As the old 74 South Hudson Street cab lot was dismantled, and ultimately, moving to both South 128th Street (Puget Sound Dispatch offices) and the new Yellow Co-op (BYG) lot at South 107th and South Meyers Way, the question upon everyone's lips was just when would PSD transfer its dispatch operations to its new location? Upon my return from Mexico, I found out the answer.
Las Vegas, Nevada is the new location, meaning ninety percent of dispatch personnel was layed-off, dispatch in total minus Hopelink and school-run operations shifted to a Las Vegas call-center that has been dispatching for San Francisco Yellow for the past eight months. Ostensibly the justification for this shocking development (months in the planning) was the failure of dispatch call takers to properly do their job despite a recent two dollar per hour pay raise. While there can be no argument that dispatch held some serious problems, I never saw it as something completely broken, efficient management and communication correcting very resolvable issues.
Do I think it was necessary to do something as dramatic as what was decided upon? No, but it speaks to me what I see as a pervasive panic overtaking both Yellow and the American taxi industry on the whole. Having slept-walked for decades, the taxi industry has suddenly awakened to a newer and scarier reality. Like the sleepy-heads they are, instead of giving themselves time to fully awaken they are walking into walls and bruising their noses. Ouch!
But if you are puzzled by the posting title I will explain, which might also add credence to the PSD position that it was necessary to toss the louts out on their heads. The weekend prior to my Mexico trip I was belled-in to an early morning fare at 2401 2nd Avenue, which is a sushi restaurant. The passenger name provided to me was "Little Fish." When I got there a big, burly gentleman conducting some kind of "street business" took offense when I called out for Mister Little Fish. "Rufus," he growled, "my name is Rufus!" Calling dispatch, the then night supervisor told me the name change had been put out as a kind of joke. That I didn't find this funny goes, as is said, without saying, and neither did Rufus. In short, too many of the now dismissed call takers were simply incorrigible, doing anything they wanted. While missing friends like Jeffery and Fred, all I can say is that collectively, what happened to them is their own fault. Little fish indeed! Stupid! Working along that line of thinking, they must have thought they were "big fish" in their small dispatcher sea. Now, surprise, surprise to have suddenly found themselves flopping helplessly upon a wooden pier, waiting to be filleted. Such is reality when you think a professional task is some kind of game. It just isn't and never will be.
And what about the new Las Vegas crew? Well, the jury is definitely out. Already we are seeing omitted telephone numbers and short tempers. Why? Two plausible reasons could be, one, knowing nothing about the city of Seattle and King county and its streets, addresses, etc. And two, none of them have ever driven a cab, meaning they have no conception of who they are talking to and our inherent reality. As I always say, it takes five years for someone to become an actual cabbie and not just some mystified person driving with a meter and top-light. I think it will ultimately work out for the best but by nature I am inherently optimistic. Or again, maybe I am just delusional, just like every other garden variety cabbie. Funny I never noticed that my bedroom walls are padded. Gonna have to think about just why that is!