Join Club

Local taxi companies request higher fares to offset increased costs

A Red Top cab in 2013 (file photo)

All six taxi companies authorized to operate in Arlington County are asking for rate increases.

The companies say this would help offset rising business costs — including fuel and insurance expenses — and keep them competitive with rideshare operators. Arlington, which regulates taxis (while rideshare drivers are regulated by the state) last raised rates in 2016, per a county report.

The Arlington County Board voted over the weekend to a hold a public hearing on whether to increase the rates on Saturday, May 13. If approved next month, the higher rates would go into effect on July 1.

Riders could see increases of $1.70 to $6.50 per trip, the county report said. Specifically, the county proposes increasing the initial trip cost by 50 cents to $3.50. The current rate for every 1/6th of a mile and for every minute drivers are kept waiting, $.36, would increase to $.40.

“The increase is lower than the overall rise in inflation, but the taxicab industry feels that keeping prices competitive is very important,” per a county report.

Arlington’s Transportation Commission agrees.

“Given the significant increases in costs for drivers since the last fare increase, the support of the industry, and the report from the companies that they have done what they can to support their drivers by significantly lowering stand dues, the Commission is supportive of the fare increase,” Chair Chris Slatt wrote to the County Board.

“The Commission believes that the taxi industry in Arlington plays a valuable role as a reliable mobility operator with transparent pricing and a lower technological barrier to entry than Transportation Network Companies,” he continued.

Six authorized operators owned a total of 477 taxis in 2022, of which 8% were wheelchair-accessible, per the most recent available data. Friendly, Red Top, Arlington Yellow and Blue Top, which provide dispatch service, own 405 taxicabs or 85% of the entire fleet. Hess and Crown operate mainly at airports and taxi stands.

Number of taxicabs operated in Arlington per company (via Arlington County)

The number of cabs operating in Arlington has declined from a peak of 847 in 2017 to 477 vehicles in 2022, per a county memo. Wheelchair-accessible vehicles decreased from 97 in 2017 to 39 in 2022.

Taxi operations — already facing stiff competition from app-based ride options like Uber — were hit hard by the pandemic, with the number of dispatches and airport trips plummeting more than 60% between 2019 and 2021.

Calls for taxi dispatch in Arlington from 2019 to 2021 (via Arlington County)

Rides from Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport recovered slightly from 2020 to 2021 after a precipitous decline, according to county stats.

Rides from the airport in taxis (via Arlington County)

Data from 2022 and 2023 will be collected next year, according to the county.

“We track ridership data for the Certificate Determination Report analysis on a biennial basis,” says Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien.

If the rate changes go through, Arlington’s initial charge for a trip would become on-par with neighboring jurisdictions, but the cost for a trip — particularly a 10 or 25-mile one — would be higher, according to an analysis conducted by staff.

The proposal would mean that 5-, 10- and 25-mile trips would be more expensive than the cheapest Uber and Lyft trips — but they would never exceed the maximum price for these rideshare operators. Uber and Lyft use “surge pricing” to charge riders more during peak travel times, unlike taxis, which only charge based on trip length.

How taxi fares would compare to rideshare costs (via Arlington County)

These changes could mean an additional $85,000 in annual expenses for the county, which uses Red Top Cab to transport people with disabilities through the STAR paratransit program. The county expects improved efficiencies with the service to offset the increase.

Meanwhile, Arlington Public Schools expects the increase to cost it $77,600 for a period of 12 months. APS uses taxis to transport students with significant mobility needs as well as students experiencing homelessness or in foster care. The school system is exploring “alternative transportation options to support students,” per the report.

The county departments of Human Services and Parks and Recreation will be ending its contracts with cab providers this year. They awarded a contract to Chesterfield-based Dependacare Transportation for non-emergency trips.

Recent Stories

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. đź•— News recap The following articles were published earlier today…

There’s no official word on its website, but it looks like Bar Ivy in Clarendon may have closed permanently.

There’s persistence, and then there is Audrey Clement and her decade-plus effort to get elected to local office in Arlington. Clement talked with ARLnow editor Scott Brodbeck to talk about…

Makers Union, an upscale gastropub, is set to open its doors in Pentagon City next week, says Alex Brown, the restaurant’s director of operations. This opening marks the third Makers Union location in the D.C. Metropolitan area, following the debut of its Reston location three years ago and a recent opening at the Wharf in early October.

Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.

Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.

Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.

Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

The Optimist Club of Arlington is holding its 77th annual Christmas tree sale!

This year, the tree sale will be held at the Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road). The lot opens for sales on November 24th. The Optimist Club is selling small and large trees ranging from tabletop size to 10 foot tall trees! Wreaths, garland, tree stands, and White House Christmas ornaments will also be for sale.

100% of all proceeds go towards helping Arlington County youth.

For more information, please visit the Arlington Optimists website at

Submit your own Announcement here.

Holiday Art Show

Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to

Christmas Tree Sales

2023 Christmas Tree Sales Begin

Saturday, December 2

Get your holiday decorating off to the right start this year! We will be selling 150 Fraser firs, freshly cut and delivered from Sparta, North Carolina.

Sale Hours:

Read More


Subscribe to our mailing list