Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Finally, A Major Seattle Media Outlet Writes About The Sea-Tac Outbound Service Award

It was long in coming but last Wednesday, August 3rd, the local weekly newspaper, The Seattle Weekly, featured an article written by Sara Bernard entitled "A New Airport Contract Puts Taxi Drivers in a Tough Spot."  Overall it is good but it appears working from both old and erroneous information.  The old (and it might be the correct) reporting works from the premise that Eastside-for-Hire's winning of the Sea-Tac service contract is confirmed but as I reported last week, that might not be true.  As the saying goes, silence from the Port "is deafening;" and quoting from Bob Dylan, "No sound ever comes from the Gates of Eden." And for me, that is the best part of Bernard's piece, splicing out a Port of Seattle regal in its pretentions, in its royal decrees.

Evidence for this is the article's comparison of outbound fees between Sea-Tac and three other airports: Phoenix, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.  Currently Yellow Sea-Tac taxi drivers are paying $5.70 per outbound trip.  Based on Eastside-for Hire's 22.5 million dollar winning bid, in the beginning each outbound trip will cost $7.00, ending with $9.00 per trip regardless of fare length, meaning a ride to Olympia costing the same as driving across the street to the Double Tree.

The three cities mentioned have outbound rates that are considerably less.  Phoenix charges $1.00. Philadelphia charges $1.50.  Washington DC, our center for all things democratic, charges $2.55 per outbound fare.  One must ask why there is such a huge difference between Sea-Tac and the other airport's outbound rates? And when Sea-Tac's rates are compared to Seattle Yellow Taxi's weekly $180.00 dispatch fee, one might again ask just how and why is Sea-Tac getting away with charging so much money?  Given that, I decided to use my own experience as a best case example.

My following example is based upon me driving a seven-day work week while averaging 20 fares per shift, something I have been doing for years, even in these down times, equaling in 140 fares total.  Divide 140 into my weekly $180.00 fee and you come up with a individual fare cost of about $1.30.  Now if I add just 10 fares per my night driver's shift over a five-day period and the total comes down to about 95 cents per trip. And since I know I make a lot more than the average Sea-Tac-based cabbie, why are they paying so much for a lesser return?  Another question is why don"t they understand this discrepancy?  Does any of this make any sense?  From my point-of-view, clearly it does not follow any reasonable logic.

Maybe all of this is because both the cabbies and the Port of Seattle share a mythology, a misconception that Sea-Tac represents the "pot-of-gold" at the end of the taxi rainbow.  That it doesn't, and never has, should have been acknowledged fact a long time ago but it seems it is to Sea-Tac's economic benefit to perpetuate a self-serving myth.  And perhaps it can also be said that Sea-Tac is literally banking on the hope that the cabbies will never figure out the true financial story.

Yes, one cabbie might, meaning me in all my exhausted glory, understand the real story and its distorted monetary figures but one individual will never stop an advancing tide, taking all of us to tell the Port of Seattle that their game is up, wanting a fairer rate for outbound fares or simply we will boycott Sea-Tac until you do. I know this approach might work because I believe they know what I know: taxis are the best transportation alternative for their airport customers.  It was true before Uber and it remains true.  Taxi remains "king," or if you prefer, "queen" of the passenger  transporting services.

At the beginning of this post I mentioned that there was some misinformation in the article; and that being the quote of how much one cabbie was making, stating he is subsisting on $11.00 per hour.  It reminds me of another quote a few years back when the reporter actually believed a cabbie when he said he was making only $8000. a year, the writer not understanding the cabbie was speaking to the IRS and no one else.  This is what happens when well meaning and innocent reporters jump unknowingly into the taxi whirlpool, their reporting becoming a trifle dizzy.  Not a criticism as much as fact.  How can you know when you don't?   But the truth is, I know, and look at me, I am standing upon my head spinning in place!  Wonderful!


  1. National now charges three dollars. National is the only open airport in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Dulles and Friendship are closed. Friendship is really Baltimore's airport, but it does attract many Washington travellers.

    Can you explain to me how For-Hire works out there? I noted that there is a difference, and have had several Seattle residents try to explain it to me, but none to my satisfaction. I note that Uber does For-Hire out there. It offers taxis, here (in addition to limousines and UberX), but only in the actual Capital of Your Nation; not in the suburbs.

    I am curious about the For-Hire, because I understand that they do not have meters. Until May, 2008, the cabs in the Capital of Your Nation did not have meters. We had a Zone System. Google D.C. taxicab Zone Map and several will come up. I am curious if For-Hire is something similar to the old D.C. Zone System.

    I do not like the meters, but Our Former Dear Revered Leader Kim il-Fenty told us that we wanted them. As Dear Revered Leader Kim il-Fenty was All Knowing and All Wise, it must have been true. The best thing about the Zone System was that I could tell the customer, to-the-penny, what it was going to cost him before he went anywhere (assuming that he was staying in the District of Columbia and gong only from Point A to Point B---which was most of the trips)

    Anyhow, if you can explain the difference to me..............

    1. Hello ,
      In regard to your question ,The ( flat rate ) For - Hire cabs operate in a
      Similar fashion as you
      pointed - out about the
      old D.C. zone maps. We
      did , ( as any good
      old cabbie will attest ),
      used to give flat rates
      when requested by the
      customer , simply to
      get the trip and to
      sooth over a slightly
      nervous Nellie ,
      ( customer ) . When
      Joe mentions these
      ' Johnnie - come - latelies
      ' operating in a hereby
      illegal sense , yes , I
      agree . For years , we ,
      ( cabbies ) , were made
      to ' toe the line ' or
      else you didn't get to
      work the job. But suddenly,
      ALL that changed overnight.
      First town cars , then
      Green cabs , then
      Uber / Lyft , then
      Flat rate for hires !!
      Seattle , used to be
      a modern thriving city ,
      24/7 . But not anymore.
      Too many drivers are
      out there scrouging for
      too few dollars. Night
      shift for cabbies used
      to be good. No longer.
      Lately , its like a
      ' dead zone ' in the
      heart of Seattle .
      And , one other
      unintended consequence
      happened by opening the
      door to all this new
      competition , driver
      quality is near the
      very bottom of the
      barrel . Not only bad
      drivers , but these
      new drivers never
      seem to know where
      they are going. Near
      misses are common place
      with Uber or flat raters.
      The push to get new
      drivers has , honestly ,
      killed yet another thriving industry . How much more
      are WE willing to take .
      Families are struggling
      to survive in a job
      market which used to
      be very lucrative.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Another unintended
      consequence that happened
      after the illegal co - operation between city /
      county officials and corporate
      big wigs from God only knows
      where was this , suddenly
      , even with cab companies
      failing financially , they
      made cab - driving jobs
      almost non - existant !!
      Honestly, it used to be
      Anybody could be a cab
      driver . All you had to
      do was get a license ,
      take a very basic cab
      school class and presto ,
      you were a cab driver .
      Not any more !! Overlooking
      the ' new rules ' in place
      from 1996 - 2013 ', now
      adays , you have to kiss
      a lot of butt !! Honestly !!
      And you have to keep
      your mouth shut !! Honestly.
      Expressing your opinions
      and trying to Stand - up
      for your Constitutional
      Rights at the cab companies
      is a quick ticket out
      the door. Communism lives
      and is alive and thriving
      at our local cab companies.
      So , does it surprise me
      that these companies are
      failing ?? NO , not at all.
      Too bad about all the starving
      children of cab drivers .
      What will it take to reverse
      these losses ?? Can you
      say REVOLUTION ... ??

  2. Silence Is Betrayal--Martin Luther King Jr.