Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Times And Travails Of A Sole Proprietor Taxi Operator & Taxi Industry Work List 2008

Last week all it would have taken was for someone to lift the caps off 478's battery to discover that two of the six holes were dry, missing the vital acid that filled the remaining receptacles.  Night driver Raymond had called me last Wednesday, complaining of poor starting.  Taking time out of his shift, he first went to the Yellow garage, then to the auto parts store where I have a full replacement warranty on the battery purchased only last February.

Instead of doing a full and thorough check, both my friend Taki (one of the world's great mechanics) and the O'Reilly's store manager said the battery was okay when it wasn't.  Having no problems this past weekend I stupidly decided it wasn't a serious problem until day driver Tom called me yesterday morning saying "he was dead in the water."  Directing him to yet another O'Reilly's, Tom again received the same verdict given to Raymond.

Telling Tom that "enough of all this," I threw on my clothes and drove down to Seattle (from Tacoma), taking 478 back to the garage where Randy ( working on cars since he could barely stand up) figured out what the issue was.  Taking the car back to the White Center O'Reilly's I showed them the problem, and instead of paying yet another $144.00 I got another warranty covered replacement battery.

Tom now reports that 478 is starting better than ever.  And tomorrow, after Tom's shift, I am taking the car back to the garage for front and rear brakes, a new radiator (Randy showed me the leak) and yet another oil change.  How long does it take to put 3000 miles on 478?  Two weeks more or less.  478 is a "real runner" and in appreciation I am attempting to "baby it" as much as I can.  With over 500,000 miles I know I will be replacing it sometime next year.  But for the moment it is our steady steed, truly a good taxi horse.  Can you love a car?  Yes I believe you can.

Taxi Work Sheet Circa 2008

Clearing out a storage room I came across a box containing reams of paperwork and documents from our (Seattle & King County taxi industry) legal disagreement with King County.  In that box I discovered a work sheet I had composed (when president of the "Alliance of Taxi Associations")  for goals spanning the years 2008-2010, outlining what I thought was and could be achievable.  What it tells me is that at least one cabbie eight years ago was attempting to be constructive.

For your interest, I present this walk down taxi memory lane, keeping my comments brief because as soon as I finish this week's blog posting I blast off to yet a another past-due project.  One humorous note was my conversation during the most recent TAG meeting with Eddie Cantu, the current KC Licensing Director.  When I said that the Green Cab licensing situation remained unresolved, he said that wasn't the case at all, given that Green Cab had successfully completed the "pilot program" and were issued permanent KC licenses.  How that occurred is a mystery, given that no "taxi driver employees" were ever hired per the KC agreement.  Oh well!  Last week I found out that the permanent Green Cab county licenses were issued in part of backroom "wheeling and dealing" during that Uber negotiation almost three years ago.  As usual, I don't know whether to laugh or cry, or making a bad rhyme, sigh?

Work Sheet

Of Immediate Concern

---Green Cab & King County

---Mayor's New Taxi Initiatives

---Viability of  the "Alliance of Taxi Associations"

---Schism between owner and driver groups

---L&I and other benefit issues

Longer Term Concerns

---Change license leasing model (City & KC) into actual property ownership (medallion model)

---Develop permanent lines of communication with the City of Seattle and KC

---Incorporate new driver training and preparation as functional and operational model

---All taxis City & County plates

---Recognition of taxis as transit (allowing HOV lane use, etc)

---Expansion of 24 hour taxi zones (City & County-wide)

---Maintenance of cars and equipment (MDTs, radios,etc)

---Development of mediation procedures between drivers and owners and company ( association) management

There you have it.  Yes, medallions are now real property but in exchange we now have 14,000 Uber cars.  This is a good trade off?

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