Paramount perhaps beyond all other considerations concerning the addition of new taxi licenses and potential accommodation toward the for-hire vehicle and ride-share industries is the crucial question of passenger demand. As Seattle's population grows there is a perception that more people are taking taxis. Ray Mundy and James Cooper in their demand study implied that is true. But beyond limited peak periods during Friday and Saturday nights and football game days, is there a sustained increase and demand for taxis and related services?
Your answer might be similar to mine if like me you had been driving a Seattle cab these past few weekends. You would know that despite your best efforts you couldn't find a passenger. That at times desperation filled your mind, wondering just when if ever again would you find a paying customer?
I have a personal reputation of always finding the taxi fish. If I am having difficulty finding business then it probably means there isn't any, at least not the kind of demand warranting the dramatic increase of taxi and quasi-taxi services currently under consideration. Flooding the market with transportation companies doesn't mean magically there will be a corresponding increase in the customer-base. I would celebrate if that was true, wishing there were more than enough customers for everyone. Evidence unfortunately appears to say otherwise.
Caution then is the byword. Swinging the regulatory doors wide open is probably suicidal. Nothing good is gained if everyone is fated to earning $50.00 a day. Currently the taxi industry remains viable. Decisions made during the next two or three coming months must be well thought out and comprehensive, based upon reality not emotion. To do otherwise would be both unwise and criminal. I request that we proceed forward slowly. Not only must we seek the right answer, all conclusions must be correct. Families and individual futures are reliant upon this. Shall we never forget that for all concerned!
First Fare of the Weekend
One always hopes that a great first fare is a harbinger of great things to come. This Saturday I had the unlikely destination of Everett from a South Park Mexican restaurant at 3:45 AM in the morning. It was like being back in Puebla because she only spoke Spanish. If only each fare was a $90.00 fare. I could get used to that, lighting imaginary cigars with real twenty dollar bills!