Taxi Driver Allegedly Kidnaps D.C. Council Member’s Daughter After Credit Card Dispute

Taxi horror stories are nothing new. There’s the one about the driver who held a customer hostage for refusing his tip demand, and the one where a driver crashed into a home after being unsatisfied with a tip. But what does a driver do when the credit card machine doesn’t work and the customer threatens to report him to the Taxi Cab Commission? He kidnaps the customer, or at least that’s what a Washington, D.C., city council member alleges a taxi driver did to her daughter.

The November incident occurred when the council member’s daughter attempted to pay for her late-night ride with two different credit cards, but both were declined. According to a police report, she offered to pay the fare with cash, but said she would report the driver to the Taxi Cab Commission for having an improperly working credit card machine, the Washington Post reports.

Apparently unsatisfied with the offer, the passenger claims the taxi driver locked the doors and drove several blocks before calling 911 to report he had a passenger refusing to pay her fare.

The council member says the incident constitutes kidnapping, but officers declined to arrest the driver. The council member says she tried to make a case for the arrest but didn’t “pull rank” by identifying herself as a council member. A follow-up investigation by the taxi cab commission could result in a suspension for the driver.

The anecdote was used during a Taxi Cab Commission oversight hearing Wednesday to illustrate how several drivers are failing to comply with a new law requiring taxi cabs be equipped with working credit card machines.

Taxi Cab Commission Chair Ron M. Linton says he believes most drivers are complying with the new rule, but the commission had heard several instances of drivers locking the doors and demanding cash.

The commission recommends asking a driver if the credit card machine works when a rider first enters the taxi. If a dispute does arise, Linton suggests paying with cash if you have it and take down the cab number to report it to the commission.

D.C. Council member says was briefly ‘kidnapped’ in dispute over taxi fare
[The Washington Times]