A rhetorical question. What happens when you open the door? The answer varies because it depends on literally where your home is situated, or more broadly the philosophical question you are addressing. If you live in an urban setting, you keep your door locked because too often unwanted trouble will walk in unimpeded. In small towns many people keep their doors unlocked, allowing friends to come over and borrow a cup of sugar. In Seattle we have a developing situation caused by an overt decision not to enforce existing laws and regulations. This first became apparent about three years ago with Seattle's release of the "for-hire" vehicle licenses. The drivers began patrolling the streets illegally picking up passengers, and minus some tepid enforcement, have become a more accepted part of the transportation infrastructure. We complain but to no avail. All we receive is "lip-service" and the surreptitious sticking out of tongues, insulting our intelligence. If you don't know the definition of impunity, look it up.
Over the past year new entities have sprung upon the scene, Uber, Uber-X, Sidecar and Lyft and others offering what is essentially unregulated taxi service. Despite the clear illegality and the obvious dangers to the rider public the Seattle City Council, the King County Council and the Seattle Mayor's office have sat on the sidelines watching these new services gain momentum.
This weekend I saw a Lyft driver cruising Capital Hill both Saturday and Sunday, clearly attempting to nab some of the potential thousands of taxi passengers wandering around. Don't doubt that I can tell whether someone is soliciting passengers or not, twenty-five years in this business tells me all I need to know. Who was there to stop him? No one of course, no one whatsoever. All of us in the taxi industry are saying that the only thing gaining the bureaucrat's attention will be a horrible accident and then we will find out that the driver wasn't properly insured, with the passenger left to sue Lyft or Uber. This is predictable. It is only a matter of when, not if it will occur.
Yesterday a passenger told me about her friend, a town car driver that was hit by an uninsured driver last year. His passenger was seriously injured but there was little to no coverage. She didn't know the outcome of the story. This illustrates the hazards the local governments continue to ignore. Beware of officials who think they care about you. Let something bad happen and you will instantly discover just how much they don't.
It was busy this weekend, the Chicago Cubs in town and especially, the Gay Pride weekend and parade predominating activity. Pride Week translates to rivers of beer consumption. What does that mean for the taxi driver? Amorous passengers of course.
I picked up the two guys in the greater University District, taking them to Capital Hill. One was particularly animated, squawking similarly to one of my favorite birds, the Yellow-headed Blackbird. He did a fair imitation.
Arriving at their Bellevue and East Pike building Mister Yellow-head decides I am handsome and must hug me. Reaching his arms around the front seat he attempted to communicate his attraction, with me leaning away from him the best I could, suggesting that this wasn't the best of plans. When I informed him that most drivers usually aren't as civil, he asked what would they do, and "of course, sock you in the nose!"
His friend was appalled, telling him to stop. Latching onto him, he literally dragged him half way into the street, the drunken infatuate now wedged between the front and back seats, his feet minus shoes now protruding up into the air, his arms sprawled on the sidewalk. I laughed at the sheer stupidity, drunks always so entertaining.
Drive a cab and you too can be desirable, a piece of meat served upon a yellow platter. Garnish with parsley, please! I am now part of the marination" nation slathered with butter and sauteed a golden brown, consumed by the general public and the usual clowns! No, the rate sheet is not a menu.