Thursday, July 21, 2011

Holly Hannah & Deauthorized for Nothing Whatsoever

Briefly, ever so briefly, I want to relay to you the ___________that is taxi!  You can provide the noun or adjective of you choice.  Stupid, yes, my favorite descriptive term regarding taxi.  As for instance, young Hannah.

Hannah is a young woman I picked up off some kind of chartered party boat in the Magnolia at 1735 W. Thurman, which is essentially the back of Chinook's, a very popular eatery.  She has to go to Richmond Beach way up north but, wait a minute she says, my check (from PetCo) may not have been (electronically) deposited so my debit card might initially decline.  Fine, I say, one way or the other I will be eventually paid.  Hey, I can be reasonable.  I don't expect the young lady to walk the 8-9 miles home at 2 in the morning.  I make a great effort to keep the ride as inexpensive as possible, angling all the way north.  Eventually with the tip she gave me it came to $28.00 and yes, the card was declined.  No, problem.  I have her home address, your work address, and her telephone number. 

On Monday I run her card again.  Declined!  I call her more than once.  No answer and no calls back.  Finally I leave a message saying that she will be charged with "theft of services" if she doesn't figure this out.  Crazy, isn't it?  If she had lost her job or some other tragedy has occurred, just tell me!  Communicate!  Do something.  As I will always say, welcome to taxi!  Ridiculous!

It is now past 1 in the morning Monday, Ocean City is now closed and I am hungry.  I am in West Seattle having just gassed up 478 and given it a bath too!  At this point I have had a grand total of 81 fares.  I have made my money and off I am heading for Ga Ga Loc, another Chinatown dive that is open to 3:30 AM.  I am offered a fare in zone 265 (the deep W Seattle)  and it is unfortunately a "pay at the other end" located at the closed Walgreen's at 15th SW and SW Roxbury. Normally, though it is a good 2-3 miles away I would take it but since I am tired and ready to quit I take my option and refuse the fare, knowing that we drivers do not have to take passengers who have no visible way of paying.  Just because dispatch has arranged this it still doesn't guarantee payment.  And if the fare isn't paid, then I just eat the loss, just like I might have to do with Hannah's declined card.  It happens but all of us obviously attempt to avoid the non-payments.  We don't need our time wasted by such nonsense.

What happened instead is that the inexperienced dispatch supervisor deauthorized my MDT (computer terminal) for refusing the fare.  Since I had retired for the night anyway I didn't care but there is principle involved.  Dispatch has a tendency to make new rules up, then not tell anyone.  Endearing, I know!  The new imaginary rule this time was the MDT would be reset once they found another driver to take the fare.  After Chinatown, I spoke to the young dispatcher.  She's cool.  She just doesn't have the training nor the experience for the job.  Nothing new.  She has never driven a taxi and never will.  She is barely paid minimum wage. I don't blame her.  I know where the responsibility rests.

I email Seattle/KC licensing.  Craig sends me the statue.  I call Jim and leave a message, quoting article three. I call back and a disgusted Jim says he got my massage, leaving it at that.  What makes this so frustrating is that I talked to two very senior head dispatchers and they were shocked at what happened.  It is not something they would do.  Of course not.  We even have a computer code for passenger "has no money" for getting our "no-show" thus our "first" position back.  So why all this nonsense?  I was even told that in the past Jim wouldn't take those kinds of calls yet now drivers are being deauthorized.  I mention all this to show just how maddening the experience called driving taxi is.  Ready to sign up!?  Let's hope not!

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