§ 50–301.07. Department of For-Hire Vehicles – duties; jurisdiction; powers.
*NOTE: This section includes amendments by temporary legislation that will expire on August 3, 2023. To view the text of this section after the expiration of all emergency and temporary legislation, click this link: Permanent Version.*
(a) The DFHV is charged with the continuance, further development, and improvement of the vehicle-for-hire industry within the District, and for the overall regulation of limousines, sedans, taxicabs, taxicab companies, taxicab fleets, and taxicab associations.
(b-1)(1) The DFHV shall employ no fewer than 20 vehicle inspection officers to enforce the laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to public and private vehicles-for-hire. A primary function of vehicle inspection officers shall be to ensure the proper provision of service and to support safety through street enforcement efforts, including traffic stops of public and private vehicles-for-hire, pursuant to protocol prescribed by the DFHV.
(2) The vehicle inspection officers described in paragraph (1) of this subsection may make traffic stops of a carrier-for-hire vehicle, pursuant to protocol prescribed by the DFHV.
(b-2) Nothing in this subchapter shall abrogate the authority of officers of the Metropolitan Police Force to enforce and issue citations relating to taxicab requirements.
(b-3)(1) A proposed suspension or revocation of a license by the OCE issued pursuant to this subchapter shall not take effect until a final decision is rendered by the OHCR upon a timely appeal taken by a licensee or, if no appeal is taken, upon the lapse of the period specified, by rule, for appeal.
(2) The OCE may immediately suspend or revoke a license issued under the authority of this subchapter where the OCE has determined that the operator of a vehicle poses an imminent danger to the public. Within 3 business days of the issuance by the OCE of an immediate suspension or revocation, an administrative hearing shall be held before the OHCR, or the matter may be referred to the Office of Administrative Hearings, pursuant to the Chapter 18A of Title 2.
(c) The DFHV shall have the authority, power, and duty to:
(1) Establish reasonable rates for taxicab service for the transportation of passengers and their property within the District, including all charges incidental and directly related to the provision of taxicab services;
(2) Establish criteria, standards, and requirements for the licensing of public vehicle-for-hire owners, operators, companies, associations, and fleets, including the setting of reasonable license fees;
(3) Establish standards, conditions, and requirements of public vehicle-for-hire service;
(4) Establish standards for operator and passenger safety, including:
(A) Within one year of October 22, 2012, providing for the installation of security devices in all taxicabs; and
(B) Increased enforcement by vehicle inspection officers, including during late evening and early morning hours, of unlicensed or out-of-jurisdiction operators of public vehicles-for-hire attempting to provide passenger service in the District;
(5) Establish standards and requirements relating to the modernization of equipment and equipment design;
(6) In situations of public emergency or because of extraordinary circumstances affecting the taxicab industry, regulate the rates charged for the lease of taxicabs by taxicab companies, associations, and fleets considered necessary to protect the public interest;
(7) Establish reasonable civil fines and penalties for violations of rules and orders issued by the DFHV, including penalties consisting of license suspension and revocation;
(8) Advise government agencies and authorities with jurisdiction over public transportation or public highways and public space within the District regarding the routing of taxicabs and the location of taxicab stands;
(9) Advise the Mayor regarding the execution, modification, and termination of reciprocal agreements with governmental bodies in the Washington Metropolitan Area regarding taxicabs;
(10) Establish primary public vehicle-for-hire operator training courses, operator refresher training courses, and training for operators of wheelchair-accessible taxicabs, and determine how often these courses will be offered; provided, that the primary training course shall be offered as needed and shall be taken by operators as necessary, as established by rulemaking, pursuant to § 47-2829(e)(2)(A);
(11) Provide for the training and oversight of vehicle inspection officers, who shall be responsible for enforcing all rules and regulations promulgated by the Mayor governing public and private vehicles-for-hire, particularly with respect to taxicabs and limousines, pursuant to § 50-301.30;
(12) Establish policies encouraging energy conservation, the reduction of pollution, including through the use of alternative-fuel vehicles, the reduction of traffic congestion, an increase in services to persons with disabilities, and policies that promote a more livable city;
(13) Create incentives for and study taxicab service in underserved areas, which may include the placement of public vehicle-for-hire stand locations in underserved areas, the study of GPS data to inform transportation policy, and examining the supply of taxicabs in the District, as established through rulemaking;
(14) Receive, hear, respond to, and adjudicate complaints lodged in the OHCR against the vehicle-for-hire industry, including taxicab operators, companies, associations, fleets, and taxi dispatch services, by consumers and officials or employees of government involved in public vehicle-for-hire enforcement or administration, or refer such contested matters to the Office of Administrative Hearings, pursuant to § 50-301.32;
(15) When determined to be necessary to protect the public interest, hear complaints and disputes occurring within the taxicab industry, including complaints and disputes between companies, associations, operators, or owners; and, to address industry-wide problems, issue reasonable rules for the governance of intra-industry relationships;
(16) Hear and decide appeals taken from license denials and proposed revocations or suspensions issued by the OCE, or refer the contested matter to the Office of Administrative Hearings;
(17) Hear and decide complaints and appeals taken from any order, act, practice, or policy implemented by the DFHV relating to the taxicab industry;
(18) Undertake the investigation of any aspect of taxicab operations and practices necessary to protect public safety;
(19) Establish any rule relating to the regulation and supervision of the public vehicle-for-hire industry not specifically delineated in this subchapter, so long as the rule is consistent with this subchapter and related to the furtherance and protection of the public interest in public vehicle-for-hire transportation;
(19A) Establish rules relating to the enforcement of traffic regulations against carrier-for-hire vehicles; and
(20) Charge and collect reasonable fees for services it is authorized to provide under this subchapter and § 47-2829(e)(2), with funds to be deposited in the Public Vehicles-for-Hire Consumer Service Fund created by § 50-301.20.
(d)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, in exercising the rulemaking and ratemaking authority vested in it, the DFHV shall adhere to and be subject to the requirements of subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.], which shall apply to the DFHV. The DFHV shall, in giving notice of intended action in accordance with § 2-505, afford interested persons an opportunity to make public comment.
(2)(A) Before adjusting rates, or changing any existing fee or charge relating to public vehicles-for-hire, the DFHV shall hold at least one public hearing and publish notice of the proposed change in the District of Columbia Register. The notice shall:
(i) Establish a public comment period of not fewer than 45 days from the date of publication; and
(ii) Set a date for a public hearing on the proposed change, which shall be held no fewer than 20 days from the date of publication.
(B) In the event of an emergency declaration, the DFHV may adjust rates for public vehicles-for-hire for the duration of the emergency without complying with the requirements of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.
(e) The DFHV may issue orders which shall have binding effect in exercising any authority conferred by this section.