Thursday, September 6, 2018

The City of Seattle Taxi Complaint Process

Just imagine the uproar if the City of Seattle decided to post official "call to complain" numbers in every type of business operating in Seattle.  In banks, restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, doctor offices, car dealerships, gas stations, auto repair shops, once you entered the premises you would encounter in large boldfaced letters the City of Seattle telephone number where you the customer are encouraged to file, not comments but complaints. And just so you won't forget, your bank balance slip or your Safeway receipt will have that same complaint number printed upon it.  I am sure that would make a strong impression, perhaps implying that something must be wrong, that these folks may not be the most trustworthy. 

Of course there appears to be no such plan in the offing because the Seattle of City would be slammed by high powered lawsuits financed by Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks,  General Motors etc, making it clear that this is the wrong approach to take concerning consumer protection.  But that same very same approach is reality in Seattle's taxis, immediately implying that you "better watch out!" because that awful cabbie is about to to take you around in circles.  And yes, the complaint number is printed on our meter receipts just in case you think the driver has just ripped you off and now you have the evidence in you hand.  In other words, the suspicion is inherent, something the cabbies can't escape, the complaint process a public invitation to bash taxi drivers upon their collective heads. 

I say this due to a recent official complaint I received filed by someone who, by all accounts, has some misplaced vendetta against Seattle Yellow Cab, and due to that, has been placed upon the "no service list" multiple times.  That he continues to order cabs using aliases perhaps says everything one needs to know about the individual.  And that, like others who have filed claims, seem to potentially have psychiatric issues which says much about many who utilize Seattle's and HopeLink's complaint process.  One HopeLink complaint came from a very obese woman claiming I had been making passes at her. Another HopeLink complaint centered around the fact that I had taken a detour around a closed street, meaning at that point I had no other option because 25th NE was closed both ways due to construction. 

In this current situation, the guy claims I argued about the route, treated him rudely and in general acted unprofessionally.  Why I would do this doesn't make any sense, other than the guy being upon the eccentric side, and at times unclear in his directions, he truly wasn't out of the behavioral norm other than perhaps being more paranoid than the more usual customer. 

That this was bad fiction and a false accusation is true but when you have a process that empowers the powerless, you are destined to have these kinds of manufactured complaints.  It appears that the City of Seattle doesn't understand this kind of dimension they have created but I do which is why Macy's or Target or The Ford Motor Corporation or Marriott Hotels would explode in response if any such effort was directed their way.

What the City of Seattle message to the local taxi industry is simple: you are not capable of dealing with your internal issues in-house, along with the strong invective that you can't be trusted.  Having been associated with taxi these long thirty-plus years, I know this to be true.   I learned all abut this attitude back in 1987 upon the first time I was stopped in my cab by the Seattle Police.  When the officer said "You just ran a red  light." I stupidly responded that I hadn't, which was true which resulted in being issued not one but two violations which I promptly dubbed "PS I Love You!"   Why did I deserve to be treated like that?  Because I was driving a cab and for no other reason whatsoever, meaning I was a bad person deserving of whatever punishment dealt my way. 

Yes, personal and industry accountability is very important, something I strongly believe in and support.  But frivolous and erroneous enforcement is something I most logically can't support.  The worse anything I have ever done in the cab is get irritated.  Is irritation against the law?  I don't think so and neither does anyone else.  Civility is something we all should strive for but given our current resident in the White House can we really expect that, along with personal accountability?  Yes, despite all resistance to the contrary, we should.


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