Monday, September 26, 2011

Again, What Driving Taxi Is Really Like & First Draft of Taxi Union/Association Manifesto

Always so much fun to be taxi-exhausted. Sure, I made some real money but the cost, the energy expended is not reasonable.  The following then are a couple examples from yesterday, Sunday afternoon proving again you have to be a fool to drive taxi.  Yes, I am that kind of fool.

Both times I was booked into Zone 285 (Beacon Hill) and on the first occasion accepted an adjacent-area fare in the 280 (Short Rainier Valley).  It was located at the very southern end of the zone, 6300 thousand block of Rainier Ave South.  If I had only known the fare location ( the computer doesn't tell you until you accept) I would have gone right onto I-5 south-bound off the West Seattle Bridge instead of going north then swinging East on I-90 taking the Rainier Ave exit, in other words, to the end of the zone as opposed to the beginning.  That fateful decision added at least 8 minutes of intensive driving to a DSHS call that wasn't there.  Having no telephone number I had to enter the building and knock on the door.  My total time lost was about 15 minutes in additional to an unwarranted withdrawal from my energy bank.  To make the big taxi money you must have an almost unlimited amount of physical energy.  As your human battery drains so does your ability to make money.  The decline is corespondent.  It will not and can not be avoided.

The other situation occurred during the Seahawk rush when it was so busy that a system that is chaotic at best breaks down and all hell breaks loose.  Drivers throw away calls and others are lost or simply forgotten.  Saturday night I was routinely picking up folks who had waited a full hour.  What happened at the 4000 block of 14th South is connected to the constant nonsense that never ends.  It only continues on and on and on.

I called the fare I was heading for because I was out of position, meaning it would take me slightly longer than usual.  I got to his corner and at first was slightly puzzled because the address was ill-defined, meaning it could have been either on 14th or Dakota.  Driving down 14th S. a few feet attracted the attention of someone it appeared who wanted  a taxi. Given this was a residential neighborhood it meant that she could easily be my passenger though she was coming from the incorrect direction.  Many, many times  in the past passengers have called from their cellular telephone while walking from a location different from the given address.  To complicate it even further, the person I had called was now not answering his telephone.  The young woman walked up to 478 saying she had called a cab. Clearly she was not my call but she moaned that she was late and had to get to work.  I was then presented with a quick dilemma requiring resolution.  Did dispatch screw up her call?  Or did a driver dump her and she would never make it to work.  While I was trying to figure this all out the original customer finally decided to answer again ( out of state cellular number) and say he was coming out.  I told the young lady to get in and that I would attempt to accommodate everyone.  It still took the original customer an additional 3-5 minutes to step out of their house.   It was then frustration took over.  Clearly I would be able to take both parties to where they were going but I took offense at his attitude.  I am sure more explanation would have helped but I finally had had enough, losing my temper.  Just as I did that there was the young woman's taxi flying down the street obviously lost.  I told the original passenger to take that taxi which I hope he did.  I took the distressed young lady to Seattle University telling her next time it would be better if she just waited at her address for the taxi, as her leaving just added to the confusion.  My reward for all this madness was having my computer terminal deauthorized by my friend I. in the Supt's office who was shouting that I was being greedy  He finally believed that all I had been doing was trying however unsuccessfully to make sense of the nonsensical.  And if the original fare had come out promptly all of this crap would have been avoided.

All of this was written to show you the stress involved.  Sounds fun, doesn't it?  Ready to sign up?

And though I am now out of time once again, a very quick treatise off the top of my top light head!

Potential Provisions of a Taxi Union/Association

---Complete & equal membership for all concerned, regardless of experience or industry equity
---A complete open & transparent & democratic organization
---A industry Constitution to be composed embracing all elements familiar to the industry
---Clearly defined purposes and rules
---Clearly defined & attainable timetables and goals

You get the idea.  Now perhaps the manifesto on Friday.

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