Red picked as new D.C. taxi color

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Local,DC,Transportation,Liz Essley

Red will be the color of all D.C. taxis by 2018, assuming the cogs in D.C. government keep turning as planned.

The city's cabs will be painted the same color under a law to update the taxi industry passed by the D.C. Council in July. A special panel tasked with studying what color will be best for D.C. taxis on Wednesday picked the crimson option.

The panel was weighing yellow, green and mixed-color options, as well, most of which reviewers panned. Of the 38,000 responses to an online survey allowing viewers to vote "yes" or "no" on nine designs, only one design got more "yes" votes than "no" votes -- the all-black taxi, which got an 8 percent approval rating, the panel said in a report.

The all-red taxi was not an option on the survey.

The panel also noted that only four members of the public and 30 taxicab drivers showed up to community meetings on the color.

"Consideration has to be given to the possibility that this was not a high-level priority for many in the general public, and furthermore, that the responses may be somewhat skewed to a constituency that both has access to and is facile with online communication," the taxicab panel wrote in its report.

The panel's choice must be backed up by the entire DC Taxicab Commission and subjected to a public comment period before it becomes law. It could be tweaked before then, said commission Chairman Ron Linton.

"That's simply a panel recommendation. There is a lot of work yet to go into this," he said.

Linton said the commission has yet to decide where the company names will be printed on the taxis and other details.

And it will be 2018 before almost all the city's cabs are painted the color of choice. That's because most taxi drivers don't have to update their paint until they update their vehicle, and a new regulation gives most of them five years to do that.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray on Wednesday said red would make taxis look like emergency vehicles.

"That would look like a red fire engine coming down the street," he said at a press conference. "I don't have a final opinion on it yet, but I certainly will have one."

Gray earlier favored a red-and-white color scheme.

lessley@washingtonexaminer.com

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Liz Essley

Staff Writer - Transportation
The Washington Examiner