My friend Stacy, local taxi expert and historian, called and left me a message this morning telling me that the bell ringing (hence, belled-in) was the ringing of a telephone that was next to the taxi queue. The telephone rang (the ringing of the bell) and the next taxi driver in line picked up and answered, I am assuming, with note book or paper pad in hand, writing down the address. With that, off the driver went to the fare. I find this all very interesting but so far I have been unable to find a source (other than Stacy) that can provide more information upon the subject. But in my search tonight I did find an interesting and amazing site. I encourage you to look at the photographs of the slain drivers the site features. For me it is truly heartbreaking. All of us cabbies know how dangerous the job can be. Thankfully Seattle is a very safe city in which to ply the trade. All we get are for the most part very irritating drunks. This past Saturday morning I take the extremely drunk couple to their address on Third Avenue West near Seattle Pacific University. I stop directly in front of their house but no they say, keep going. I proceed another block or so then they say gruffly "Turn around! What is your taxi number!?" like it is all my fault they didn't get out initially. Drunks! Don't we love them!?
Taxi Driver Memoriam List & World of Taxi Website & Taxi-Library.org
A taxi veteran of many years (beginning in 1975), Mr. Charles Rathbone of San Francisco has created and founded this wonderful source of information on "all subjects taxi." I bet he knows all about the history of the bell and hope he contacts me. One part of his site lists the names and cities of 2, 132 taxi drivers that have been slain on the job over a span of four centuries. The list ends with Romulo Magdusal of Lapu Lapu City, the Philippines, killed July 1st of this year. Somewhere in the middle of the list a Seattle driver, Gordon C. Perry, was killed on New Year's Eve, January 1st, 1969. The list begins way back in the year 1680, with the murder of one Philip Caps on April 10th, 1680 in London, England, his taxi of course being horse-drawn. I can't recommend this site more highly.
Andrew, Son of Mario: Reason to Believe?
In the Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 edition of the New York Times you will find an editorial about the local taxi world, recommending that the current governor sign a bill passed by the New York State Legislature expanding taxi service in New York City, specifically the other (or outer burroughs). I have been following this issue for a while and I am intrigued with the possible conclusion. Mayor Bloomberg wants to license as many as 30,000 additional livery cabs but now equipped with meters to serve Brooklyn, Queens and all the other sections of New York City that never see one of those ubiquitous Yellow ( the official number, 13,230) taxis except in Manhattan. The amazing statistic is that all those Yellow (New York Cabs) spend 97.5 per cent of their time picking up either at the airports or in Manhattan. By the way, the first time I took a taxi in NYC in January 1990 it was in an original Checker Cab, probably one of the last on the road. Like all good New York drivers, he protested while taking us to Brooklyn. Since the one I can't mention knew the way, the a__hole had no choice. Bloomberg had to petition the State Assembly to take up the issue because he encountered some strong opposition, namely Medallion Financial, which has a great monetary interest in maintaining the status quo. This is the fun part of the story.
All Mayor Bloomberg wants is that the ENTIRE city receive equal taxi service. Now there is nothing stopping the Yellow taxis from ambling over to Brighton Beach or Neptune Avenue and picking up the tens of thousands salivating for a taxi. Nothing but complete ignorance of course, a trait also readily located in Seattle. I will explain in a new moments.
The situation in NYC is that the majority of the folks now driving all those Yellow cabs learned all they needed to know (at least this is what they think) by sitting back home in packed theatres watching American movies with all those beautiful people riding in Yellow taxis in of course downtown Manhattan. Where the hell is Brooklyn, they say? Or Queens or the Bronx or Staten Island? They weren't mentioned on the silver screen. They seem not to know nor care. Of course all the money is in Manhattan and all that maddening traffic. What the drivers don't realize that if they just drove across the Brooklyn Bridge their lives would be so much easier.
I appear to be having some problems. Just a few minutes ago about half of this current entry was wiped out though it had been saved. I will just publish what I have and come back to it later.