Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sour Tidbits: The Nonsensical World That is Taxi

Ah, yes, another false full moon, folks driving like deranged demons as I take a guy with a broken foot from Harborview Hospital to Tacoma, and making it all the more fun, 478's transmission slipping all the way, this after I give up two valuable hours to the shop.  Finally Taki makes his pronouncement, "We will have to fix it later." this after of course the person who gives out the cars has gone home so even though says Taki says, "You can't drive it." I have no choice but to keep 478 on the road.  Yesterday morning (Monday) while I'm back at the lot doing my "turn" (paying my taxi rental fee) I step down to the garage and watch a mechanic struggling with a new rebuilt transmission beneath 478.  I call the night driver and he shouts, "This is the third time!  They don't know how to do transmissions!"  Guess I will find out on Saturday morning.

The  "bad" Hannah turned out to be the angel I thought she was, calling me Friday afternoon, alluding to the check being held up somehow but now the money is there.  She insisted that I take $35.00 instead of the $28.00 but I told her the cc slip was already signed  so I couldn't change the amount and besides, I told her I am just glad it all worked out.  I also told her to feel free to call me whenever you might need a weekend taxi.  No hard feelings.  Just "stupid taxi", that's all!

Various lemon (or lime) tidbits:

Three taxis are struck on the Union-side of the Sheraton Hotel early Saturday morning by an over-turned car sliding into them.  Thankfully only one of the three were occupied, with that driver uninjured.  Unfortunately a passenger in the careening vehicle died.

Saturday evening the usual business overload, with bells waiting everywhere, including the less popular zones. I accept a Zone 245 call, an elderly woman in the Yesler Terrace needing assistance, the message says.  I call the telephone number and someone in Ballard answers and  says he got his taxi, thank you.  The address I am going to is eight miles distance from that other neighborhood.  Liz in dispatch says someone (a call taker) must have held the tumbler down and moved the number to another call. And because of that the number I want is gone.  I still go to the housing project, press the button for the given apartment but no,answer. I shout "Yellow Cab!" but to no avail. Another call gone to taxi hell!

The taxi stand sign at the Queen Anne Dick's (local hamburger chain) remains missing though I told the City of Seattle over two weeks ago.  They got back to me promptly but somehow someone is being a bit something.   Perhaps the signs are made in China and are currently "in transit" on a slow boat.

Dispatch has created its own taxi "Bermuda Triangle" in Zone 498, that being located just north of the airport proper.   A combination of factors now conspires against the "city-plated only" taxis who want to book-in while heading back north to Seattle.  I call it "trolling", booking into zones as you pass through them, trying to hook that "passenger-fish."  Dispatch has altered or diminished the computer/radio signals thus limiting our ability to book into nearby zones. Until recently Zone 500 (White Center) was readily accessible but not now.  Zone 498 signal dimensions were also altered.  And to cap it off dispatch is now limiting the number of cars that can book into the 498 at a paltry five.  What this literally means is that ALL of the city-plated cabs are shut out from working almost entirely a large area of the county that usually is open to them.  All this translates into more deadheading time. Though I can say that dispatch has (for once) a reasonable and plausible explanation, that the airport taxis are booking in zone 498 but are not responding when the fare is offered.  They are out of the cab getting coffee or gabbing or something other than attending to the business at hand.  Each non-accepted call takes the computer about 45 seconds to process.  If the computer has to run through say 10 cabs before getting an acceptance it all adds up to wasted time and a frustrated taxi customer.  Still there has to be a better answer than executing all of us for the crimes of a few.  Hey, I didn't even get to appear before a judge!  Wait a moment, we don't have one.  What is going on?
And with that I must say goodbye though there are other sour items, my head is numb and I have to quickly pack up for Eastern Washington so I can bake in the sun and work on the outlines for 2 future books that will BE completed by next summer!

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