Last night I had an alarming conversation with a taxi buddy, my colleague distressed and panicked, expressing the opinion that PSD/BYG (Seattle Yellow Taxi) is set to implode and vanish from the known taxi earth. Rumors of bankruptcy and other dire predictions left his lips. I tired to reassure him that what we were experiencing was a temporary "rough patch" and the result of poor planning, something that was being addressed as quickly as possible. I know he remained unconvinced, and who can blame him, one bad financial week leaving him battered and bruised. "How can I pay my rent?" he lamented, which of course is a good question that hopefully will be answered by an uptick in business the next few weeks.
It has been occasionally scary, Yellow's new dispatch system's initial problems troubling and puzzling, confusing to the point that sometimes me and others had no idea (or concept) of was going on one way or the other. Though clarity has arrived, and PSDs new dispatch manager, Tom Holler, is working non-stop to resolve all the issues, that still doesn't repair the emotional damage done to our collective confidence and psyche. In taxi terms, the remediate balm is money, cold hard cash in our pockets, money being the first and everything in this grim business, making money again taking care of all worries and complaints. A suggested strike on the weekend of October 25th would only make a bad scenario worse, further irritating an already agitated customer base. Why make more troubles for ourselves, especially when we the drivers and owners are not responsible for the crisis, trusting that the correct decisions were being made. You can be assured that local media would have "fun" reporting our work outage.
Tom and I had a good talk yesterday, going over various points and problems and issues I have witnessed over the past weeks. It was pleasing to know he was well aware for the most part of what has occurred. As all of us drivers and owners know all too well, that couldn't always be said of his predecessor. He is planning on coming out with me soon and watching how the system operates in real time. It is good to know he is interested in actual practice, not solely in textbook theory.
Tom did go to San Francisco and observed the same system we have in our cabs working efficiently. And how many times need it be repeated? The failure we have witnessed has everything to do with how it was debuted. I feel we must go forward toward solution, especially given there is no alternative because, love it or hate it, the new system is here to stay. Patience is called for.
Once the "bugs" are worked out, the drivers and owners who know how to make money will continue to do well. Others, including some friends of mine with ten-plus years experience or more, will continue to stumble regardless of conditions. Back in 2001 I regrettably got my friend Steve into the business. Business was good but poor Steve remained a "fifty-dollar a day take home" cabbie despite everything I did to improve his skills. Coaching session after coaching session held no effect, Steve, for whatever reason, remained a lousy taxi driver, at least in terms of making money. He was a nice guy but bad cabbie.
And George Anderson, of Wireless Edge and GJ Anderson Group Inc will be in Seattle Monday October 27th, 2014 to do more "hands-on" fine tuning. George Anderson, if you didn't already know, is the creator of the system in your taxi. He is already involved from his San Francisco location. Again, be assured, PSD/BYG is going forward toward resolution. To be frank, they have no choice. Normally must return soon. That is clear.