This past Wednesday I attended the Summer 2016 TAG (Taxi Advisory Group) meeting and glad I did because for once it was both informative and helpful. And for once I wasn't the only Yellow connection in attendance, my WAT (wheelchair taxi) friend Dawit and Sadik M.from the Supt's office also shared the table. Many things are happening concurrently, including the ability to form a collective-bargaining Union. I attended (along with Dawit) the City's last information session and there is a definitive timetable. More on that later.
One important development is the legal action taken by the United States Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Uber questioning Seattle's ability to proceed ahead with its plans, a court hearing that also occurred this week. You might notice that not once have the US Chamber of Commerce intervened on our behalf. According to them, we don't exist, and if they have their way, we won't.
Also, it is amusing to report that ex-US Attorney General Eric Holder went to work for Uber, currently at odds with the City of Chicago. Watch out for those Liberals. You know how much they love you! Head on over to City Hall and get a big hug!
New License Lottery
Whether it makes any sense to add yet more taxis to an already struggling business environment, the City of Seattle will be operating yet another lottery with a completely new drawing of numbers, meaning that if you had a high number last time, you will have another real and viable opportunity to get one of, I believe, 110 new medallions that will be released in either late 2016 or early 2017. Rules have changed and when I have the time, I will look them up and tell you all about them.
New Sea-Tac Out-Bound Award Contract
As usual, meaning as usual with anything pertaining to the taxi industry, confusion and contrary reports reign supreme. Reports are rampant that Eastside-for-Hire is having difficulty signing up the required 200 or more cab operators due to higher than expected costs. The City of Seattle reports that there will be a $7.00 charge per out-bound Sea-Tac trip per taxi. My colleague who wrote the Eastside bid says it is not true. He says the final per trip price is a function of how many trips are provided over an annual year. Got that?
Eastside guaranteed $4 million per year per 800,000 trips. The trip total expected now is up to 920,000. There is a future projection of $6 million for one million trips completed. How all of this is affected by "short-hauls" I have no idea. Stay tuned because if the current Yellow operators decide this isn't a good deal, I think there is a remote possibility that the Port of Seattle will have to revisit their decision.
What has never made sense to me is why the Port of Seattle thinks Eastside will, or can be better managers than Yellow. Yes, as I said previously, Yellow messed up but does it warrant such a dramatic change in the players. If everything proceeds as expected, all the Sea-Tac Yellow cabs will be re-branded as "E-Cabs" with their black and grey coloring. I know the color scheme because the past two months the one solitary "E-Cab" in current existence has been visiting the train station in repeated attempts to steal fares. Does anything truly change in Taxi-Land? No!
Forget About South Dearborn Street
All of the functions, other than meter testing, has been transferred up to the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue, on the entire 42nd floor. No, your cab will not fit into the elevator. You will have to find a parking space and take the elevators. Good luck not getting lost!