Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Taxi Follies: Keys, Single-Plated Cabs & Etc On & On Plus Commission Comments

Where should I begin?  Maybe all of you might enjoy the saga of the keys at Yellow.  What, you say, can be either interesting or entertaining about car keys?  Well, all I can say is that you are completely naive.  The taxi world makes everything, I repeat everything, difficult.  Isn't the taxi motto or credo "why be efficient when instead it is far more fun to be irrational?" Maybe it is just a plot to ensure that all of us keep up our reputation as crazed and deranged taxi drivers.  Why keep it simple when you can be stupid instead?  You wouldn't want to break with tradition!

Yesterday, driving 735, I thought it would be great to pick up a key early so I could miss the rush at 4 PM but being the conscientious type I didn't want to take the last key off the key board in the supts' office.  All the spare keys are kept in the garage and this is where this story begins.  For the mechanics it appears that all those car keys carry some special spiritual value or something that makes them worthy of the most ardent protection.  Ask Randy for an extra key, one of four on the garage key board and it is "Get away from here!" he growls.  "But Randy......."  No! No!  I only give keys to the supt!"  That is true I suppose but not at 4 AM.   I'll tell you about that in a minute.

Walking back to the office I see my old buddy the head supt standing outside having a smoke and bantering with the usual cigarette crew.  I say "G_____, let me bribe you with a cup of coffee and walk with me to get a key for 735 (a distance of about 75 to 100 feet)."  No, he isn't interested in doing that, not wanting to take away from his smoke time.  I don't blame him but for efficiency's sake it would be great to have more than one key.  Amazing, ain't it, all Randy had to do was hand me a key or G_____ take 4 minutes to make the arduous round-trip but as I have said this is taxi and why be rational?

And what about all those drivers picking up keys at the supts' window at 4 AM preparing to work day-shift? Well, if your key isn't on the office key board or in the jumble of keys just dropped off you are just out-of-luck because Taki will not let anyone have a key to the garage.  So there you are ready to work and your car has 5 keys hanging there inside the garage and sure, wait until 8 or 9 AM and you get a key but not until then.  Time and again I have said to anyone interested  (or not) in hearing that this situation makes no sense WHATSOEVER but it never changes.  I personally have had this happen to me.  There are no apologies.  Like so much of what happens at Yellow, you just have to eat it and enjoy yourself.  No wonder all of us have such horrible digestion, ingesting the inedible.

Bell in Zone 400 Going to Tacoma (and I can't bid for it)

Early Saturday morning a message goes out that there is this great call in the greater Shoreline going to Tacoma, a more or less $130-150. fare.  Great but since 478 is only City of Seattle (single licenced as opposed to dual City/County) plated I can't bid on it.  My taxi-for-hire license (the one in my wallet)  is City/County but not my car, giving me no ability to get that fare.  There is some real history to this, which I will find the time to elaborate upon in  the future but believe me it is very frustrating not to be able to work when there are customers waiting.  Again, I have told the City of Seattle and King County that this situation makes no sense WHATSOEVER.  Just like the keys at Yellow no one can tell me why this helps anyone.  And another major problem is that it keeps the average driver "address illiterate," especially in the outlying areas.  So much for bureaucratic efficiency!

As for yesterday's taxi commission meeting, I am freaking out and on the verge of resigning.  This time 3 members failed to show up and little was accomplished other than some basic agreements on how the group will function.  I did express my displeasure, suggesting that this wasn't going to work but I am beginning to be regarded as some kind of crank and "Mr. Blondo, would you please just shut up!?"  All I see is two wasted months and nothing, I repeat nothing to be shown for the hours spent.  Again, I will give more detail tomorrow but silly is as silly does and do I really want to be party to all this?  I feel trapped, nothing less, in a very unworkable situation.  How fun it isn't!

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