Greeting from Cle Elum, Washington. I am on my way to a quick camping/hiking trip in eastern Washington and Pioneer Coffee is a usual first stop. Staying off coffee for a few weeks I am sipping hot chocolate. My brief commentary this week pertains to the notion that taxi service in Seattle and area is fatally flawed. My suggestion is caution before leaping to conclusions when reading about how awful everything is. Two examples of two flawed observations.
Nearing noon on Sunday two young women from NYC flag my cab down and head off to the airport. They complained how horrible Yellow dispatch was, saying when someone answered the telephone, the voice on the other end, instead of identifying thenselves as Yellow Cab, just said hello, then abruptly and rudely hung up. They found this impolite, not what a cab company should do. This is why they were walking down Pike Street searching for a taxi, disgusted and mad as hell. I responded that was very strange. Finally after quizzing them I found the answer. They used the wrong area code, dialing 425 instead of 206, clearly reaching a private home instead of dispatch. Taking their complaint at face value you would have blamed dispatch but the truth was far different.
They did ask a good question. Why is the number on the side of the taxis incomplete, not displaying the area code? It is something I have been telling the City of Seattle and King County for years. Now everyone knows why. Every telephone number is this United States requires a area code, that is ten not just seven numbers. Since many people are out-of-town tourist calling, many will not know the area code. Nothing like missing the obvious. And there they were, the young women pointing an erroneous finger at Yellow. Not very nice!
Saturday morning the passenger originating from the Grand Hyatt told me about her odd experience coming in from Sea-Tac. She was here for a optometry convention and was now returning home to Florida after three days in Seattle. She said that the taxi driver from the airport did not know the way to either downtown or her hotel. It was a bad experience. After asking her a number of questions I discovered the answer. Instead of a Yellow taxi she had stepped into a town car instead. The clue was when she said the car was "black on the outside." This woman was perfectly nice but I think she probably needs a "new set of glasses."
My suggestion is obvious. Instead of "blowing up" the taxi industry, can we all take a deep breath and assess whether problems stated are really based in reality? We need the entire story, not inferior articles written by the uninformed.
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