Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Greetings For The Third Time From San Miguel: For The Very First Time, Uber & Lyft Overtake Nationwide Taxi Industry For Business Travel Expenses

Again I am back in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for the second time this year and third visit overall. Though very tired on this election day, I am glad to be here.  Yes I voted, having mailed in my ballot two weeks ago.  Yesterday my entire journey, including the shuttle ride from the Leon airport to San Miguel, took over 13 hours.

And getting a long ride early Sunday morning set me up for 4 hours sleep that day and 3 hours of nap time Monday before entering the friendly skies---a gentleman from the Northgate Transit Center needing to make it home to Mount Vernon, Washington, essentially 62 miles north of Seattle.  Taxi never changes, always unpredictable, one never truly knowing where that next passenger is going, which is why I always advise to answer that call and find out; like entering a lottery, you might end up with an unexpected smile.

Uber & Lyft Winning

A news item in yesterday's 11/07/2016 USA edition really grabbed my attention, stating that for a recent three-month period ending September, a study conducted by Certify, a travel expense software company, utilizing  more than 10 million ground transportation receipts, found that Uber and Lyft accounted for 52 percent of them.  The article, reported by Nancy Trejos, also provides quotes from business travelers expressing frustration with overall taxi service regardless of the city or airport.  While Uber in particular has recently gotten some bad press, their business model is expanding while taxi's is shrinking.  The reasons are many but one example occurring Friday morning is telling.

Driving up on Capital Hill I saw a pedestrian approach a Yellow Cab, talk into the window and watch the cab fly away.  I pulled up and found out what happened: the customer (African-American and two friends) having requested a ride to the corner of Rainier South and South Orcas in the Columbia City neighborhood. I of course told them to "just jump in" and got the $29.00 instead.  Why the East African cabbie blew them off is something I can only guess but it is well known in Seattle Cab-land that many but not all East African Immigrant cabbies discriminate against American-born blacks.  I am also guessing that it is the same Uber and Lyft driver population that is refusing to pick up American black customers. American-born black passengers still repeatedly tell me they continue to struggle to get a cab, even expressing surprise that I stopped for them.  It is a bad story.   

And all you Seattle cabbies out there sitting wondering why you can't make any money should ask your friends just what are they doing and why they are doing it?  It is a sad tale.  And as the USA reporter made clear, we are getting are butts kicked, there is no doubt about it.

Dying Cabbie Still Requiring Monetary Assistance

Robert Stansell, the Seattle cabbie, has seen his physical situation worsen and is now hospitalized for perhaps the final time. I am told he has two weeks to live.  Expensive pain medication is now required and Rob has no means to pay for it so once again friends and supporters are asking for help.  Most probably don't know that Rob returned to driving cab for about 3 weeks in a desperate attempt to pay his bills.  How fun is that, mere weeks from death but feeling the pressure to make a living?  God help Rob and us all!

Again, his GoFundMe account is


If you have the time, Rob is at University Washington Medical Center, 4NE, Room 4262. Go to the information desk in the lobby and they will be able to direct you.

Postscript Times Two

---Rob Stansell has been released from the hospital and been allowed to return to his apartment.  His situation is dire. It is estimated he has two weeks of life left.  Again, any and all help is appreciated.

---My favored candidate for the 7th US Congressional District, Brady Walkinshaw, lost to Pramila Jayapal.  I only mention this because the media is touting her as the first Indian-American voted to Congress but the problem is, no one says whether she is from India, which she is, or of Native American Tribal descent?   You might term it the revenge of Christopher Columbus and his discovery not of America but of a shortcut to India, or at least he thought, hence his calling the first people he met Indians.

 More correctly, Jayapal is an East Indian-American or South Asian-American, given that in the USA, the term Indian is more normally referred to Native American or First Nation tribal members.  If you dispute that, then who were the Chicago Cubs playing in the recent MLB World Series?  I rest my case.

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