Legislative maneuvering down in Olympia at the state capitol and positioning for the expiring Sea-Tac service contract tells me everything remains the same, meaning the well-being of the industry continues to be a secondary concern to everyone save folks like me searching for that ever elusive taxi dollar bill. With the usual 12 hour shift now transformed into punishment and torture worthy of the CIA, local politicians, lobbyists, and monetized vested interests continue to treat the industry as its personal canvas, sketching and painting fanciful and surreal themes worthy of Dali and Tanguy. That Washington State Democratic senator from Medina, Senator Habib, keeps introducing bills that would free Uber and friends from local municipal authority and Labor & Industry insurance obligations, underlining the true and unfiltered reality that Uber's sole priority is profit driven, the financial enslavement of immigrant drivers and safety of passengers not upon its moral agenda. In other words, the now old, repetitive and well-known narrative ad nausaum.
And not surprisingly, at least one well-funded group (the first of many?) has raised its opportunistic head for that greener pasture, the soon expired taxi contract providing taxis to Sea-Tac International Airport. Again, the motive appears to be completely monetary as Yellow's (BYG) current service model is working well, providing timely and efficient service to airport-based customers. The unfortunate incentive appears to be is to make all the single-owners pay yet again a $10,000 dollar entry fee for the privilege for continuing something they are already doing. I can only hope that Port of Seattle officials resist the temptation of again gouging everyone by creating an artificial and unnecessary bidding war but who cares about idealism when money is involved?
My ending comment is while it is true all of this is serious, with long-term implications, no one is truly seriously addressing core issues. Why would anyone want to do that? Clearly no one is the obvious and sorry answer, no one having the motivation or will or interest to seriously tackle glaring wrongs and systemic errors, the operational attitude being why care when you don't have to.
Ah Yes, Love!
Saturday being Saint Valentines Day I was once again reminded of love's true cost when T_______ had to borrow 10 dollars to pay his fare from a workmate after dropping off his girlfriend. "I wish she would stop taking my money!" this lament coming from a hard working dishwasher. Wonderful!
Be Careful With Your Keys!
Sunday evening at Pier 69, while loading customers leaving the Victoria Clipper, a taxi driver locked both his keys and the couple's luggage inside his "running" taxi. I tried 478's key but no such luck. When I pulled away with passengers the couple were still patiently standing outside the idling cab. Unfortunately the only solution was having someone drive round-trip to the lot for an extra key but even with that there wasn't any guarantee given that the only key available might have been behind the shop's locked door. Now that would that been a crying shame, especially since I have been lobbying for a decade for driver superintendent after-hour access to the shop. As I keep saying, not the best way to manage a multi-million dollar operation. Oh, and another possible scenario is that it was a single owner's car leased to the driver, with the owner, along with spare keys, on vacation in New Deli. Isn't it funny that I am not making any of this up, that it all was potentially true? Scary, or something like that.