The new meter rates minus all the doomsayers appears to have had little impact because the 20 cents per mile increase inspires neither comment nor notice. The rate is now $2.70 per mile up from the old $2.50 which translates to one additional dollar every five miles. So far the passenger public appears okay with that. The "five dollar" trip or fare representing the usual short ride remains intact as the meter clicks in at $5.10 or $5.40. "Give me five" I say and the response is the usual six bucks. I filled over three trip sheets this weekend which probably translates into "when someone needs a taxi they will take one." Fairly simple logic here.
The contradiction relates to dispatch policies and what service perimeters are being applied or not. Last weekend I had two separate customers refuse to get into the taxi because I had arrived too early. Turning on the meter and waiting wasn't acceptable. One fool actually told me to "F_ _K Off! all because I arrived at his Alki neighbourhood door in 2 minutes. How dare I? How can providing good and quick and efficient service be unacceptable when the constant lament is that the taxi never shows up. When I asked that there should be a policy concerning these kinds of refusals I was literally laughed at and told no, the passenger has the right to not only tell me to go away but request another taxi. The problem with this kind of attitude is many.
Anyone who has been on hold at Yellow taxi waiting for the call taker to take down your request has listened to "our GPS will send you the closest cab" which is an inherent acknowledgement that the closer the cab the faster it arrives to your door which is what we all strive for. Another aspect to this is that dispatch has essentially declared war upon Yellow's entire group of drivers for the very crime of providing poor and indifferent service. Given that, it makes no sense whatsoever to punish excellent service, saying that efficiency is inconsequential. It could be said that despite some innate temperamental flaws I am more or less the model cabbie at least in terms of making the entire process of picking and dropping off almost seamless. I make it happen quickly. I am not playing games and in a moment I will give you an example of just how I approach the problem of reaching a "bell." It is nonsensical to say we have a particular service model then do nothing to support that very model you at least rhetorically say is your ultimate goal with every dispatched taxi. It is the "Alice in Wonderland" model when no means yes, fat is thin and gravity, instead of keeping your feet safely planted upon Terra Firma releases you into the atmosphere and soon like the late Neil Armstrong you are walking upon the moon!
Now an example of how the professional taxi driver does it. I challenge anyone to say that this is poor service. How can it be?
Yesterday morning I am coming back from Sea-Tac and receive a zone 505 bell sending me to the United Parcel Service terminal at Boeing Field, 7575 Perimeter Road South. At the point I accept the call I am northbound State Route 509 putting me about 6-7 circuitous "driving" miles from the waiting passenger. The key to this kind of adventure is the beginning or starting point. I am located to the southwest and the passenger is on the northeast side of Boeing Field. I call the guy and say you''ll see me in 7-8 minutes. This is when the fun begins!
I continue north-bound flying toward the 1st South bridge but instead take the first right hand turn available at W. Marginal Way South. From there turning right again I'm onto SR 99/599 heading now southeast toward the S.116th & Pacific Highway South exit which in turns puts me northbound allowing me to turn right onto Boeing Access Road which transitions into northbound Airport Way South. From there I had about 2/3rds of a mile to go before running parallel to Perimeter Road South. Got all of that? Happily I arrived in exactly eight minutes and then boom! off again to Sea-Tac. Who the hell! can argue with that kind of service? How could it be said that I had done something wrong and should have been turned away? Clearly anyone can tell how much an opposite opinion might be worth. Not worthy of the expended breath!
Feeding the Beast?
This morning about 12:45 AM a production crew from the "Travel Channel" got into my taxi and off we went upon a "simulated" ride to Beth's Cafe, the 24 Hour dive up on Aurora Avenue North, located just across from Green Lake. The only problem is that they wanted me to be entertaining and I was nearly out of my mind. They weren't in much better shape. We drove around and I told them how passengers love to molest me etc. Evidently their viewership enjoys minor deviancy. By the time we got to the Executive Inn the meter read twenty and I was flipped forty. I was reminded of Buck Owens and "they are gonna make a big _____outta of me!" Ah yes the distorted and exhausted limelight, or is that yellow moon beam blinding my way? Doesn't matter either way as my eyes are completely shut with little incentive to verify competing realities.