivers would like to know what the cost of this color scheme will be," said cab driver Larry Frankel. "The gray stripe seems to be a little out of hand. It would complicate ... the expense of keeping it maintained."

Linton said in the past that painting a cab costs $1,500 but on Wednesday said that the red and gray stripe would mean no additional cost since drivers paint their cabs when they buy them anyway.

lessley@washingtonexaminer.com

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