I am getting the hint that some of my long term taxi industry readers are more interested in the sometimes "down and dirty" details of good, old insane taxi, and not at all interested in wayward Eskimos or Rosa Parks' ghost hitching a ride down her namesake street. Given that, at least for this week, I will focus on industry interests and occurrences. I am sure many of you can relate that I might have tired of repeating, ad nauseam, items and issues that never resolve but fester into the infection that is known as taxi. "Why embrace illness?" is my general feeling upon the subject, more interested in recovery than remaining a steady bedside attendant.
Back in the years 1982-1984 I did many "suicide watch" shifts at local psychiatric units. All this taxi stuff seems all to similar, remaining alert less dumbbell taxi again does something both stupid and fatal. A good/bad example was finding out last night that Seattle Yellow taxi DOES NOT have 24/7 wheelchair van coverage for those who might require it. The situation was twofold last night and early this morning when two requests for WAT vans were left unfilled. The first situation was by far the worse, as a couple was stranded at the train station at 11:00 PM waiting for the nonexistent van. Calling Farwest and Orange was no better, Farwest too having no vans available and Orange Taxi simply not answering their telephone. This is "big city" taxi at it's best? Give me a god damn break!
The wife was in a motorized scooter, and these were the final results, given there was no van and no real alternative to what turned out to be a bad solution. I took the wife and their luggage to the Hotel Five at 5th & Blanchard while the husband maneuvered the scooter down Seattle's unknown streets to the hotel.
Another Yellow cabbie, a real nice guy from South Sudan, walked along side the guy for a couple blocks while providing precise instructions. It was the Williams' 50th Wedding Anniversary but unfortunately receiving a not-so-nice present from Seattle's combined taxi industry. Making it even more egregious for them was that their travel agency had booked then into the "Pineapple Hotel." That there no such named hotel, except perhaps in Hawaii, was obvious. They had no address and no telephone number. It was the great South Sudanese cabbie who figured it out, calling Hotel Five to confirm their reservation.
The other WAT request was a 2:00 AM request in the Rainier Valley. The reason I knew about it was due to dispatch error, dispatching a regular cab instead of the requested van. Earlier, dispatch got me screamed at over the telephone by a panicked brother trying to get a cab for his endangered sister, dispatch providing me an address on the 7500 thousand block of 21st Avenue SW when all along she was at 24th Avenue SW. Turns out dispatch was training a new employee and he was making multiple errors that were only known of course when somebody like me called to mention that, once again, "things weren't right."
And perhaps making this lack of WAT 24/7coverage even more dubious is that the current leader of the WAT group is none other than the current Puget Sound Dispatch general manager. One defense could be is that all of us, both owners and drivers, are independent contractors, meaning we all decide our own hours, when we work or not.
While yes, that all being true being true, it just can't mean that WAT service is not there when someone needs it. The solution I think is fairly simple, asking for WAT driver volunteers to cover those late potential service hours. It reminds me when I was a lease driver and complaining about not having spare tires available 24/7. The response was, "you will never have 2 flat tires on one day." When it happened I was faulted for calling the tow truck. Amazing, isn't it?
--- I was almost killed 2 weeks ago when a driver ran a red light at about 60 mph.
--- This past weekend my taxi computer broke off its mount/base and I drove for two days with it cradled in a web of rubber bands.
--- 2nd weekend in a row I nearly created a riot, this last time due to a driver thinking I was taking his passengers at the train station. What is true is the majority of the immigrant drivers remain so culturally befuddled that "misinterpretation" is commonplace.
--- Rookie Yellow cabbie loss $400.00 when the junkie in the backseat noticed that the idiot drivers had his wallet laying on the front seat.
--- Dispatch was looking for a Yellow driver who drove away from an accident near Sea-Tac.
--- In the realm of taxi comedy, a computer-generated message kept telling us in no-uncertain terms can we give someone a blank receipt. Only problem is is that it is the only means we have of giving out our dispatch number 206-622-6500. I guess some drivers were selling blank receipts which must mean ALL OF US are doing that. Oh so much for the life of a petty criminal!
--- A taxi buddy apt rent went up $200.00 this month. He doesn't know what to do. The entire State of WA doesn't have rent controls laws due to state-mandated laws. Nice, huh?
So everyone, are you now sated, having gotten a generous portion of taxi as it really is? Yeah, who wants to write about this nonsense? Not me I assure you!