Friday, May 30, 2014

Taxi As It Is Today: A Current Assessment

The best I can say about the taxi industry I know and love is that it is remains in a permanent state of adolescence, which is quite the statement concerning a 100 plus year old industry.  Of course if you count the horse-drawn version it is much older, Sherlock Holmes in old London hailing a cab on the way to his next adventure.  Another element of that incipient adolescent quality is the apparent catatonic or cataleptic state of response to any and all issues, in other words remaining mute and unmoving even when it is clear thoughtful action is required.  Part of an inherent immaturity could be that the industry doesn't understand that it must respond but from my experience it is more like a stubborn teenager, someone who will not budge despite all evidence that an alternative is necessary.  One quick glance at New York City's ossified taxi industry and you understand there is no moving these folks.  As long as the money is coming in, everything is fine. 

Transferring that to Seattle and you see the problem, an unresponsive industry to nearly every serious problem and dilemma facing it.  And when the local industry does respond, it usually is with some consultant not directly connected to taxi, leading to the blind leading the blind.  One recent example from the past year was the explosive situation at Sea-Tac, with one crisis after another until the individual causing the problem, someone who happens to be a friend, was replaced by a life-long taxi veteran.  Since then, relative tranquility has reigned over what once was chaotic. Why is the industry's first choice always the wrong choice?

From what I can see of it, the question boils down to one essential point: when will everyone involved, from lease driver to owner, finally realize that they are operating a business like any other business, meaning you cannot make up rules on the fly, deciding one minute I will do something one way and literally the next minute deciding upon an opposite course.  A free-form venue, while quite successful when operating a rock & roll radio station, does not apply to standard business practices.  You just can't do anything you want just because you think you have an imaginary permission to conduct yourself differently from usual and expected norms.  What you end up with is anarchy. 

That is why we are being attacked by a new breed of competitors.  They don't take us seriously.  I can certainly understand why they don't.  What they see are a bunch of teenagers hanging out on the corner, laughing and joking and smoking cigarettes.  If we don't fit that description, then exactly who and what are we?  If you are honest, you know the answer.  Then what are we going to do change the situation?  Think about it and start talking to your friends and taxi colleagues.  It is time to be responsible.  It is time to stop making excuses.  It is time to become an adult.





2 comments:

  1. Most people would be terrified at the thought that their world might soon transform into a state of complete "anarchy." However, in one sense it's precisely what humanity needs.

    To many, the term "anarchy" implies violent chaos and bloody mayhem, and a complete breakdown of organized society-- a situation no decent person wants.

    What the word literally means, however, is "rule by no one," a society without any ruling class. And while people are right to believe that authoritarian "law and order" is the opposite of "anarchy," they are wrong to put their faith in the former, or to fear the latter.

    In fact, those events which best epitomize the negative meaning of "anarchy"--chaos, death and destruction--have always been the direct result of government. Yet many people still fear freedom more than they fear government.

    More and more people are now coming to realize that what society really needs is not a new flavor of authoritarian domination, but a complete absence of political power (which should not be confused with a lack of cooperation or organization).

    People are so accustomed to hearing "master plans" from politicians that they often have a hard time imagining actual freedom--a society that doesn't try to create a one-size-fits-all agenda for everyone, where instead, people can organize and cooperate in a million different ways. In other words, ANARCHY.

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