Saturday, April 13, 2024

MV (Metro Account) Found Underpaying Milage To Drivers & Helpful Info For TNC Drivers & Another "Taxi" Letter From The NY Times Metropolitan Diary & Australian Cabbies Win Big Settlement Against Uber & Still No Charges Filed Against The Taxi Murder Suspect & Don't Honk That Horn In NYC

MV Contract with King County Metro: Confusion or Dishonesty 

Before I go any further explaining problems King County and others are having with the transportation provider known as MV, here is a statement taken from their website, calling it their "MV Vision,"

"We will deliver the best customer experience with industry leading safety, reliability, and innovation." 

If this statement was completely true, there would be no problems but sometimes, words are merely that, words minus real action and intent.  MV has been found deficient recently in two areas: timely payment to KC Metro approved transportation vendors, and not paying drivers for total miles driven.  I have been told that King County officials were not happy upon finding these allegations to be totally true, demanding explanation.  MV, as the report goes, was contrite.  One vendor is requesting that MV utilize Google Map Miles when making milage estimations and determinations. 

Toward the end of my Seattle Yellow Cab driving, I had stopped serving the MV account, finding them arrogant and unresponsive.  That might be because MV is the largest privately-owned passenger transportation contracting firm in the entire USA.  They annually transport 110 million passengers in 30 states and Canada.  In 2022, they reported 1.3 billion dollars in annual revenue.  Has all this success inflated the corporate heads, like Seattle's local Boeing Aircraft Company?  I believe it has but given that MV is much smaller, and King County is the USA's largest county, they might be more accountable in the future.  A major reason all this became an issue was MV's unforgivable behavior, inexplicably not paying a small transportation provider for three connective months. It was irresponsible.  MV must do better. 

Uber and Lyft Drivers: Write down this information

A few days ago, I talked on the telephone to Gloria from the TNC Driver Union.  Yes, she said, there has been an uptick in bogus complaints directed toward black African drivers. The Union is trying to stop this behavior.  They are there to help you but many of the drivers have no clue how to contact them.  Here is what you need.  Write it down.

There is a TNC Driver Resolution Center. Go to the L&I webpage: Resource Center and Deactivations (      Call: 206-812-0829.   Website:

 Uber and Lyft are now both overly reactive when addressing what might be considered "offensive sexual" complaints, including asking a passenger out for a date.  Protect yourself.  I recommend that you have an audio recorder on when transporting any solo female passengers.  Put a sticker on the window stating that "all fares are recorded."  You must protect yourself.  As a cabbie I was accused of everything beneath the toplight short of murder.  Nasty passengers make stories up to attack you.  It is an never ending reality associated with transporting strangers.  Not only can it happen, it will happen.  

Another Positive Taxi Tale from the NY Times Metropolitan Diary, April 7th, 2024 Edition

"The Pearl Fishers"

Dear Diary,

I am 84 and been fortunate to spend decades devouring Manhattan's cultural scene.  I have slowed down a bit now because of my age and balance issues, and I keep my social and cultural events confined to daylight hours.

Not long ago, though, I was invited to an evening gathering that I just couldn't resist.  The later hour meant taking a cab home, something I mostly avoid.

As the cab pulled up, I noticed the driver was very scruffy, and my anxiety increased.  But I needed to get home, so I pushed my trepidation aside and got in.

Imagine my surprise when I was greeted by the sound of my favorite opera duet.

"Oh," I said with great astonishment, "The Pearl Fishers."

"You know your opera," the driver replied.  He began to sing along with the recording beautifully and continued until we got to my home.

When we arrived at my building, he waited until I was safely inside the front door.  It was the best cab ride I had ever had in more than 50 years of living in Manhattan.

Jan Keith


Nice story.  And one something very unusual about Jan's letter is that she is a very good writer.  Construction and vocabulary are excellent.  It is too bad that she never got the chance to ride in American composer Phillip Glass's cab when he was working the New York taxi streets back in the 1970s.  But her opera singing cabbie was a good substitute.  God knows he could have been a professional down-on-his-luck singer.  As I have always said about the American taxi industry, it is our version of the French Foreign Legion.  We have gotten everybody---human driftwood cast upon the taxi shores.

Aussie Cabbies Beat Bad Uber

It appears that the might of 8000 cabbies scared the hell out of Uber, opting to settle a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of those aggrieved drivers.  The settlement, which I believe is in Australian, not American dollars, is for $270.8 million dollars. In USA dollars, that's $176 million dollars.  Unfortunately, lawyers will be getting up to $35 million dollars for their law fees.  Investigation found that Uber had repeated in Australia what what they have done across the globe---illegally evading enforcement when invading a targeted market.  The settlement meant that Uber avoided having all their secrets exposed to the general public.  For Uber, it is merely the cost of doing business.  For all the cabbies who lost their livelihoods, it means redemption. 

What the Hell is the US Army Doing?

A recent email from my Tacoma Tribune contact, the reporter Craig Sailor who was assigned to the case involving the murder of a Olympia/Lacey cabbie by a AWOL soldier, said that the suspect Lee remains uncharged.  It has been nearly 3 months.  Why, why, why is this happening?  The US Army remains close mouthed about it, not telling Craig Sailor or anyone else what is going on.  Whatever you do, don't enlist in the US Army.  You will be in trouble in ways you never imagined, including getting killed in action.  Unless of course you are somehow promoted instantly to the rank of at least an one-star general.  Then you might have a good time, sitting on your military throne and stepping on the many poor souls beneath you.

Honking Big Fines in the Big Apple

I have been well aware that the City of Seattle can ticket you for honking your car horn but didn't know that NYC has had anti-honking laws on the books since the 1930s.  Violate the "NY City Noice Code" and you can be fined from $800.00-$2,500 dollars.  Now that isn't the kind of ticket anyone wants issued to them.  Crazy.  But hopefully, during performances of Gershwin's "An American in Paris," they don't ticket musicians honking their ersatz Parian Taxi horns.  In the original premier performance in1928 staged in NYC, they used real horns from Paris taxis, probably taken from a 1928 Peugeot  Landaulet, then the most commonplace cab in Paris.  Beep Beep!

Friday, April 5, 2024

If You Think You Seattle Cabbies Have It Bad, It Is Nothing Like The Taxco de Alarcon, Mexico Taxi Drivers & Busy Alaska Cruise Ship Reason Begins This Saturday April 6th & New Insurance Rates Through The Taxi Roof

 No Fun for Cab Drivers in Taxco, Mexico, One of Mexico's Famous Silver Cities 

While Seattle cabbies have been subject over these many years to belligerent cops, rampant road rage and racial discrimination and profiling, it pales in the color scheme to what the Taxco taxi drivers are experiencing.  Taxco, home to a centuries long tradition of silver handcrafting, draws tourists from around the globe, making it a good place to drive taxi. But unfortunately for Taxco cabbies, Taxco is located in the Mexican state of Guerrero, a part of Mexico in large part controlled by Mexican Drug Cartel gangs who, in addition to smuggling drugs to the United States and Europe, also extort money from cabbies, van drivers and other local businesses.  If you don't pay up, they kill you.  

A recent Taxco cab driver strike occurred when one member of their fraternity was murdered.  Four bus/van drivers were also murdered in a warning to all who would not pay.  And to display that they mean business, two Taxco police detectives were also murdered, their bullet-ridden, tortured bodies discovered outstde of town.   How this will ultimately end is predictable: the murders will continue until the cabbies relent and pay up.  

In Mexico, less than 5% of the many thousands of annual murders ever result in arrest and conviction.  To the Drug Cartels, everyone is expendable.  When they threaten to kill you, you can be assured they will follow through and do it if you resist their authority.  Making matters worse, Mexico's president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, does little to nothing to stop the Cartel's criminal rampage.  "They also have families, you must understand," he says.  

Soon he will be leaving office and suddenly, there is a good chance he will be living the life of a millionaire.  Many will question his new lifestyle but Mexico being Mexico there will be no accountability for his living the "good life" while Taxco cabbies dodge Narco bullets.  

Pay or die, and everyone knows the reason why.  

Cruising Begins: P-66, Saturday April 6th

Yes everyone, it is that time of year again, along with the first red robin singing and yellow daffodils blooming, that the first giant cruise ship of the year will be docking in Seattle disembarking all those dumbbell tourists needing to go here and there and everywhere.  Scanning the schedule, there appears to be a real cruise ship invasion this Spring, Summer and Fall, with arrivals not only on Saturday and Sunday but also Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  Go git em!  

24.7 % Rate Increase Granted

This morning's "The Seattle Times" features a story about WA State residents freaking out over new car insurance rates. The State of Washington government gave this rate increase to the insurers voluntarily due to the many car accidents occurring statewide.  Ain't it sad that the insurers have to pay up?  And sadder still is that we WA State residents have to pay for other's poor driving decisions.  How is that fair?  Why must all of us pay for the sins of others?  Where is the priest with whom I can confess, "I didn't do nothing, I swear it!"  Problem is, even with a priest's benison, my higher insurance premiums will remain, even God's intervention not enough to sway away Beelzebub's invective---damnation on the roadways our personal Hades, the flames licking upon our heels and tires. 

Monday, March 25, 2024

The Big Changeover Of Flat Rate For Hire Vehicles Into Taxis: For Hire Vehicle Conversion Guidance & A Letter From The NY Times Metropolitan Diary & Everyone Should Read The 2023 Trip Advisor Seattle Yellow Cab Reviews & Down Farwest Taxi Memory Lane

You Have Until March 31st, 2026 

On March 15th, 2024, Seattle and King County sent out a link to all flat-rate for hire medallion owners outlining what is going happen by March 2026: all flat-rate for vehicles will become taxis. This quote makes it clear: "The decision to convert is permanent and irreversible."  I am sure they expressed it that way intentionally, knowing full well that denial is the commonplace response in the taxi industry.  The link also contains an application to convert the medallion from flat-rate to taxi.  The link's 4 pages contained some very straight forward information, like telling applicants that a dispatch company is required and that meters or smart meters must be installed.  What I found most interesting is the statement that all flat-rate for hire vehicle medallions will remain the same, unlike taxi medallions that will become regional.  If your medallion is King County only, your taxi medallion will be the same.  Doesn't seem fair but who asked me? 

Finally, A Taxi Hero

What I have here is a complete letter written to the New York Times "Metropolitan Diary" concerning my kind of cabbie.

"Give Him a Hand"

Dear Diary,

I got into a cab on a rainy night to go see my child's nanny in a play on the Lower East Side. I had an umbrella, my bag and a tote with me.

When I got to to the theater, I got out of the cab quickly and forgot my tote. Oh, well.

Just before the play started, the driver appeared, walked to the front of the theater and asked whether anyone in the audience had left a tote in his cab.

It's mine, I shouted.

As I got up to retrieve it, he received a standing ovation.

Seattle Yellows Cab's Puget Sound Dispatch is Awful 

In these pages over the many years, I have written many times just how bad the dispatching has become at Seattle Yellow Cab. If you don't believe me, here are a few complaints taken from the "Trip Advisor" website.  I encourage everyone to read the many reviews blasting Yellow Cab.  The positive reviews concern cabs picked up at the airport.  Note, not dispatched.

from Elizabeth A---Terrible Issues, October 2023

"I tried several times to get a taxi to pick up my family (me and my grandson), but every time the taxi cancelled.  After three hours I gave up, but missed my bus and was stranded overnight."

from Sean A---Don't. Garbage Company, June 2023

"I book a Yellow cab to take my friend to the airport.  I watched our assigned driver pick up someone else and proceed to drive off on their tracking map, while telling me that we had been picked up on their web app.

This resulted in missing our flight.  Never waste money with these frauds. We ended up using Uber, which, while more expense, at least delivered the service.

This is why taxi companies deserve to die out."


Pretty harsh reality expressed here. Elizabeth is stranded and Sean misses his flight.  The fault here lies with the City of Seattle and King County.  I have told them time and again that they had to do something about the poor and inefficient service provided by Puget Sound Dispatch.  They act helpless. They can't do anything, they keep repeating to me.  Doing nothing is not the answer.  There are too many reviews like these.  People are being greatly affected by the idiotic service that is PSD.  It's true!  It's obvious!  It's factual!

Farwest Taxi 1990

Sunday, walking back to my car after visiting the DT Seattle Art Museum, I spoke to the doorman working the Hilton Hotel.  Back in the day, he and his father owned 7 Farwest cabs.  We talked how great the business was at Farwest back in the "good, old days."  But he said, along came the Punjabi Indians and they destroyed the company.  I saw that too.  Sad but true, the Punjabis, in their greed, blew up a great company.  It didn't take them every long.  In that way, they were very efficient.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

25.5 Million Dollar Judgement Against Atlanta Taxi Company & Unaffordable Seattle---Hwy 520 Tolls Going Up in August & A Trip Back In Taxi Memory: "I Am Going To Take An Axe And Chop Off Your Head" & Finally, Seattle Is Number One In Something Worth Celebrating

If We Needed One, Another Story As To Why The USA Taxi Industry Fell To Uber

As commonplace as taxi at-fault accidents causing serious injury, or even death are, the accident occurring on August 29th, 2003 in Atlanta, Georgia, was anything but usual, caused by a interconnected chain of events featuring incompetence, hubris and plain stupidity that exemplified the American taxi industry then and now, indifference the prevailing theme.  Just last week, a 25.5 million dollar judgement against Atlanta United Express Cabs was awarded o the husband of a passenger killed back in 2003.  The main obstacle to a much earlier court settlement was the State of Georgia's DOT's (Department of Transportation) legal actions over the years, denying any culpability due to the accident occurring on a rainy night upon a poorly maintained and designed roadway.  DOT took their arguments all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court before finally getting the ruling they wanted.  The facts of the case are as follows.

On August 28th, 2003, the day before the fatal accident, the driver, Aballah Adem, took the cab in to the Atlanta Taxi Bureau for the car's semi-annual inspection.  The car was passed and deemed safe even though both rear tires were bald, and in obvious violation of the measurable minimum tread depth of 2/32 inches. Compounding this error was the inspector himself, seven years on the job, and not knowing or understanding legal tire tread requirements.  Aiding his incompetence was both the driver's and cab company's failure to notice the faulty tires and replace them.  

Fast forwarding to the next day, August 29th, Adem was transporting a female passenger on her way to a $500,000 a year job interview.  Adem lost control of his cab on the rain-slicked highway, veering across three lanes and running into a tree, where his passenger was unfortunately catapulted out of the cab and decapitated. Yes, a very horrible and very avoidable accident.  Further insult was the sentencing of Aballah Adem, on August 23rd, 2005, when, after pleading guilty to vehicular homicide, he was slapped with probation and a mandatory defensive driving course.  That was it.  That was his punishment. 

Without much further comment, I know that all my readers understand the underlying implications to this story, highlighting the obvious.  The American Taxicab industry deserves what it has gotten, and whether it understands that the deathknell is tolling for thee is doubtful, very doubtful.  Their ears are plugged, their eyes covered but unfortunately their mouths and tongues are still rattling away.  Who wants to hear their prattle?  Not me, not me.  

Seattle Used to be Cheap

But not anymore.  Soon drivers on State Route 520 (the Evergreen Point Bridge) will be paying a peak $4.95 on weekdays, and midday rates of $3.95 M-F.   The bridge thanks you!

He Has a Sharp Axe

A few days ago, as I was mailing a letter, I heard a honk and it was "H", a taxi colleague from my earliest days dating back to September 1987.  My first meeting with him was unforgettable.  I was parked behind his all black-colored taxi on the Olympic Hotel cab stand.  While leaning against my cab, some idiot teenagers ran past, with one slamming his hand on the black cab's trunk.  Out leaps "H" and this is what he said:  "I am going to take an axe and chop off your head."  This of course was a remarkable statement but alas, he did not chase after the kid and behead him,  Not saying he didn't deserve it but a jury trial first was to be recommended.  I like "H".  He is "something else!" 

We Are All "Slim and Trim" in Seattle

The USA obesity rate embraces 42% of the population but not in Seattle.  Seattle is rated the leanest town wearing the skinny crown.  Interestingly, all the "too heavy" cities reside in the South.  Too much grits?

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Waymo Expands to Los Angles And Bay Area Freeways & Yellow Won't Pick Up At 100 Crockett Street & Warning About Cabbies----Not A Ringing Endorsement & For-Hire Numbers Have Reached the One Hundred Thousand Figure

The California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) New Questionable Decision

Despite the Mayor of Los Angeles' protests, the CPUC has opened up parts of Los Angeles (and the Bay Area) roadways and highways to more Waymo robotaxi service.  This expansion means that the driverless cabs will be able to zoom along on LA freeways at 65 MPH.   As someone who has extensive experience driving LA roads, I call this a recipe for disaster.  The CPUC ignored the February 6th accident in San Francisco, where a Waymo cab struck a bicyclist.  Thankfully, the injuries were minor. 

The City of Los Angeles pleaded with the commission to wait for State Senate Bill 915, currently under consideration, giving California cities more regulatory ability to control their own streets, to see if the bill passes but no, said the CPUC, we can't do that.  All it is going to take is for the next Waymo accident to be fatal, then everything will stop.  Will the CPUC apologize?   I don't think so. 

You Are Not Going to Get a Cab at Queen Anne Manor, so Why Even Try?

A once regular customer of mine has moved to senior housing on the top of Queen Anne Hill, the address being 100 Crockett.  When I was driving I  picked up there many times but no more it appears as Yellow cabbies are refusing to pick up there despite numerous requests.  Why?  Because they all assume it is just some old lady going to a grocery store, meaning it isn't worth their time to pick up the customer.  This is an old story and it isn't going away.  Nothing happens to a driver who throws the bell away.  No one cares. Not Puget Sound Dispatch.  Not the City or King County.  No one cares as the elderly customers sits and waits, waits, waits for the never arriving cab.  I care.  Do you?

Criminal Cabbies

Here is a quote from a NY Times article, "US Warns Spring Breakers Headed to Mexico, Jamaica and the Bahamas,", reported by Vjosa Isai: "A lot of times, there's not a lot of gap between criminals and taxi drivers in many countries, so using a trusted transportation provider is huge."  This from Scott Stewart, Torchstone Global Security.   Isn't that nice, jump in a Jamaican cab and get robbed. Wonderful.  Nothing like crime to go with your suntan. 

So Much for the Good Old Taxi Days

A taxi buddy, when trying to renew his TNC (Uber/Lyft) for-hire noticed that the new licensing numbers have reached over the one hundred thousand driver figure.  Does it mean that there are now over 100,000 TNC drivers in Seattle and King County?  Probably not but the TNC drivers certainly surpass the past number of cabbies operating in Seattle and KC.  At most I think we had 3000 cabbies at any one time.  As I will tell anyone who asks, this is why Uber and Lyft were allowed to break the law and eventually destroy the local taxi industry.  It is all about money, and all those new for-hires are generating big money for the county.  Who cares about a professional cab service?  No one is the answer. 

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Update On The Murder of RediCab Driver Nick Hokema & The Silliness That Is The Seattle Business License & Car Insurance Rates Are Up

 Is The United States Army Afraid They Are Going To Be Blamed for Hokema's Murder?

Two days ago,  in a Tacoma New Tribune article reported by Craig Sailor, it was announced that US Army Specialist Jonathan Kang Lee is now considered an official suspect, if not THE suspect.  For those new to this story, it appears that Lee stole Hokema's cab after murdering him, driving the car to Redmond, Washington, where, two weeks later, he was found hiding out in a house.  At the time of the murder, Lee was considered a deserter, having left Fort Lewis on January 14th five days prior to his scheduled trial on the 19th for sexually assaulting two underage children, ages 6 and 7.   In a KOMO news release, Nicole Sharkody, Hokema's girlfriend asked why Lee hadn't been held in custody, which is a very good question considering, that after Lee's desertion, he was convicted in absentia and sentenced to 64 years in prison.  Given that Lee knew he was facing what is essentially a life sentence, why didn't the US Army hold him in confinement?   One must ask if the US Army hadn't mismanaged Lee's case, their mistakes leading to Hokema's death. 

Since evidence seems to be reaching this conclusion, I think this could be why Lee's arrest remains shrouded in mystery.  Let me remind everyone that the US Army's history when it comes to justice is far from pretty.  In 1970, the journalist Robert Sherrill published his examination of military justice, "Military Justice is to Justice As Military Music is to Music", which outlined the sometimes horror story that is military administrated law.  This doesn't mean that justice won't prevail in this case.  It only might mean  that everything might move very slowly, frustrating all interested parties.  The US Army is BIG Government.  It has its own rules. 

In an email, Craig Sailor told me that Lee's abandoned vehicle was found in DuPont, Washington, a town about 15 north of Olympia, Washington.  This fact adds further mystery to the question as to how and why Lee ended up in Hokema's cab.  It would seem, if Lee entered Hokema's cab in DuPont, that it was a dispatched call, unless of course he had dropped off in DuPont, and Lee hailed his cab.  

DuPont to Tukwila is about 36 miles.  Redicab rates are a $3.00 drop, then $4.00 per mile along with 75 cents per minute wait time.  Minimally that would make the fare to the SouthCenter Mall at about $147.00.  What happened once they arrived at SouthCenter?   It would seem surprising that Hokema would not have already asked for upfront payment, given the amount owed.   Another question is, if Redmond, Washington was Lee's ultimate destination, why did he direct the cab to Tukwila?  I hope to see these kinds of questions answered in the upcoming weeks.  

One last important point I want to make is to remove the fallacy that driving cab is a simple, straightforward occupation.  Nothing is, or could be further from the truth, from functional reality.  What cab driving is is an immersion into active culture and society, every passenger entering your cab a living, breathing specimen of the human experience.  Whoever that person is, whether sane, insane, wonderful or monster, they will be sitting inches behind you.  This is not simple.  This is a complex equation.  And sometimes it all doesn't add up properly, instead blowing up in your face.  That is what taxi is really like.  It's not fiction.  It's not a movie.  It's palpable reality.

Hard to Believe But the City of Seattle Doesn't Care How Much You Made Last Year,

You still have to pay the business license applicable to the previous year.   For example, let's say the previous year you made $25,000 but this past year you made $100.00, the City of Seattle will still demand the fee connected to the higher amount.  Why?  Because this is just how the City of Seattle does it.  Doesn't matter whether it is either fair or logical.  I found this out by paying the smaller fee request.  I suppose this somehow makes me delinquent,  suddenly an alienated teenager clad in a black leather jacket leaning against a wall, cigarette hanging from my lips.  Is this a good/bad example of how the City of Seattle is run?  Yes, it certainly is.  

As You Cabbies out there will have noticed,

your insurance rates have gone up dramatically.  But you say, I haven't had an accident of a ticket in 20 years.  So what is this response, why are rates being raised.?  The insurers don't care and they don't have to.  No explanation necessary.  You either pay or you don't drive your car.  That's just the way it is.  Isn't it fun owning a cab? 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Whoa! Stop! Don't Spend $10,000 For A Seattle Taxi Medallion & Opaque Uber: Why Is It So Hard To Communicate With Uber? & It Is Past Time That The City Of Seattle And King County Create A Readable Website Explaining Step By Step How To Be A TNC (Ride-Share) Operator & After 45 Years, A NYC Cab Driver's Last Fare

 Do Not, I repeat, Do Not Spend Ten Thousand Dollars for a City of Seattle Taxi Medallion!

I found out today that the owner of multiple Seattle taxi medallions sold a medallion for $10,000.  As most know, these days, Seattle taxi medallions are essentially worthless.  I sold my City 1092 medallion for $1000.00, basically giving it away to someone who really needed it.  Why then was some willing to pay so much for the medallion, committing themselves to $500.00 monthly payments for the next 20 months?  Because the desperate soul found himself banned from both Uber and Lyft.  More on that later but it exemplifies the unholy power Uber and Lyft hold over their so-called independent operators.  They have the ability to destroy lives.  And do they care about consequences affecting a dismissed driver and their family?  No, they don't, and don't believe it when they say they do, "crocodile tears" streaming from their TNC eyes.   

The problem with anyone newly committing themselves to driving taxi in Seattle today is that the local industry is moribund, unviable, a sinkhole collapsing upon itself.  The big money making opportunities are gone expect when working events like big-name concerts and Seahawk NFL football games.  All the big money-making accounts are either dead or so diminished that it makes little sense to work them.  The easy days of averaging $30-40.00 per day are long gone, leaving today's Seattle taxi operator with what?--- unending big expenses the sad answer.  

What are taxi expenses compared to Uber and Lyft?   Taxi insurance is going to cost you $5000.00 per year compared to $1400.00 to $2000.00 annually for Uber and Lyft  That makes insurance your only real TNC upfront cost other than your monthly telephone bill.  While yes, TNC dispatch takes out about 40% out of each fare, it is nothing compared to the $195.00 Seattle Yellow (Puget Sound Dispatch) asks for each week.  From my experience, Uber is so busy, allowing you to make $300-500.00 daily translating into you not caring how much money is extracted from each fare.  Who cares?  In Seattle, the "fat and sassy" TNC driver has no need to care.   

As I have written before, the average Seattle cabbie must make $18,000 before they make a penny for themselves, taking 3-4 months to earn it.  All those hours, all that real sweat and blood expired on the taxi road.  As for the guy paying $500.00 monthly installments for this new medallion, add $6,000 to that $18,000 for the first year, adding up to $24,000.  The second year, it will be $22,000 before he has earned a dime.  Painful.  Awful.

Also not to be forgotten is the $1000. plus to paint the car yellow, that's if he has one to paint.  Otherwise, he is looking at buying a car for between $12,000-20,000. Then of course there is the yearly maintenance  like tires and monthly oil changes.  All this for the privilege of working yourself to death.  Anyone thinking this is funny is morbid.  This is nothing but death while breathing.  There is no other good way to describe it.  You are a dead man driving in your own motorized yellow coffin.  Your ignorance is your eulogy. 

What I am saying is that the exploitation of the Seattle cab driver must end, including the complicity of the drivers themselves.  Over the decades that I have been a part of this industry, company owners have  often been too ruthless in their treatment of the drivers, viewing them as so many easily replaceable parts.  This appears to be driven home once again by Puget Sound Dispatch's attitude stating that making money is our only goal, operator well-being simply not a priority.  

All of this is given a "blind eye" by a very theoretical Seattle and King County taxi regulatory leadership.  How can anyone condone the expenses associated with cab ownership?  I've stated this before that all this is immoral.  Sitting twelve hours piloting a cab through Seattle's traffic is no fun.  Try it for one shift and you will agree.   This is not a good way to earn a living.  Again, death is upon your lips, death your mascot, death your unwanted friend. 

Is There Anyone I Can Talk To?

A friend's recent ordeal of being suspended from Uber says everything bad about their communication and methodology.  The messaging told him he didn't have his required TNC for-hire permit.  The problem was, he had done everything he was supposed to, and for some unknown reason, Uber hadn't forwarded his information to King County.  He was blamed, made responsible for something not his responsibility.  He was also temporarily knocked off the Lyft platform because they hadn't received his DDC defensive driving test results, not realizing they were not automatically sent to both companies.  Not very computer savvy, he had difficulty reaching Uber's callcenter, and when he did, he was told that his van was no longer eligible, that he needed a EV to continue driving Uber.  Of course this wasn't true.  What kind of real regulatory oversight is provided by the City of Seattle and King County. None whatsoever is the real answer.  Get banned by Uber because a passenger said you winked at her?   Just the way it is, buddy, you're burnt toast.

But Joe, We Already Have that Step-By-Step Website

I wrote to my favorite King County (truly a nice guy) regulator telling him that a very detailed TNC "how to apply" website is necessary.  A major reason why my friend encountered so many bureaucratic obstacles is because he didn't know how to start, and when he did, he took some wrong turns.  I checked out their website and was not impressed, KC making assumptions the applicants knew what they were doing.  Anyone long associated with the cab industry knows that's a false postulation.  Instead, thinking that the individual knows little to nothing is a more correct stance.  

Beginning with the title, it should be some like "SO YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BECOMING AN UBER OR LYFT DRIVER?"   Ask any any Uber driver what the acronym TNC stands for, and I bet the vast majority won't know.  "Spoon feeding" the applicant the necessary information is the only way to avoid confusion.

Not only does the County need to be clear how the TNC/ride-share for-hire process works, the County needs to follow the process from beginning to end, concluding with the operator being issued their for-hire along with a car decal.  In my roughly one-year-long association with Uber, nothing is what I received.  

The more specifics the better.  Write the website in a way acknowledging that the applicant has been in the USA for abut twenty minutes.  Communicate in the simplest terms.  Then, and only then, will the applicant understand.  And even then, he or she might require assistance. 

Ending on a Softer Note

In the February 25th New York Times "Metropolitan Diary," a reader says he grabbed a cab from East Harlem to the Upper West Side, during which the cabbie said this was his last fare.  The passenger thought he meant it was his final ride of the day but "No, you don't understand.  You are not my last fare for the day.  You are my last fare forever."  Turns out the cabbie had been driving for 45 years in New York City and this indeed was his last fare.  Hopefully the passenger gave him a good tip, like say a million dollars.  That would be about right, after all those painful years.  But this is really like cab driving as it truly is. The guy could have been the best cabbie New York City had ever known but his exit causing no fanfare or celebration.  Nothing was noted, nothing was said except this chance encounter very accidentally pointed out.  Just like taxi as I know and hate it.  Good luck, sucker!