Friday, December 27, 2019

Are We Happy Now?---A Year-End Seattle Taxi Report & Former Uber CEO Resigns From Uber Board & Be Sure You Use Your Turn Signals In Washington State

Ah yes, another year's conclusion of taxi fun and games, and am I now insane?  The answer is probably yes, but life goes on, and so do the endless taxi miles taking me where I don't, and you don't, want to go.  But go I do, and all my fellow crazed cabbies, so do you as the decade ends, leaving us where, where can we be?

I suppose we can call the 21st Centuries second decade the Uber Decade and be quite correct, we never in the taxi industry having before faced such rapacious, unscrupulous competitors, all made possible of course by foolish, dimwitted municipal administrators and regulators not understanding they were bargaining with the Devil Incarnate itself impersonating as Upper-Middle-Class Gentility. Yes, we can all laugh at their stupidity but the truth is, it happened in large part due to their hatred of us, we the so-called "evil taxi empire."

Why their hatred?  Call it discrimination personified, viewing us as less than them---taxi untouchables (dalits) not worthy of respect or consideration, all of us thieves, rapists, murderers.  Ain't it funny that Uber's 2018 American reports displays clearly just who the criminals are?

Yes, while the tables have been slightly turned in our favor, we remain at a great disadvantage, Uber's tsunami still engulfing the taxi industry, sweeping away our business in their tidal wake.  No fun at all.

Are we happy as the third decade approaches?  No, I don't think so but we are still breathing, aren't we?

Or is the grave beckoning?

The Jump is Nearly Complete

As I mentioned last week, the former Uber CEO, having nearly completed the selling off of all his Uber stock, has now resigned from the Uber governing board, meaning he will no longer be connected in any form whatsoever with Uber.  Funny?  Of course it is, as he laughs all the way to the bank with his three-billion in ill-gotten gains. What else can I say?  Nothing is the answer.

When Driving in Washington State, Use your Turn Signals, or Else!

This week the Washington State Supreme Court has ruled that under all conditions, drivers must use their turn signals or they will be held accountable by the long arm of the law. What this means, that even though you are in a turn-only lane, you must signal or you can be ticketed.

Ain't that nice, legal sugar and spice

or is it lice

provided by the judicial mice?

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Visiting The Local Magistrate: Seattle Mandates You Pay $80.00 Regardless of Anything

Fines, tickets etc are one unfortunate part of taxi life.  It is going to happen despite your best efforts to avoid the bureaucratic thumb attempting to snuff you out.  Thursday afternoon saw me visiting a local court magistrate in a vain attempt to mitigate a Red Light Camera ticket received at the south-bound intersection of 6th Avenue crossing James Street.  I knew I would have to pay for my transgression but how much was the issue. And this after I thought I knew the location of every intersection camera in the city.  How did I miss the signage?  I can't really tell you other than I have no excuse whatsoever.  Driving taxi is a war, and to not pay attention every second is potentially fatal. That, ladies and gentlemen, is my everyday reality.

The judge herself was great, friendly, and having seen my situation thousands of times, voiced even before I could say it, the fact that I was probably rushing a passenger to an appointment, something completely accurate.  She apologized when announcing that the City of Seattle would only allow her to reduce the fine to $80.00, mandated not by her but by the powers dictating her authority. Given the madness I encounter daily upon the streets I don't blame anyone for trying to control what is truly insane driving behavior exhibited by the masses.  And with the City of Seattle planning even more red light and school cameras, I am sure the good judge will be busy past commonsense.  

The only personal positive I can take from the experience is the great public art to be found in Seattle's municipal buildings, some great Eastern Washington photographs and one very interesting large oil painting making the moment slightly less painful.

A Rat Jumping Ship?

Has Uber hit its last fatal financial iceberg?  From recent actions demonstrated by former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, the Uber sailing forecast appears to be doomed, Kalanick having already sold off 90% of his company stock, $2.5 billion dollars worth, and will soon be divesting the remaining 10% of his Uber holdings.  Since June of this year, Uber stock has lost 43% of its original value.  The question is, when will Uber's corporate investors join Kalanick in getting out before going down with the sinking ship?  The new year, 2020, should tell us much concerning Uber's future.  Maybe, just maybe, 2020 will be Uber's setting sun, an unsavory company receiving its just desserts.

And all those former loyal Uber customers might find themselves riding in a taxi. I would like that, and I am sure, you would too.

A Reader Asks a Question

When was Uber formed?  The answer is 2009, with the original idea for the company forming in 2007 & 2008.

Dealing with Drunks: Just tell them goodbye

Late last night, two inebriated fellows, wanted to go a local MacDonald's.  That they didn't know where one was didn't stop them from angrily bossing me around.  I immediately told them then to get out or I was calling the police, having done nothing wrong expect perhaps letting them into the cab, not interested in their unnecessary abuse. That is how you deal with unruly drunks.  There is no other way.

These guys were high-caste Indians from India.  Have you been following what has been happening recently in India?  In my case, India's bad behavior was transferred to my cab, and I am neither Muslim or from Kashmir.  No, I do want Indian citizenship.

Again, treated once again as a taxi dalit. Boring!

Friday, December 13, 2019

After Uber Is Again Banned In London, Uber CEO Khosrowshahi Says London's Decision Is "Just Wrong!"

In late November, the City of London once again stripped Uber of its license to operate, having taken a similar action back in 2007.  While Uber continues to operate in London while appealing the decision, how can Uber truly protest after it was found that many customers, while trustfully using their app, were provided at least 14,000 unauthorized rides by unregistered drivers, drivers minus unverified driver licenses and not carrying any kind of insurance coverage.  What this translates into is, that in the case of at least a minimum of 14,000 rides, Uber did not know who was driving their customers, and worse, provided those rides with no protective insurance whatsoever.  Most often, it appears, this all occurring with the complicity and cooperation of fully registered Uber drivers  actively assisting in defrauding the Uber app, allowing friends and family and complete strangers to drive their cars or use their identities, most often for personal profit.  I see a number of important questions springing from this kind of behavior.

1) Given this is criminal behavior, what kind of screening process, if any, did Uber utilize when signing up these people to drive for them?

2)  Did the City of London, like the City of Seattle, relinquish all screening and regulatory control to Uber, thus allowing Uber to sidestep normal regulatory process and procedures?

3)  Will the City of London hold Uber drivers transferring their app to someone else legally responsible?

4) If the City of London does re-certify Uber, do they intend to retain oversight just as they now oversee all London Black-car taxicab licensing and behavior?

5) Will the City of London require Uber to pay damages to the thousands of customers who unknowingly rode and paid for fraudulent service?

Why it might seem odd for someone in the USA to pose these questions for City of London/ Police Department authorities, I do this solely to encourage everyone to put Uber's behavior in the proper perspective---that it is outrageous for something on this scale to occur without far reaching consequences for Uber, and not only in the United Kingdom but everywhere it operates.  When will Uber's egregious behavior end, with how many more unauthorized rides, rapes and murders to their unworthy credit?

Why I know it's difficult to stop or modify government behavior, why does the same need apply to corporations like Uber, where accountability at best isn't worth the paper its written on, and company CEOs can act like they are the wronged party?  I believe it is time, past time, to make Uber an example and permanently shut them down in London and across the globe, sending the firm message that their kind of arrogance is not acceptable. Other, far more responsible companies will come in to fill the gap, and perhaps taxi will once again be recognized for the honorable industry it is, hearkening a new era for a falsely maligned cab industry.

Yes, one might call this an idle hope but justice does sometimes occur.  I suggest contacting who you may and telling them Uber must be held accountable.  It will only take a few minutes. And I am sure your God of whatever definition you have concerning metaphysical influence, will bless you for it, an unexpected bonus to your busy day, God too an interested party to madness sanctioned as sanity.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Quoting Troy West, Uber Chief Legal Officer: "What It Says Is That Uber Is A Reflection Of The Society It Serves."

This quote is taken from a New York Times article written by Kate Conger reporting Uber's announcement verifying 3,045 sexual assaults for the year 2018, 92 % of the attacks originating with Uber operators assaulting their customers.  9 customers were murdered and 58 killed in automobile accidents.  While the total trip volume is high, over a billion rides provided, those still are shocking statistics generated by Uber.  Lyft too announced over 40 rapes occurring over their ride-share system.

Can you imagine the uproar if the American taxi industry made similar announcements, admitting to rape, murder and an in-general mayhem occurring in their cabs?  But here we have Troy West, the guy responsible for overseeing customer safety for Uber "ho-humming" these terrible incidents by more or less saying "what do you expect, we live in a violent society."

While it remains true that violence exists in America, one DOES NOT expect to be raped taking an Uber, Lyft or cab home from a concert or local tavern.  Do you  expect to be raped when shopping for apples at Safeway or shoes at Macy's?  Of course you don't, instinctively expecting a safe and sane shopping environment provided by responsible businesses.

To believe Troy West, that being raped is inevitable due to the society we live in, is to embrace the belief that anarchy and bedlam is our everyday norm, something that simply isn't true, West instead attempting to justify Uber's totally inexcusable behavior.  What his statement says to me is an admission that Uber is not in control of its own operations, and worse, never will be, our "insane society" making this kind of behavior a distorted, inescapable guarantee, that having our customers murdered and raped just part of our everyday business reality.

Unreal is all I can say.  And how and why Uber will continue to be accepted as a functional company is something I don't understand.  Even one rape is completely unacceptable but over 3000 boggles all credulity.  How can this be possible? 

And how can this keep happening day after week after month after year?  Government and its regulators must intercede before they too or someone they love are victimized by an unqualified ride-share (TNC) operator.  Just recently, an Uber driver in Lebanon was convicted of raping and killing a 30 year old female British diplomat, someone who was scheduled to return home to the UK the next day.  I mention this only to illustrate the true human costs of the lackadaisical regulatory approach taken by governments across the globe toward Uber and Lyft and other TNC companies.  To quote Pete Seeger, "When will they ever learn?"

Good question, isn't it?

Monday, December 2, 2019

The Car Is Everything & I Don't Want To Be Rated

My Ford Crown Victoria, YC Cab 1092, certainly has a smooth and steady suspension, that very apparent after my coffee cup survived a mile-long ride atop the car, only realizing it was there once upon entering Highway 99 southbound.  Quickly pulling over, I gratefully retrieved the errant cup, pleased it had survived the perilous journey.  I mention this because a well- maintained cab is everything to the cabbie.  Without it, we are literally nowhere whatsoever, stranded upon the roadside or worst. 

Currently I am averaging approximately 5000 rough and tumble taxi miles per month.  When I bought the car, the odometer read over 103,000 miles driven.  Now 1092 has over 253,000 miles and counting.  Two weeks ago the differential and axle required professional attention.  Saturday I had the oil changed and a light bulb replaced.  What's next I can't tell you but whatever is required I do it because there is no alternative.  The car is everything, something I know and won't forget.  More than once, poor cab association maintenance got me involved in accidents, telling me that kind of attitude is inexcusable, money their unfortunate bottom line. And yes, I have been paying attention, which is all I want or need to say, be it tomorrow or today.

I Don't Care How Many Stars You Think I Am

The headline story in last Friday's Wall Street Journal complained about the spread of false ratings over the Internet.  Yes, anyone can say anything, true or not, to influence a potential buyer in one direction or the other.  And even if the rating or comment is real, done by an actual consumer, opinion is too often subjective, often based upon bias not founded upon objectivity.

Personally then, I neither want or need to be rated by passengers as Yellow is currently doing, arbitrarily judging our performance.   I never requested this disservice. The only rating me or any other cabbie is interested in is framed by tipping, by the tips we receive.  My friend Ted, playing a customer one of his new songs, received a hundred dollar bill for a short ride, the guy reporting that "he was stoked!"  That is the kind of rating we want, meaning money, by far the best enduring compliment.

And thank you very much, I am sure.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Greetings From Seattle's Chinatown----The Story Of Why Explaining My Too Many Years Driving Taxi

In 1991, after a mere four years driving taxi, and that mostly part-time, I thought I was completely done with taxi.  How and why I am still here is something that might interest some of you, because, and you can believe it, it was never my intention to slave away at the taxi salt mines all these years later.  But before I do that, I will elaborate a bit about my latest departure from New Mexico.

Given our flight to Oakland, California was leaving Friday morning at 6:10 AM, we wisely decided to leave San Lorenzo early Thursday morning, having reserved an AirB&B apartment in a small town along New Mexico State Route 47, giving us an early 20 mile drive to the Albuquerque  airport.  Another intention was to check out two national wildlife refuges located parallel to Interstate-25, and were we ever glad we did, coming upon thousands of migrating sandhill cranes and snow geese at Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.  The first thing we did, before coming upon the birds, was take a 1.7 mile loop walk through this wonderfully leafy, transitional prairie to desert patch of land, unaware of the feathery surprise soon awaiting us once returning to the car.

Continuing on the North Loop road, we soon came upon the first of three mixed groupings of birds, the aforementioned cranes and snow geese along with other bird species, some water fowl, others not, one contingent seemingly of grackles, their purplish black feathers glistening in the sunshine.  Remarkably, further down the road, we were privileged to witness white waves of snow geese swooping in for landings 75 feet away, something normally seen on nature documentaries instead of our front row car seats.  Wonderful is all I can say, and our lodging was fine, getting to the airport minus any serious confusion, filling up our rental car for $2.27 per gallon.

How I got to be a Taxi Semi-Lifer

It really starts when I was twenty, refusing the second of two college scholarships, thus setting myself up for future hardship and my ever tenuous cabbie career.  The first offer was an easy (and rational) refusal, the United States Navy offering me a four-year free ride on the way to commanding my own destroyer or something like that.  But given I was seeking, and granted my CO (1-0) draft exemption, it made perfect sense to say no to that.

My second offer, this time from the University of Washington, was far more legitimate, a fully paid four years plus living stipend, and this dumbbell, totally alienated idiot kid walked away from what would/should have been the beginnings of some kind of scholarly career.  Amazingly to me, especially now, not one person in my circle of college-educated older adults advised me otherwise, the young fool clearly not understanding a great opportunity wasted.  Why did that happen, this avoidance of necessary council by those who knew better?  I could tell you but I won't, it being an embarrassment never admitted by many who still walk our shared earth.

What area of study would I have focused upon, had I chosen to pursue a degree?  I am guessing history, due to a natural tendency in that direction of study.  When I was 18, and in Denver, Colorado April 1972 after two years of wandering the western US and Canada, living in communes and upon the side of the road, I decided getting my GED was a good idea, walking into Denver University minus a second of study and leaving with a "top ten percentage of all high school graduates" history knowledge.  That I knew nearly nothing is the scary part but leastwise I displayed some instinctive aptitude for the subject, knowing that England was actually the United Kingdom and Gambia's primary export was ground nuts (peanuts).

In January 1973, now 19,  I found myself in Seattle looking for my "alternative service" job, and along with my cat Sniffer, hoping for the best. What I didn't know was that President Nixon was about to end the draft in February, leaving me at loose ends in the Great Northwest.  Essentially feeling nuts, out-of-my-mind, I fell into a group therapy situation where transactional analysis (TA) was the primary therapeutic modality, providing some interpretation for our often inexplicable human behavior.  The long and short of it is that I was offered training to become some kind therapist, and being slightly dumb and impressionable, I accepted the offer.  Did I want to be some version of psychologist?  No, not at all. So why did I proceed for three years through the training?  Stupidity is my only answer.

This all brings me up to the subject at hand, how and why I have driven taxi off and on since the Autumn of 1987.  There is much I could say but soon after I refused the University of Washington, I got my first professional "pysch" job at age 20, totally minus a degree.  Two years later I got another one, again with the agency knowing fully I hadn't attended a minute of college.

What this translated to is that by the time I moved down to San Francisco in 1979 to join the woman I later married, I already had nearly four years of professional experience along with my three therapist training years.  Jobs were tight and it was obvious I had to do something drastic to make myself employable, meaning I composed a professional resume saying I had a degree.  Everything upon the resume was true other than that major fib. And for years forward, no one asked for proof like college transcripts and the like.  Clearly I was educated but no one knowing I was my primary teacher.  Also during this time period, I got a poetry editor gig on a debuting magazine.  That I could barely write didn't seem to matter but I worked hard, wrote every day and faked it well to the point that within a few years I was actually nearing competency.  In 1986 they published my long poem "Six Houses," a poetic analysis of my family, including myself.  Given my total experience at the time, it was and remains a decent effort.

Once back in Seattle I continued my degree charade until it no longer worked, given jobs were asking for college records because insuring staff became a tantamount work requirement, legally protecting agencies from staff misdeeds.  When I did begin driving cab, I was in my second year of a five-year long case management gig working with developmentally disabled, mentally ill sexual offenders.  Not easy but I had the skills and it paid well but it turned out to be, more or less, my last psychiatric job.

In mid-1990, I quit that job to drive taxi full-time (4 days a week, 12 hour shifts) at Farwest.  I made bunches of money, saved a lot, quit that and headed for Europe to live and write and concentrate solely upon money-making projects.  I was permanently done with taxi but one major problem occurred.  On the way there, I got sick overnight, something quite mystifying, requiring many years of staying ill before I got a hint to what was going on.  Unfortunately, after only a handful of months, I returned to the USA and Seattle sick, sick, sick.  And soon, with my savings gone, I had to work though I was very ill.

I first returned to cabbing, knowing full well that I probably wouldn't be getting another psychiatric job despite now having a professional resume that included two big-time local neurologists and a therapist specializing in DD-related issues. None knew I didn't have a degree.  And twice I was hired as a Mental Health Professional,  meaning someone going out and making involuntary commitment assessments.  In both instances, I quit after a week when it became apparent there was no getting around the fact that I couldn't provide either agency with the necessary documents.

While there is much more to this story, you now know why I have labored all these years beneath the top-light. The money has been good, and before the Uber Era, I worked two long days on and five completely off.  It worked well enough to be comfortable and get some writing done.  Travel also became a priority.

Yes, that the quick story minus the glory but don't cry, don't cry for me, I was young and dumb and half crazy, and could or should have known better; such is fate, such is life, and my biggest mistake was choosing the wrong woman to be my wife.

A commonplace story indeed. Oh my heart does bleed! while preventing myself the best I can from going to seed.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Greetings Once More From San Lorenzo, NM: A Tribute To Gill & Jim's Taxi Repair Shop & More Food For Thought For Regulating Seattle's Taxi Associations---Where Did That 5 Million Dollars Go?

Yes, back in New Mexico once again, this time with the one and only "she-who-can't-be-named," yes, that very same individual who urged me strongly nearly a decade ago to begin writing this blog; this same someone now refusing to read my words due to her deep-seated hatred of taxi, understanding too well the dire toll it takes upon me.  Ah yes, but what can one do except leave it behind as much as possible while doing everything I can in the next few months to exit taxi permanently?

Though right at this moment, here in tiny San Lorenzo, there is no outside noise whatsoever, cars passing an average of about one every two-three hours in a given 24 hour day.  Dogs bark but I like dogs, their vocalizing music to my ears.  When I was ten years old in 1964, I lived in a very far northern Woodland Cree community in Alberta, Canada, where the 2000 plus sled dogs out numbered the human inhabitants, barking and howling, serenading the frozen night.

Yes, provide me quiet sanity embracing the hours, forgetting about dumbbell politics and who is winning the  next football game, mattering instead---time to think and hike, like we did yesterday, to one of the largest juniper pine trees residing upon our planet, truly a wonderful sight to behold.  What is truly important?  Peace of mind, body and soul, everything else manufactured brunt offerings to the modern gods demanding all our precious time and money. Is it worth it?  My answer, simply, how could it be?
_____________     ______________    _________________  ________________

But getting back to taxi, it is my pleasure to tell everyone about a car repair shop that is less about money and more about making sure your cab is operational and back upon the road, knowing a minute lost is meaningful to the forever fare hungry cabbie.  Gill's shop, located on the corner of South 120th Street/Gendale South and Des Moines Memorial Way South, is a tangle of dead cabs and numerous cars in various stages of repair.   One feels lucky, at least I do, when you find a parking place squeezed between that vehicle menagerie and the bays of the garage, again habitually occupied by a car undergoing day surgery.  Usually, it's Jim I first encounter, Gill being the owner, showing up later, with Joe, a somewhat wild man servitor, bouncing from project to project from opening to closing.  Normally Jim, a mechanic since age 16, makes the first diagnosis, with Gill usually the concurring physician. Combined together, Jim and Gill form a benevolent practice dealing with crazed, frantic, demanding patients wanting their mechanical maladies instantaneously healed, and sometimes they are obliged, and sometimes not.

Last Saturday, mere hours before I was setting off in my personal car, "Taco," a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, for Arcata, California, I first had to have 1092 ("Gabriel") attended to, as a noise was generating from somewhere in the rear axle.  Jim got right to it, fixing one issue but deciding a visit to the machine shop necessary come Monday or Tuesday.  Asking Gill how much I needed to  pay, he patted me on the back, saying "Pay me when you get back. Have a great trip."  What else can I say but "Thanks, guys, you are terrific! and you are the greatest mechanics on our entire planet earth! Man! do I appreciate such amazing (and unusual) empathy."

The City of Seattle and King County Sitting Upon their Regulatory Hands

Understand, it just isn't Seattle Yellow I fault, because every association I have been associated with---Farwest, Broadway, Greytop---had their obvious flaws and faults and serious blemishes, and if asked, could outline in full detail.  And Northend Cab, the now defunct "far north" company, was infamous for its mismanagement and corruption and in-general dishonest operating practices.

I say this only to point out that Seattle and KC taxi regulators have done nothing whatsoever the past 30 plus years to rein in egregious association behavior, allowing them to operate clearly mechanically dangerous cabs along with violating driver's legal and civil rights. What do the these local regulators do best?  Collect fees for City and County coffers. I challenge anyone to dispute that assessment without telling obvious fibs, history telling us the full, unadulterated story.

And its history going back four, five years is what I am alluding to, when the Port of Seattle discovered that Yellow Cab (BYG Co-op) allegedly under reported $5,000,000 in required fee collections.  I have written about this before but in shortened detail, what the Port of Seattle (Sea-Tac International Airport) believed occurred was Yellow inaccurately reporting long, fee required fares as short, non-fee required fares, thus saving millions of dollars potentially for themselves.

Due to poor Sea-Tac record keeping, the Port decided it wasn't totally possible to determine the real and actual damage, thus allowing Yellow to escape true legal scrutiny by paying an agreed to settlement of approximately $900.000.  I mention this because, for as far as I know, Seattle and King County regulators did little to nothing toward further investigating Yellow's alleged financial malfeasance.

If anyone asks why it should have been necessary, all one needs to know is that the Port of Seattle requires all cabs working the airport to have both City & County medallions, meaning of course Seattle and KC holding the regulatory authority overseeing all association behavior.  One might think that an alleged theft of over five million dollars in service fees would interest them, but since they have seemed disinterested both then and now, it says everything about what they were, and are doing or not, in terms of functional oversight.  Need I say more?  I don't think so.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Seattle & King County's Failure Part 2

While somewhat entertaining, last week's posting omitted some important details as to just why the forced entry into a taxi association is lethal to the independent cab operator, taking away some inherent rights usually connected to independently run businesses, Seattle and King County's decision entering us into a nebulous regulatory state akin to a bureaucratic purgatory, positioning us somewhere between heaven and hell without obvious release.  Before, all us single taxi owners were like all other nonaligned businesses you might see, be it bakery, laundromat, used car dealership, etc, subject of course to local rules and regulations but still, allowed to make their own business decisions as they saw fit, sinking or swimming mostly up to themselves alone and no one else.  While being a regulated industry, there are and were some differences but still, in most cases, the independent single cab owner was free to conduct their business in a manner they were most comfortable with.

But upon City & County intervention, all that changed, transforming the once independent business into a kind of unrequested franchise arrangement, this sudden change altering forever the freedom he/she once had, tying their hands into a kind of Gordian Knot---nothing resolving the dilemma of dictatorial association oversight controlling your every legal movement.  How and why the City & County thinks this is a reasonable and sustainable position is beyond comprehensive understanding, statutorily leaving us completely helpless and defenseless, minus any governmental or regulatory ally.

Again, as stated lest week, this was done to protect the public but does our passenger public truly require this level of governmental shielding from the local taxi industry?  Where is the evidence that it is required?  While Uber nationally deals with approximately 1200 serious complaints a week,  I believe it would take us cabbies in Seattle and King County an entire decade or more to accrue 1200 total reviewable complaints.  A few weeks ago, a former Seattle-area Uber driver was convicted of rape.  In all my years associated with taxi since 1987, I don't remember one rape committed by a local cabbie.  Some very stupid behavior, yes, but aggravated physical sexual assault, no.

My question then, voiced once again, is how did we deserve to be shackled to association serfdom minus option or legal regress?  And when I do contact the City & County, pointing out clear association violations, they plead helplessness, saying they have nothing to do with it.  But as I am pointing out, they (Seattle & King County) have "everything" to do with this, their dismantling of the independent single owner model intentional, enslaving us to the taxi associations minus legal entreaty.  How does this make any sense?

Since this arrangement isn't working, how can he City & County make it better?  A first suggestion is to decide just what kind of business is a taxi association and what kind of legal rights do both single owners and lease drivers have when associating themselves with this kind of entity?   Are we independent contractors or are we employees?

Currently, it appears, PSD (Puget Sound Dispatch) treats us as employees, completely subject to rules created and enforced solely by them.  Multiple times I have requested to see the legal documentation allowing them to do this.  Months and years have passed, and I have yet to see anything from PSD management.  How can they just ignore my request while gladly accepting my weekly $180.00 dispatch fee?  Clearly I am an independent contractor in good standing, so why has my request been denied?

Or perhaps they don't truly know what their legal standing is, or worse, are not interested in knowing.  Easier, much easier, minus no regulatory oversight from the City, County and the State of Washington, to just keep doing what they have been doing for years: trampling upon the legal and civil rights of the cab drivers while collecting an estimated monthly income of $288,000, annually adding up to $3,456,000.  This is a rough estimate based upon 400 single owners paying their weekly $180.00 dispatch fee. Another something that should be known is just how much of this 3 1/2 million dollars is pure profit flowing directly into PSD board member pockets?

Isn't anyone curious?

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

City Of Seattle And King County's Failure To Protect Their Taxi Driver Business Community

When I started driving cab in the taxi prehistoric days of the late 1980's, membership in a taxi association was optional, translating into many single owner companies, or very small corporations  like the ten-car Stanley Cab based in, of all neighborhoods, Madison Park; or Classic Cab, whose three 1982 Checker Marathon cabs personally introduced me to this very strange and puzzling world called Seattle's Taxi-Land.  While Yellow, Greytop and Farwest Taxi did exist, the ratio between association and independently-owned taxi was more-or-less, 50-50, with Sea-Tac International Airport mostly single owner dominated, an extremely colorful array of cabs gracing the arrival level.  That it was a free-wheeling world, I suppose, goes without saying, especially due to all those crazy, very emotional Greeks operating cabs 24 hours a taxi day.  Yes, a bit of the wild, wild west but fun, our camaraderie bonding us together into a reasonably functional organism, protecting and assisting each other as much as we could, given the innate feral quality of "down & dirty" taxi we all knew so well.

Unfortunately, that all changed when, in the early 1990's, the City of Seattle and King County forcing everyone to either join an already established association or form a new one amongst friends, forever ending the world of the jolly independent. Their object in this was solely punitive, stating clearly their goal first and last was to protect the public from all those nasty cabbies, making these incorrigible scoundrels more readily accountable to legal authority.  What necessitated this draconian response was based more upon mythology than factual reality, the ever conservative Seattle and King County regulators misreading the free-spirited cabbies.  But by locking us into penal cab associations, they sentenced every last one of us into a bureaucratic life sentence minus parole, our only option---  escape---breaking through our prison walls to a freedom devoid of association shackles, meaning never once again driving a cab.

I express it this way because it is true, having experienced Yellow for 25 plus years, daily affected by opaque decision making by management and the Puget Sound Dispatch governing board of directors. Similar to the lyrics from Bob Dyan's great song, "The Gates of Eden": "No sound ever comes from the gates of Eden," the PSD "gods" operating Yellow aren't telling us anything about what they are really doing, despite it being our "money, time, and sweat and blood" financing their entire operation.  Recently, PSD de-authorized a WAT van single owner single minus any legal hearing, PSD suddenly their own instantaneous "kangaroo court, issuing sudden judgments like a Zeus thunderbolt emanating from Mount Olympus, striking the cabbie down.

And the fault from this potentially illegal action rests solely with Seattle and King County's taxi regulators, having neutered our legal and civil rights by encasing us in a nebulous legal cocoon suffocating our collective voices, their ultimate overreaction amputating any ability to protect ourselves from an overzealous association.

Yes, this is our daily reality minus all hyperbole. But what to do, what can I or anyone else do about it?  All I can say is I am thinking about it.  Yes, Popeye the sailor man, I am, currently searching for the correct variety of leafy spinach, powering me to any and all finishing lines.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

City Of Seattle Meter Testing & Why Did Anyone Think The Philippines Was A Good Idea & HopeLink Finger Printing

With the introduction of our (PSD's, Yellow's) new MTI dispatch system and its new "soft meter," the City of Seattle wanted to confirm its accuracy when compared to the old more mechanical version.  And to my surprise last Wednesday, during 1092's testing, it appears this new approach to mileage computation is more concise than what we all have been using for decades.  That was "taxi music" to my ears, pleased because being on the "straight and narrow," charging no more than is legally allowed should always be taxi's only acceptable creed.  As the weeks proceed forward, I can only see the new system getting better and more efficient. Unfortunately, the same optimism can't be applied to the Manila/Philippines call-center Puget Sound Dispatch, decided, in a complete lack of wisdom, to sign all us up for minus a second of input and consolation. Not nice, no, not at all.

No, I don't believe much thought was put into the consequences concerning the Philippines

One might say, and many do, that no thought was given to how we, the combined Yellow Cab single owner community, would react to what essentially was a knife to our collective back, providing us with "a local dispatch" call center based nearly 7000 miles directly east across the Pacific Ocean.  Despite our many grumblings, PSD appears to think there are none, or will be, any consequences to their decision.  Perhaps yes, perhaps no, is all I can say.

This morning, after telling our new dispatch manager, Tina, that the Manila call takers were problematic, she replied "they are doing a great job."  Unfortunately, that is not our working reality, and brushing aside any and all comment is not constructive.

Sunday I was belled into the Greyhound Bus Station, my passenger name given as "Customer."  After loading up someone going to the airport, the actual person I was belled for, named "G______," ran up to the cab telling me she had called.  Sorry, I said, I was never given your name but I would call dispatch and get her a cab.  What dispatch told me was that they couldn't do it, that the passenger had to call herself, but hadn't she already called, and I was trying to repair their mistake?  Hanging up, I called again, telling yet another call taker that they needed to bell in another cab.  What they actually did I have no idea.  Did "G______" ever get her cab?  Good question, isn't it?

Here is the problem.  To expect people who have never driven taxi, who have never been in Seattle, and are 6,700 miles away, to know the cab business, is nonsensical.  As a long-in-the-taxi-tooth Yellow superintendent said to me today, ex-cab drivers make the best call takers, because simply they have "lived and died taxi  and that is the way it was, and is.  Feedback from many of our longtime regular passengers backs this up: these new folks don't know what they are doing.  Then the obvious question is, why is PSD pretending Manila is working out just fine for all concerned?  Why indeed!?

Fingerprinting Every 3 Years?

The agency, HopeLink, is now requiring we all get fingerprinted even though all of our fingerprints are on permanent file at the City of Seattle/ King County.  Why is a good question, along with the mandate that the fingerprinting must be renewed every three years.  Just as Seattle/KC once required yearly fingerprinting, this three-year cycle appears to be redundant and unnecessary.  To me, this speaks to how the taxi associations do little to nothing to protect their drivers from trivial bureaucratic demands taking up our time and money.   But as with the issue with the faraway dispatch, if you truly cared about the cabbies, you would respond differently, more positively, more concerned about our overall well-being.

And that is just the way it is, despite all denials to the contrary.  Do we really want to emulate Donald Trump?  I don't think that we do.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Back In The Seattle Taxi Saddle: What Am I Doing Here?

The obvious answer to my question is to make money, but more, after four days back in the cab---losing my temper, my humor, my civility---I ask myself, what am I truly doing driving this cab?  Sunday I was pushed by some non-thinking bozo who just couldn't understand that blocking our Amtrak cab stand was a bad idea.  Later Sunday, I was involuntarily involved in some deranged quiz contest---all the two drunks knew was that their Air B&B apartment was located somewhere in West Seattle---putting all the fragments of their addled thoughts together, and finally $37.00 dollars later, getting them to their address on Pigeon Hill but no tip after this near miracle, after completely saving their buttock from their own inebriated ignorance.

Yes taxi and only taxi, nothing new and nothing amusing, only cars and more cars clogging the now moist roadways.  Yes, it is called "making a living" but as far as I can tell, only nearing me closer to "the death I shall never part."

As to taxi issues, nothing is yet resolved concerning insurance requirements or what the City of Seattle will do to ensure we have a level playing field of competition with Uber and Lyft, appearing Seattle is more concerned about how much TNC (ride-share) operators are making as opposed to taxi driver well-being.  In the 1960s, the American writer Anne Sexton published a very remarkable poetry volume, "To Bedlam and Half-way Back."  As for all of us taxi asylum dwellers, we remain in the padded cell of bureaucratic imbecility.  Where, I ask, where is the key releasing us from all this unrelenting pain?

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Greetings From San Lorenzo, New Mexico---The Insanity That Is Taxi Reality

Where I am writing from, the very tiny burg of San Lorenzo, New Mexico, population 20-93, depending upon whom you ask, is located in the Rio Mimbres Valley more or less sandwiched between two officially federally designated wilderness areas, the Gila Wilderness to the west, and to the east, the Aldo Leopold Wilderness, of course named after that American naturalist famous for the book, "Sand County Almanac." Hot springs abound in the greater area, and having visited Gila Hot Springs for the first time, I can only quote Robert Frost and say "You Come Too!"  The drive from San Lorenzo can only be described, once you have reached the Continental Divide, in a single word, as spectacular!

That I needed recovery time from my 1,914 mile haul down from my Tacoma storage room is an understatement.  In my last stretch of driving, I drove from Boron, California to Silver City, New Mexico, the largest town in these parts, in 18 1/2 hours, my "taxi-driving mode" switching into overdrive.

 Driving an U-haul 26 foot truck/van, it was the largest vehicle I've driven since my brief 1983-84 Metro days driving 40 foot-plus long buses. Laden with 6-7 thousand books, it was slow going, keeping it mostly at 55-60 MPH. San Lorenzo is approximately 22 miles east of Silver City.

I also learnt a big lesson about paying people in advance, as my nephew and a friend abandoned me, leaving my exhausted self to finish the loading.  Thankfully, here in southwest New Mexico, folks know the value of a dollar and what commitment means, my helpers Darien and Kevin doing a great job, and yes, even acknowledging I was essentially worn out. Thank you!

Being in the silence of the high desert reminds me too well of what I will be returning to Saturday morning: the sheer madness of a traffic-clogged urban center engaged in a whole lot of unnecessary nothingness somehow translating into the modern mechanized civilization boondoggle all of us unfortunately share. Who wants to be there?  Not me!

And what does it mean to the Seattle cabbie?   Why nothing but a mad scramble dodging crazed drivers while dealing with a mindless bureaucracy demanding more and more from the fatigued soul that is the average cabbie plying the unforgiving city streets and byways. More, the modern mantra screams, we want more money, more of your precious time, and blood, we want your blood!

Think I am exaggerating?  Then you too jump in a cab like I will be doing this upcoming Saturday and you will personally see what I am talking about.  Once again I will be devoured alive and spit out, our modern cultural monster grinning, happy for the umpteenth time to oblige, to render such necessary service!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Greetings from Willows, California---The Poisoned Taxi Candy Box: Requiring A One Million Insurance Rider

The American cabbie is certainly embattled, attacked on all sides, be it Uber or mindless bureaucracy bogging us down with ceaseless requests for both more money and endless documentation.  If anyone in the Seattle taxi industry can believe it, the Seattle School District is now requesting an additional one million dollars in insurance coverage to continue what we have been doing for years: transporting District children from home to school and back again.  Given no warning, we jointly as an industry feel both blindsided and betrayed, given our years of safe and impeccable service to not only the Seattle School District, but all the local school districts in the greater Seattle area. How much this will cost, at this point, no one knows.

But, as the deadline nears in a month or two, we in the industry will witness more of the anguish I saw Saturday, when many worried drivers came up to me and asked what are we going to do?  In short, I don't have a quick answer, in part due to I am moving all my belongings, mostly books and records, to a 120 year old adobe house in San Lorenzo, New Mexico.  In other words, I am on the road driving this big, 26 foot long U-haul truck/van, the biggest anything I have driven since my Metro bus driving days back in 1983-84.  Suffice to say, I am busy, and will not be back into the cab until the afternoon of October 19th.  Maybe then, I will have a spare moment to understand the how and why of all this.  When I know, I will tell everyone else.

A Question of Racial Profiling

A comment received implied I was back on the Southern plantation, pre-Civil War, and once again, just like in the 1850s, not understanding the racial implications of my words written last week.  But I challenge anyone who doesn't think that all behavior has its origins in reactive (and responsive) psychological imprinting both good and bad, to think again.  All the demographics listed in the quiz all have readily identifiable features.

And with that, I must quit and get some sleep.  Again and always, your comments are most welcome and appreciated.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Demographic Quiz: Guess Who Did It & Why & Seattle Uber Driver Convicted Of 2017 And 2018 Rapes

Doesn't everyone love a quiz, question or questions challenging the mind?  Well, whether you do or not, you are about to encounter one, tasking you to choose a specific demographic group.  And I assure you, as I have often observed, these folks are reliably consistent, requesting special and favored treatment in the most mundane of situations and scenarios.  To be sure, I could describe other equally troublesome demographic groups but what caught my attention this time was something totally new to me, two passengers assuming novel and outrageous privilege, uncivil behavior breaching usual societal conventions.  Beyond that, I am sure they are wonderful people.

A Taxi Demographic Quiz: Who Could These Culprits Be?

"Belled" to the Ballard Safeway, I was instantaneously there, being just around the corner.  First checking out the south door, there they were, running up to the taxi from the north door.  "Can you wait while we buy flowers?" was the request, obviously forgetting to buy them their "first time around" in the store.

Reluctantly, I said yes, having arrived quickly, thinking "why not!" but soon discovered I was mistaken, when, once the groceries were in the cab, minus any up-front payment or request to turn on the meter, they both walked off toward the store's entrance.  "Stop!" I shouted, "You can't leave your groceries unattended."  And after getting the attention of the male half of the couple, he initially acknowledged my request, then suddenly exited the cab, once again walking away.

With that, I leaped out saying "You can't do this!" and quickly set their groceries out onto the parking lot. "Next time," I said, "call when you're really ready!" and drove away, instantly getting someone else, a nice passenger heading home from Ballard Swedish, a quick twenty-dollar bill getting us to her Magnolia door.

Okay, who were these people?  Your choices:

A)   Saudi Arabian couple, the wife minus the veil

B)   A nice Upper-Middle Class Caucasian couple, snobbish to the core

C)  African-American kids---late teens to late 20s, feeling everyone owes them a living

D) Those now well known techies---self-absorbed Millenniums

If you are a cabbie, or have ever driven cab sometime, this should be easy.  I will say I have observed same demographic types at the Tai Tung Chinese Restaurant counter, bedeviling owner Harry by attempting to alter everything presented on the menu.  Harry, firmly yet friendly as he can possibly manage, tells them no, we don't do that.

While all the other three groups have their known irritants, the answer is C, these kids, in their early twenties, were not thinking for a moment that you don't do what they did, walking away from the cab, leaving me "high & dry," completely at their "beck & call," me the cabbie suddenly demoted to lowly servant.

But I do think there exists a plausible history explaining their behavior, that being the internalized oppression of over four hundred years of slavery and blatant racial discrimination and disparity.  If anyone doesn't think this sorry legacy affects the brain, you are totally naive.  But still, it doesn't mean you should take it out on me, or Harry, or anyone else, as I personally having no interest subjugating anyone for any reason whatsoever.

To me, true equality is being treated like everyone else, no up or down, or being treated the clown.  I too bristle when someone stares at me, thinking I am different or less than them.  With that being true, it still doesn't mean I should extract some kind of revenge, somehow militating foolish insult.  Much better, like the old comic strip from the 50s & 60s, to "grin & bear it" and move on with life, hoping and expecting the best regardless of all stupidity lurking 'round that next corner.

Seattle Uber Driver Rapist Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison

Two years ago, Uber driver Israel Ramos Islas raped a very drunk female passenger.  And last December, posing as an Uber driver, picked up another very intoxicated young woman and raped her.  He is suspect in two other incidents.  Need I tell anyone that this monster was licensed by the City of Seattle and King County without a thorough background check? And after raping the first woman, how and why did Uber continue to allow him to operate as their independent contractor.  Is anyone paying attention?  You don't require a quiz to know the answer posed by this question.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Another "What It Means To Be A Taxi Driver:" This Only Happens Beneath The Top-Light

What would you do if a half-naked, very frantic man approaches your cab seeking help, someone everyone is avoiding "like the plague?"  Maybe like me, you make a quick assessment, judging that, instead of the guy just being "ordinarily crazy," something serious and dramatic occurred, assistance and intervention logical and necessary.  Pleading "Help me! Help me!" even got this jaded cabbie's attention.  Saying he needed to get home to Everett and having the fare, I said "get in" and off we started north.

This is his story:  Having left the Mariners' baseball game, heading toward his car, suddenly two hours later his life a total mystery, awakening prone on the ground in a tunnel behind the train station minus half his clothing, keys and telephone gone but somehow retaining his wallet and cash, clueless as to what had happened.  Once again standing, he rushed panicked out of the tunnel, seeking help from an unresponsive public.  Coming upon me, I guess he got lucky, me of course having seen almost everything possible already in the insane asylum cab, so the young Vietnamese man originally from New Orleans was not a complete surprise, someone instead to properly assess and make accurate judgment upon.

Having proceeded only four blocks northbound on 4th Avenue, we called his "worried-out-of-her-mind" girlfriend, agreeing to meet her back at the train station as she made her way down from Lynnwood, the aggrieved gentleman in question just happy to be warm and dry in the cab, but first, grabbing my flashlight, we reentered the tunnel looking for his belongings.  All this took about 45 minutes, the girlfriend pulling up behind me, my passenger hugging me goodbye, saying "keep the $60.00" he had given me for the ride up north, and reaching my window, the appreciative girlfriend handing me an additional five dollars.  How this all occurred will remain unresolved but hey, it has been at least recorded here, unimportant yet important history in this United States of Uncertain and Sometimes Mysterious America.

Yes, the dumbbells always ask me

Yes, they do, asking "why aren't I driving Uber?"

and finally I have come up with the correct answer, because usually I don't respond at all to such inanity.

I now say, "Imagine asking a soldier in the American Army why he/she isn't a mercenary instead?"  One problem I have is that many have no idea what I am referencing, cultural illiteracy my worst enemy.

Do I give up?  Yes, I do.

How long will it take before PSD (Seattle Yellow Cab)

realizes that the Manila-based dispatch callcenter is a very bad idea?  How many "lost calls" will it take?  "Taxi gods!" help us all, is all I can say.  "This is crazy, man, just crazy!" or something like that.  Shall we all laugh or cry or just simply die! Haha boohoohoo!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

More Upon Paul Roberts' Taxi Article But First, Why Taxi Is Sometimes Okay

Yes, first is right, trying to write this in 55 minutes.  Yeah that's right, taxi at this juncture, less than less but still, picking up my first student run of the new school year Tuesday morning, making cab okay when the Somali mother showed such grave concern for her disabled son, with me transporting the child to a special education school in Renton.  I called her back, telling her we had arrived safely.  Mostly, taxi is nothing times nothing but that morning meant something important and good and meaningful.

That took five minutes.  Now to that Seattle Times article.  The reason Roberts wrote it is because the City of Seattle is considering ways to somehow mitigate, assuage the harm done by them to the local taxi industry.  Roberts was somehow attempting to explain the trials and tribulations faced by us but didn't help much by referring that we have made it a habit of refusing to provide "short destination" rides, along with the insult saying how we "scam " drunks, libelous comments to be sure.

I asked him to retract his comments but I knew he (the Seattle Times) wouldn't do it.  Why would they want to right an egregious wrong while simultaneously placating us?  No reason whatsoever is the sorry answer.  Roberts did say that Uber is in trouble, which it is.  And now with the State of California saying Uber and Lyft drivers are employees, stay tuned with that new development.  Now if only my fellow cabbies can awaken to their new found opportunity, taking up the new ground once lost to Uber but of course I have grave doubts, especially after, once again, thousands of potential rides post-Husky were left wanting.

That took me eleven minutes, and yes, it is true, yesterday Seattle's taxi industry once again ignored the UW Husky football game, the match versus the University of Hawaii a blowout, the score 38 to 0 just before halftime, with only one cab to serve the hordes dashing out of the stadium, me.  In just over two hours I made $100.00 spread over five rides.  Only at game's end did I see another cab.  That was it.  Making it worse was how my request to publicize the game over our dispatch was ignored, instead repetitious messages telling us what we already know, and should know, etc.  Is anyone truly serious about anything in our shared Taxi-land?  Doesn't seem like it.  The Huskies trounced the Rainbows 52-20.

That took me nine minutes.  Isn't brevity wonderful! the total piece taking, including editing, 36 minutes to complete.  "She-who can't-be-named" will be pleased!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Raining Like Heck! Thousands Of Fan Leaving the Stadium And Where Were All The Yellow Cabs? No Where To Be Seen

This week's posting concerns local Seattle, how its operators function, along with media and public precepts of our industry, specifically Paul Roberts' front page featured article in the September 2nd, 2019 edition of the Seattle Times.  I do have some commentary upon an outsider's analysis of this complex subject, complex at least to longtime researchers like myself, this deranged occupation known as driving a cab. 

But first, related to the Roberts' article, concerning how much money cabbies are earning, I have to relate Saturday's experience at the University of Washington's Husky Football stadium, and why, when thousands fled into the rainy, thunderous night following an official weather-related game delay, why was I the only cab available to serve the sodden, rain drenched fans?

How is it possible, someone could ask, that Yellow's Cab entire fleet remained uninformed concerning 70,000 fans gathered for a late starting (7:30 PM) Saturday night college football game?  The answer from an interested observer, me, is simple.  The vast majority of the approximate 2000 plus Seattle-area cabbies plying local streets began their taxi occupation ill-prepared for the task, an unfortunate genesis begetting now poorly formed business skills and concepts resulting in Saturday night's cabbie debacle: thousands of potential passengers wailing for the cabs failing to appear.  Five times I dipped into that agitated mass of drenched humanity, my last three fares taking me in order to: DT Bellevue, Clyde Hill and Kirkland, the Bellevue fare resulting in a $29.00 tip. After the game resumed 2 1/2 hours later, I decided it was time for a well deserved dinner break, basically retiring for the evening.

Talking to cabbies later that night, and the next day, at the train station, to a person no one had been aware a local college football game was scheduled and played  I asked, "do you read the newspaper? do you listen to the radio?"  And the answer is clearly no, they don't, not taking the effort for a few minutes beneficial research.  One might ask, just what do these fellows do to understand what is occurring locally around the city and county, to source financially beneficial information upon a given day or week?  The unfortunate answer is, essentially, nothing whatsoever which of course results in no money earned whatsoever, the relation causal and fixed to not knowing what you certainly need to know.  Complaining that "I am not making any money!" is no help, only sorry lamentations tossed into the misbegotten night.

All this ties into the Seattle Time's featured article by business reporter Paul Roberts, "Seattle Taxis are hanging on as Uber & Lyft lose billions."  While mostly sympathetic, it contained the expected "guesswork" from someone looking from the outside in, attempting, in a page long article, to explain an over one hundred year old industry.  Roberts' first presents as exhibit # 1, Tegegne Mersha, owner of Orange Cab 825, a nine year taxi veteran   Mersha rightfully points out his Post-Uber financial demise, saying his once easy income declining to a now hard $100.00 a day.

How and why Mersha was chosen to be featured is a mystery, personally knowing many Seattle-area cabbies better able of explaining the Seattle taxi experience. As I already related about the crazy weather Husky stadium Saturday night---lightening strikes filling the electrified air---there is much to know about "taxi in total," making it clear Mersha, amongst many others, are still learning how to successfully drive a cab.

And I can say, me too, having previously said each day something new, different and awful occurs in the cab, hopefully translating to my fatigued brain additional and helpful insights.  I can only pray to the taxi gods for Mersha and his immigrant brethren, hoping that Uber will indeed fail, and once more opening the door to fewer hours and easy money, heaven on taxi earth indeed made manifest over munificent streets.

I end with having said almost nothing close to what I intended to concerning the Roberts' article but I have a ready excuse:  I only have one body.  If granted another, I will be more productive.  Ain't that a scary thought, two Joe Blondo's running amok. Yikes!  And the concept of 2 bodies is borrowed from Yogi Ananda's "Autobiography of a Yogi."  If his Master could do it, don't know what is stopping me from splitting in two.

Required Reading

New book, just out, "Super Pumped----The Battle for Uber" by Mike Issac

Norton, 408 pages $27.95

I bought a copy.  You should too!

Postscript 09/10/2019

For those interested in knowing more about Paul Roberts article, tune in next week for a more complete examination of his attempt at explaining taxi to the curious, inquiring public.  Tired yesterday, I remain the same, tired, just like my exhausted prose.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Two Older African-American Women From Memphis Ask About Uber

Passengers are always asking about Uber, and this time, these two inquiring tourists from Tennessee received a very unexpected response.  Though before I tell you my reply, I think everyone should know that the positive embrace Uber received from local governments was not accidental, something often cited as nothing less than a prescient embrace of a new technological age sweeping the nation but I know it as something much more, something insidious and malignant.  While few will admit, or comprehend, it is related to the year 1619 and beginnings of slavery in North America and the kinds of institutionalized discrimination and hatred we still grapple with today in 2019 in these United States.

What Uber's founders, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp had in common, was being both Caucasian and socioeconomically Upper-Middle Class, traits easily recognizable to elected bureaucrats in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and elsewhere in modern America, this essential point forming the crux of my response to the shocked residents visiting from Memphis: that the Uber founders were white, making them easily embraceable by the majority white mayors and City and County Council members, applying a kind of trust never before seen by the nation's taxi industry.  I told them that I knew they knew all about it, themselves treated as second-class citizens in this fine country we share, something they certainly couldn't deny.

And being white is why Uber continues to have investor support while losing over 10 billion dollars alone since 2016.  Can you imagine this kind of financial trust in a company run by African-Americans (blacks)?  How much money has Uber loss since its 2009 inception?  Something between 30-40 billion.  It is breathtaking, the kinds of losses investors have absorbed but still holding onto the fanciful, financial mirage that is Uber, and to a lesser degree, Lyft.

And what color is America's taxicab industry?  Black and brown, along with a smattering of feral Caucasians like myself who just aren't quite white enough, me with my Eastern European and Sicilian heritage.  Why did the City of Seattle and King County continue to insist on fingerprinting us annually year after nonsensical  year?  Well, you know the answer.  It is obvious.  I just told you.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Puget Sound Dispatch's MTI System Transition: Jury Deliberations Continue

PSD's new dispatch system has been with us for two weeks, time enough I think for a quick assessment on how it has been going.  But first, I would certainly be amiss in not mentioning the fervid months of preparation put in by Amin, Zem, Tom and others in getting the system up and running. While criticism comes easy, everyone must realize no transition is completely smooth, and compared to the "George System" changeover, all recent difficulties should be considered minor.  Above all, PSD remained functional with most "bells" served in timely fashion.  But some questions do require answers, especially as to why our Las Vegas call center was replaced by one in the Philippines, something done minus first consulting us, we the single owners paying PSD's bills.

One quick, and obvious answer is past  history, Yellow Cab's bad habit of making major decisions  without any or all serious consultation with those directly affected.  That must change, and while it appears there now exists more of a predisposition for openness and negotiation, the Manila (if that is where it is) call center has collectively shocked the entire Yellow single owner community, this after we were told "everything would now be local" but how a separation of 6,651 miles or 10,107 kilometers between Washington State and the Philippines is "local" distorts all acceptable definitions of "just down the hallway."  Maybe they neglected to consult a map, google mapping instead the now popular alternative.

Our biggest ongoing issues have been in order of:

1) an unexpected Android update shutting down most every one's computers (tablets).  Amin has spent many hours assisting the distressed drivers.

2) our credit card processing shut down for a few hours, and making it worse, at least for me, no one informing us when it was up and running again.  Manila didn't know, I can tell you that, and making it more confounding by simply not understanding what I was saying.  Perhaps PSD should offer all of us a "crash course" mastering the Filipino language.  It might prove to be helpful.  A cabbie told me yesterday that "more communication" is required.  Now that is what I call an understatement upon the subject. Ha Ha Ha!

3) the mystery that is Zone 160, never knowing upon accepting a Magnolia bell if it actually is in the 160 or not until the address is revealed.  Very irritating, especially when at the moment your are offered only two solutions, to do a "no show" or request to "cover your call" when it is miles away but only to find you have now been penalized 15 minutes for something not caused by you.  I have requested PSD to explain to us why they think they have legal authority to penalize for a service we are paying for?   I look forward to the explanation.

Yes, a few problems here and there but truly "small taxi potatoes" overall.  The new system installation was very efficient, along with all the classes and individual tutorials provided.  I like the new MTI system, I really do but would someone please promote and advertise our new dispatching app?  Customers truly like it.  Can we please tell the world that we are ready to punch Uber & Lyft in the nose?  Thank you!


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Taxi Do's & Don't's Conclusion: Working Hotel Stands & Zones

While concluding my self-styled series of what the alert cabbie should do, I remain doubtful I have captured even half of what is required to successfully drive a cab.  Each week I experience something new and different, meaning I could live to be one thousand years old and still be surprised, pleasantly or not, by who is stepping into my cab.  Later I will relate to what happened on my one and only ride from Wednesday's Rolling Stones concert to a Pierce County address located outside of Bonny Lake, knowing I would have handled it far differently in 1989 than I did 30 years later upon a August 2019 evening.

In other words, I can provide the greatest suggestions possible but my written instruction never replacing the 200,000 plus road miles required to make anyone a truly prepared and professional cabbie.  Each month I put 5,000 plus miles upon my faithful 1092, each mile more fully inscribing the living taxi tutorial upon my fatigued brain, hopefully translating into even better performance.

And Wednesday might have proved I remain the good student, having my first three one-hundred dollar-plus fare days in my long 30 year taxi career, those three fares adding up to $380.60.  Some like to say "taxi is dead" but I see everyday that instead, we are very much alive and, day by progressive day, regaining our industry footing, constantly meeting passengers who say they will never again take Uber to where they need to go.  And in fact we often prove to be cheaper, Uber charging $70.00 from the Pier 91 Cruise Ship port to Sea-Tac International Airport while we'll get you there for $47.00, lessening the financial incentive to skip good, old taxis.

More Money Making Strategy: Working Hotel Cab Stands & Taxi Zones 

My first more or less two years, I worked independently, meaning not for a large association, something translating into only a handful of dispatched calls and prompting a daily search for the best place to get that elusive fare.  Often, like all the other independents, I would usually end up upon a hotel cab stand but which hotel to chose was the question of the moment.  Pick wrongly and you could end up sitting for hours, going, as it is said, nowhere fast.  This is when I discovered that taxi was a kind of science, with investigation required to understand the functional biology of finding a fare.  Like all investigative research, repetitive testing is needed to know just where and when to go.  As should be obvious, each day and even hour is changeable, making it essential you are aware of what you need to do and why you are doing it.

The cab stand "player" then knows which convention is in town, how many in attendance, and when it is leaving, and of course knowing which hotel is full or not.  To not know these facts can kill a day, which is why so many cabbies "die upon the stand," never truly understanding what hit them.  In short, as I have said elsewhere, the successful cabbie is ever alert, paying attention to what, business-wise, is occurring around him/her.  One method, which I never liked, and have found too painful, is to sleep upon the stand, waiting for the "early, morning airports."  While sometimes successful, it leaves you ragged and weary, making you feel like "death warmed over" which is an awful feeling, making the money you earned harder than it needed to be.

Picking a zone to book into is similar, knowing your city's particular demographics essential, pertaining as to why the local residents are taking cabs or not.  Just like the hotel stands, fares might come out at 5:00 AM but it might be completely dead twelve hours later.  So what I am saying is, know why something is occurring minus as little guesswork as possible.  I have known taxi buddies, longtime 20-30 year veterans who neither knew or cared about what I have just told you, and were, or are forever complaining about not making money.  When errors are pointed out, "go to hell" is their usual response but it's them instead assigned to taxi's nether regions, damnation and perdition their sorry fate, Uncle Screwtape their happy sponsor.

In conclusion, taxi is a damn hard business if you insist upon driving in proverbial circles day after day.  My advice then is don't, don't do it.  Instead, think, think, and think again about what you are doing.  And if one strategy fails, try another until you succeed because succeed you will, I can promise you that.  I do know, for better or for worst, all about it, and before I forget, which I did, I'll relate my short story of how knowing what you are doing makes all the financial difference between making $180.00 or driving back to Seattle angry as hell and out all that time and money.

Post-Rolling Stones

He staggered into the cab, flattening out upon the backseat, saying he was going a long way southeast of Seattle, over halfway to Mount Rainier.  In other words, this was going to be a very good fare.  When I was a rookie, I would have demanded money up front, and if it wasn't coming, he would have been out of the cab and on his way but the years have taught me how to gauge a passenger no matter how inebriated he or she might be.

The ride was great, the passenger totally out but of course knowing trouble awaited once I had to wake him out and discover just exactly where I was taking the disoriented fellow.  And problems I had, the guy screwing up his debit card pin number, and worse, vomiting up beer.

But it all turned out okay, avoiding all those cars whizzing by on State Highway 410, including a local cop who stopped to inquire "just what was going on?"  Once halfway sobered up, my passenger, the good guy he was, directed me to his house where the wife wrote a check for $180.00, $20.00 of that for necessary cleanup.

It was all cordial though their dog considered the canine wisdom of biting the intrusive cabbie standing in the kitchen.  But hell! who could blame the pooch, so rudely awakened in those early morning hours.  As for me, I remained cheerful yet tired, eating my "meal-of-the-day" at the Bonny Lake Denny's, the waitress great, a true professional serving me my T-bone steak and eggs.  I couldn't complain, everything fine upon an early taxi morning, good money made and certainly ready to go home.  What else can I say?  Nothing whatsoever is the answer.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Graded By The Better Business Bureau? & Debut Of PSD's New Dispatch System

For those following my cabbie do & don'ts series, expect more next week, including more about making money, and specifically, how to work hotel stands, something I now rarely do but once serving as my independent taxi "bread & butter" while refining and honing my skills during my first couple of years beneath the top-light.  Instead, I will concentrate upon the oddest of animals, a complaint received through Seattle's Better Business Bureau, something I couldn't have imagined, or anyone else at Yellow, for that matter, unique and different if not pleasant, another kind of naive bureaucracy reaching out in confused embrace.

Normally, all official complaints are filtered though the City of Seattle but for reasons unknown, the complainant chose the BBB to register her alleged injury but perhaps I do know why, her complaint unfounded, embellishing truth into unnecessary lying.  More than the actual incident, what spikes my curiosity is just as to why would anyone go to such lengths to not only fib but leave themselves open to a libel suit?  My taxi educated guess is a toxic combination of alcohol and domestic discord, the woman's husband alcohol-fueled aggression and irrationality prompting her response, finding herself  navigating alone a daily traumatic melodrama minus end or easy resolution; easier then to blame anyone other than the individual solely responsible for their combined misery.

Before I report what she said, I will tell you what really happened, something taxi mundane and usual, not noteworthy because it is a commonplace occurrence well known to anyone who has driven a cab: the out-of-control drunken bully who refuses to cooperate.  If we can't invite drunks to leave the taxi, what then are we supposed to do when belligerence raises its ugly face?

Belled into a house near the corner of 6th NW & NW 84th, clearly there was a drunken party occurring, the usual shenanigans in full view.  Watching the man approach, I recognized trouble, his unsteady gait and angry face telling me everything I didn't want to know.  After turning around, and hugging equally drunk friends, he and his wife entered the cab, telling me they are going to N 104th & Greenwood N., a more or less $6-7.00 dollar cab ride, approximately five minutes away.

Normally, unless people either are drunk or insane, that is where it ends but when you are a bully, it is yet another opportunity to bully, crossing over usual and accepted lines of civility.  Gruffly telling me to turn right (all I could do), I warned him he had to stop or the ride was over, this response taken directly from my own "taxi" textbook stating you never let drunk, angry or crazy behavior take over the cab, something never allowed in airplanes, buses or trains, recognized for the danger it is.  As is obvious, I don't have an undercover air marshal sitting next to me.  I only have me to respond.  When "all-hell-breaks-loose," which it sometimes does, five minutes is a long wait to be rescued from what might be fatal.  Instead, I quickly state what needs to occur, and if the passenger fails to agree, the ride is over.

In this instance, we barely moved 100 feet down the road before the man said he was getting out of the cab.  The wife, only wanting to get home, pleaded with him to just let me take them there but there was no arguing, he was gone and that was the end of it, other than calling me back to pick them up again.  Why would they do that?  Alcohol induced confusion, forgetting dispatch's number (206-622-6500) and calling the cabbie back instead, something I have experienced often in similar circumstances.

What the wife, in her BBB complaint, said occurred, is that I shouted at them "to get the f _ _ k out!, then refused to let them out of the cab, implying for a quick moment they were kidnapped, held against their will,  while also stating  it was very "scary."  Why I would have done this isn't truly explained, the wife making no mention of alcohol or menacing behavior.  The truth is, I wanted to take them home, especially the wife but her husband's unacceptable behavior prevented me doing the basic, driving the few blocks northeast to their home.

Getting back to the complaint, you might see the logic in my supposition as to why she made her complaint, perhaps assuaging the beast that is her husband.  Having dealt with unfounded complaints before, sometimes the motive appears to be simple revenge, trying to punish the "bad"cabbie.  Over the years I have been accused of theft, unwanted sexual advantages, driving drunk or stoned, beatings and the usual "taking them for a ride," meaning "dishonesty is the standard cabbie policy."  That I recently returned $500.00 left on the back seat to a regular rider or, as some readers might remember, the potential $5-10,000 left in the black travel bag I found and returned a few months back, won't stop the next unwarranted accusation coming my way, poisoning the day.

All this is the "taxi reality" I know too well and accept as "part & parcel" of doing business and driving cab.  The last HopeLink complaint I received was classic, the passenger  (he did not have to pay a dime) complaining I took the wrong way to his NE 65th & Ravenna NE apt building, saying I didn't take Montlake Blvd.  And why didn't I take the usual and prescribed route, Montlake transitioning into 25th NE, the entire length closed both ways for construction, meaning it was impossible to break through barriers blocking the road.  Despite the obvious, this complaint lingering for months before resolved.

I did request for BBB to contact me, instead of using PSD as an intermediary but only if they truly are interested in knowing what it means to deal with nonsensical, irrational behavior entering the intimate space that is a taxi.  There is no other public business environment like a cab.  I would like for them to understand.  A mere half hour conversation would suffice.  Let's talk!

MTI Dispatch System Now Installed at PSD

After months of preparation, yesterday, the "San Francisco George" system was switched off and MTI was switched on.  It seems user friendly.  More later about MTI and our now Manila-based call center.  How many shoes do they own?

Uber Quarterly Loss

5.2 billion is the figure.  Amazing one might say!


                          Uber! Uber!

                         Where did you go wrong?

                         Spending investor money like tap water,

                         are you preparing all your dumbbell investors

                         for one final, inevitable financial slaughter?

                         In the Wall Street morning after,

                         In the fiscal bleeding night,

                         will everyone be waving goodbye

                         as misbegotten Uber's good ship Misery

                         drifts out of sight!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Do's & Don't's Part 6---The Taxi ABCs Of Making Money

Other than making money, and I mean, in relative terms, making lots of money, there is no absolutely no reason to drive taxi, as least in the long term, given the overall misery associated with this crazed occupation called driving a cab.   Perhaps for a month or two, some might regard it as a great adventure, or maybe even as an astute observation post upon all human behavior, which taxi certainly is.  And I do agree, taxi making a great subject for someone writing their PHD thesis in Applied Behavioral Psychology, knowing full well you will meet every kind of human inhabiting our planet.

But the cabbie's bottom-line must be, and has to be, the monetarily maximizing of every hour you are out upon the streets, the modern urban landscape your 24 hour ATM.  Even in this Post-Uber/Lyft environment, there is good money to be made.  How much depends on the given city plus your hours put in, and of course, the individual cabbie's ability to navigate the taxi maze.

And this is what this particular posting is, and designed to do, serving as an assist in the making of the money you truly deserve.  As you know, you are working in the most dangerous workplace our planet knows, save an active battlefield of  drawn bayonets, whizzing bullets and exploding bombs.  Staying safe and making the money is our daily task and taxi motto, with a growl, with a smile but of course minus all predatory guile.  We may bite but we aren't infectious!

How to Multiply the Taxi Dollar

To be a successful, money making cabbie, you first must have the requisite skills translating into a consummate professionalism. The professional cabbie is a special animal---part bloodhound, part wolverine, part owl, part lamb, part Saint Bernard, part hawk, part greyhound, part camel, part mule---yes, truly a species apart from the norm. We are all these intertwined animals and species because it is required, a shopping list of skills necessary in winning and solving that particular situation or problem.  A good example is what happened Friday night when the Jamaican passenger going to Sea-Tac presented me with a $2000.00 cashier's check to pay his fare.  I am not joking.  How was I going to cash that? Yes, this actually happened, stranger than usual fiction.

Instead of getting angry,  I took him him to the Renton, WA Money Tree, where he successfully cashed his check.  Instead of an argument I got, including tip, $120.00 for my effort, both of us happy with the outcome.  In my rookie years, I am afraid I might have responded differently.  Clearly you must be ready for anything because anything will happen.  You can depend on it.

Successful Components Composing the Professional Cabbie Personality 

Everyday, be organized.  What I mean by this, is to have a plan of action, where you are going to start working, and more, having a very good idea of just where the money is and will be upon that given day.  A huge mistake many cabbies make is treating each day the same.  While each day shares similarities, each day is nuanced, with individual twists and turns.  So have a plan, but like the wise owl you must be, remain alert to the sounds emanating from the taxi forest.  In short, know what you are doing even when you don't.  What does that mean?  It means welcome to taxi as I know it.

Part of that daily organization is knowing what is occurring that particular day, be it a big name rock concert or, if in a major city, when is the football game ending, meaning the easy money might be there as opposed to elsewhere. But the reverse can also be true, working where everyone else isn't, knowing there will customers in other parts of town seeking your services.  This rule especially applies if you driving for a large taxi company like Seattle Yellow Cab offering 24/7 service throughout the city and county.  But I have found that some events, like a UW Husky football game, is guaranteed money due to up to 73,000 rabid fans pouring out of the stadium. Start just before halftime and begin counting the money.

But what do you do when nothing at all is happening, and you are feeling crazier than normal?  This is when you understand that the successful cabbie makes every attempt to remain "cool, calm and collected" in all and every situation confronting him/her regardless of what it may be.  Taxi can "eat you alive" so the best approach is to remain patient, knowing everything will get better, perhaps in the next minute or hour or next day.  Trying to "force the day" only leads to frustration and screaming at the sky, though therapeutic shouting can be effective as long as you are sitting alone and safely parked.  If you need to go "nuts" for a moment, do it and then shift into "Buddhist-mode," enjoying the bliss of being alive! upon a rainy day.

Another part of making money is knowing your city and all the roads therein, enabling the shortest routes possible Point A to B, thus maximizing your time in the cab.  Obvious, but the faster you get to the passenger in and to their destination translates into being vacant quicker for the next fare,  explaining why I always help load and unload the groceries, luggage etc.  Not only do I get exercise and bigger tips and simple appreciation, but by speeding up the process I am quicker on my way to where ever I might be going next.  The lazy cabbie is a big dummy cabbie. Get outta the cab and move your butt, being helpful to all concerned.

Maintaining good habits assists in making money.  Using your trip sheet to maintain a hourly running total is very helpful in keeping focused upon the bigger money-making picture.  It is part of remaining alert to what you are doing.  The cabbie standing around talking with their buddies is going to miss any bells coming through the system.  It has happened to me more than I like to admit.  Taxi is a stern mistress, kicking your ass when you aren't paying attention.  Again, I know all about it, me the perfectly imperfectly cabbie, too often not taking my own advice.  Yeah, me too the big dummy!

I could say more but tonight I am running out of time.  I hope this series helps someone somewhere understand more fully the under appreciated craft that is driving a cab.  Most don't know but we do, which is all that counts and matters, you and me and the millions of others driving cab upon our planet. Brothers and sisters, I salute you!  Be brave! Be smart! Make money!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Taxi Do's & Don't's Part 5--- Police & More Specifics Concerning Passengers

Cabbie relations with the local Seattle & King County police departments, have been, in my personal history, a fraught narrative mandating a bureaucratic punch-in-the-taxi -nose to any cabbie within reach of the "too long arm of the law."   There are real reasons why, until recently, the US Department of Justice  officially oversaw Seattle's Police Department, with the recent cancellation of the mandate undergoing further review.  Over my 30 plus years driving cab, the vast majority of my contacts with local police authorities haven't been positive, meaning I have been the loser regardless of all and any perceived right and wrong. The reason for this is simple: police fear offering any signals that they, and not you, are completely in control.  Expecting conciliation of any kind is a mistake. Instead the closed fist, the psychological "hand gripping your collar" their operational vernacular.  As said, when dealing with the police, there is no winning, only losing.  But before providing further elaboration and advice concerning the police, I feel it necessary to further expand upon passenger relations, more specific detail perhaps helping when talking to, and dealing with, your valued customer.

Situations & Personality Types

The Interviewer---This personality type wants to know everything about you, asking the most personal questions.  While often not taking my own advice, the best approach I have found, as politely as you can, is to say something to the effect that you feel uncomfortable volunteering personal information.  Understand, that in my long experience, this kind of passenger is some version of crazy, no one sane or normal interested in prying into you life.  Their questioning is a kind of intrusion or assault, so feeling violated is a natural enough response.

The Bully---Their gig is to be completely controlling, dictating your every move, sternly commanding "turn left, turn right, etc," verbally slapping you around.  In telling them to stop, I make it clear their behavior is very distracting, preventing me from safely driving down the road.  Too often, their response is an impolite "I am paying!" which is when I pull over and say, "No you're not.  You don't owe me a dime. Please leave."   Sometimes they refuse to go, prompting me to leave, turning off the cab and walking away.  Always remember this taxi bottom-line: you the cabbie MUST be in control of your cab at all times, never allowing COMMANDEERING of any kind to take place, either by weapon or verbal abuse.  I have found that if the passenger feels they are in control, and not me, I immediately question the customer's motives, and just what will happen next, if the ride is allowed to continue.  As the adage goes, better to be safe than sorry.

The Dangerous Passenger---Anytime you feel that the passenger's agenda is anything but the normal "Point A to B" ride, do this instead of driving on waiting to be killed: verbally state you question what the passenger is doing, or will do.  If you don't like the answer, immediately terminate the ride.  If the passenger won't get out, pull into a busy intersection and open all the doors.  I find that works well.  And if the worst happens, gun to head or knife to throat, speed up while yelling "you will roll the cab!" and do it within seconds if the knife or gun isn't tossed out.  Don't play games with killers.  They will kill you!  Always remember that "you the cabbie" have a higher likelihood of being murdered upon the job than a cop.

Too Drunk or Drug-Addled Passenger---That you were foolish to allow them into the cab is your fault.  Your job now is to somehow safely get the passenger out of you cab.  Just remember that you have a legal and moral responsibility to put them out in a safe location, and not, for instance, on the freeway where they will be killed walking into oncoming traffic.

The Disabled Passenger---Never resent that the blind or physically-impacted or frail & elderly passenger requiring extra time and help and assistance.  Assist to the door.  Carry their groceries.  Be a hero and not some commonplace cad!  As might be suggested, imagine its you needing the help.

Our Friends the Police

Never forget that when you are involved in a police traffic stop, you are officially under arrest until the cop gives you permission to pull away.  Also remember, the ticket you have been issued, whether dismissed or not, will follow you beyond the grave.  I know this factually, having 30 or more tickets dismissed but certainly not forgotten, King County and Seattle prosecutors treating them as "real violations" despite their dismissal.  You will find that even official police correspondence saying you did nothing wrong, the ticket erroneous and unlawful, is not enough to stop you from being found guilty of the moving violation.  As the court rules have changed, I always hire my favorite taxi lawyer, Doug Silva, to protect me from the judicial wolves. Also know that the officer will write comments you will not see until your day in court.  Police, as I have personally experienced, will perjure themselves both in writing and upon the witness stand.  Who do think is believed, you or the cop?

My first advice is to do everything you can to prevent a traffic stop from occurring.  If you are going to break some traffic rule, do it when no one cop is around to to stop you, meaning you should be especially careful after the sun goes down, when the police have the distinct advantage of being able to seeing you first.

But when you are stopped, and you will be stopped sometime in your taxi career, I advise you to to remain calm and say as little as possible.  Often the cop will try to make you talk but politely say you know you have the right to remain silent and that's what you are going to do.  Of course, keep your hands in full view and make no sudden moves.  Early on, in my first taxi year, I was assaulted by a Seattle cop.  All you can do is be completely cooperative and wish for the misery to be over.  And once the stop is over, and if finding yourself too upset to drive, take a break, have dinner or a cup of coffee.

In short, in all other words, do NOTHING to provoke the officer.   Be SURE to REMEMBER that the cop is probably scared out of his/her mind and will shoot you if the excuse arises.  To believe otherwise, is a foolish and potentially fatal notion.  It isn't that the cop will want to kill you.  It's only that they are armed and have the legal right to kill you if they feel threatened.  Obviously then, do nothing that might seem threatening.  That is the best advice I can give you.  Take the ticket and drive away, living to see another taxi day.   That is all you can do.

To be continued.

Next week: How to make the "BIG" money!  Yes, successful and proven strategies assisting in making a given taxi day worthwhile.