Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Good & Bad & Indifference

The Good:

Business over the weekends has picked up over the past three weeks, making up for a down period.  Good weather plus robust business facilitated by the nearly 14 to 15 thousand cruise ship passengers coming and going from the boats each Friday, Saturday and Sunday frees the city from any short-term economic stagnation.  A James Taylor concert, a Sounder's game and two Mariner home victories over the Detroit Tigers all added to a busy mix.

Most of my business this weekend was not centered near or around downtown, always a good indicator when outlying neighborhoods are producing lots of business, two of my airport runs originating from the greater Greenwood neighborhood, with another coming from the deep Maple Leaf.  On Saturday I even got a fare from Normandy Park to Southcenter.  In other words I was picking up fares from all over the taxi map, with a Sunday grocery run from the Des Moines Thriftway going all the way to Columbia City, a very reasonable $24.00 taking the ice cream home. 

As often occurs, the cruise ship action loosens up the business dynamic, making for more available bells.  My one experience this weekend, and first occasion this year working the boats resulted in taking two European crew members down to DT Macy's, for $12.00 and no tip.  Working Pier 91 is always a gamble in terms of time versus gain, making me glad most drivers view the ships as floating geese laying taxi golden eggs.  Unfortunately for me too often  my eggs have been rotten, making me hold my nose.  Unless something changes I will be doing my taxi fishing elsewhere, looking for bigger fish in smaller ponds.

This weekend YC 478 surpassed 390,000 miles.  The Ford Crowne Victorias are amazing cars.  My only compliant is that the trunk latch is sticking.  Hey, you too would be a trifle arthritic after walking the equivalent 400,000 miles.  Though still running well, and remaining agile as demonstrated  by last weekend's life saving maneuver, this particular Crowne Vic is due to be retired within the next couple weeks.  Thanks for the terrific miles, this weekend adding up to 700 more or less.  I appreciate all those safe miles!

The Bad:

When a passenger calls for a taxi they don't care whether they are at home or a grocery store or at Seattle's train station for the very first time.  They don't know about "bingo" bells or grocery runs or the Amtrak station address.  All they know is that they need a taxi and don't understand when factors beyond their control and understanding hinders or prevents them from getting a ride home or to their daughter's house. Disorganization and old-fashioned stupidity irritates me.  I will leave it at that.

Taxi can do a lot better and given our current business climate we have no choice.  Yellow and Farwest's new dispatch system will be up by mid-summer.  I am looking forward to a new efficiency. Our customers deserve the best we can deliver.  We are the transportation specialists and ultimately far superior to our competitors.  By the end of this summer I know who will be on top and who will be languishing in the basement.  Time to blast some taxi home runs and win the game.  We have the bats to do it and I know we will.  I am confident.

And the Indifference:

About a month ago I had nearly convinced myself to join the taxi union affiliated with Teamsters Local 117.  Why not, I kept asking myself?  Well now I know beyond a doubt why it wasn't and isn't a good idea.  Last week it was announced that Teamsters Local 117 was now representing a group of over two hundred disgruntled Uber drivers, clearly spelling out Teamster priority.  They are not interested in addressing and protecting taxi interests.  Teamster priority instead is representing ANYONE who comes knocking upon their door.  I hate to think who else they will be signing up next.  Perhaps some wounded billionaires will be next seeking sympathy and comfort.  Could you imagine their monthly dues?  

Doesn't Local 117 understand that it was the City of Seattle who created this mess by allowing entry into a closed and regulated market, first by introducing the flat rate for-hires and then compounding the situation by not enforcing the laws Uber, Sidecar and Lyft were breaking.  Representing the Uber driver only adds further validation. How can we in the taxi industry support that?  We can't and we don't, the Teamsters insulting the very Sea-Tac taxi owners who signed up for union affiliation.  If this new Uber Union isn't a knife in the taxi back, then what is it?   This is why I will not be joining the union.  I see it as suicidal.  What else could it be?

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