Cab Driver & Congressman Fight Over Fare

11:32 PM, Jul 13, 2010   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- A DC cabbie has filed a police report complaining Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) refused to pay his fare from Union Station to Water Street, SW on Tuesday afternoon.

Cab driver Abraham Habtaeb says Nadler asked him to keep the meter running while Nadler went into the hotel to drop off luggage before going to his Capitol Hill office.

Habtaeb refused, saying Nadler should pay for the trip from Union Station to the hotel first. Habtaeb said he would then start the meter again for the new trip.

Nadler carries a letter from the chairman of the DC taxicab commission saying it is ok to keep the meter running.

Habtaeb carries minutes of a cab commission hearing that conclude he should turn the meter off and start it again for a trip of this nature.

When 9NEWS NOW called the cab commission chairman for clarification he responded, "I don't talk to reporters."

"This whole situation was just a misunderstanding, and we are working now to resolve it. Everyone will be happy at the end of the day," said a statement released by Nadler's office.

Habtaeb has filed a police report and wants an apology from Nadler.

The fare from Union Station to Water street was $8.00.

The difference between stopping the meter and starting it again is $3.00.


"Regarding a misunderstanding yesterday, I must correct the record.

"Arriving at Washington's Union Station yesterday, I entered a taxi and asked the driver to take me to the Rayburn office building with one stop at my hotel to very briefly drop off my luggage, which is my routine each time I arrive in Washington.

"When we arrived at the first stop, I advised the driver, Mr. Habteab, that I would be out of the cab for 30 seconds or so, and requested that he leave the meter running in accordance with DC taxi regulations. Mr. Habteab then ignored DC taxi regulations and refused to take me to my final destination without restarting the meter.

"This is against the law, and Taxi Commission Chairman Leon Swain has clarified that point to me personally in a letter, which I shared with Mr. Habteab, but which he refused to read. Today, I spoke personally with Chairman Swain, who has confirmed that I was correct in relying on his interpretation of the law as stated in the letter.

"Therefore, as Mr. Habteab would not obey the law and take me to my final destination, I was obligated to find another driver who would. Of course taxi drivers have rights, but so do passengers. I am working with the Taxicab Commission and Mr. Habteab to ensure that he receives the correct payment, despite his misinterpretation of the law."

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