Friday, February 7, 2020

Puget Sound Dispatches' Overtures To The Sea-Tac Cabbies & Why The City And County Wants Us to Reposition Our Tablets & RCW 46.61560? Ticketed While Legally Parked In Bellevue

This week I have the problem of having much to report minus the real time to do it, meaning I must be brief, and if necessary, returning to the subjects later, probably next week.  The first issue, what PSD (Seattle Yellow Cab) is offering Sea-Tac cabbies is pretty straightforward. The second, the City and County request concerning the repositioning of our tablets (taxi computers) in March 2020 might take more time than I have this week.  The third subject is the confounding parking I received today in Bellevue, WA, given because I wasn't in the act of dropping off or picking up passengers. Huh!?

PSD $45.00 Overture to the Sea-Tac Cabbies

A source presented this to me last week, coloring it as something nefarious.  Very concerned about what it meant, I sat down last Friday morning and to discuss the matter with Amin, PSD general manager, turning out this was all old news but new to me.  What is happening is fairly simple, an overall innocent response to the over one hundred cabs departing Yellow last Autumn in their dispute over paying for PSD's new MTI dispatch system.  Beginning last October, overtures were made to Sea-Tac single owners for the twofold purpose of 1) renewing Yellow Cab presence at Sea-Tac, and 2) increase Yellow fleet numbers, now at about 280 cabs.

The standing offer is this: come back to Yellow for a weekly rate/fee of $45.00 and you the single owner will receive two days of dispatched calls.  The $45.00 request is of course 1/4 of PSD's usual $180.00 weekly dispatch fee.  They would also be asked to pay a 10 % processing fee for all account vouchers.  Seems like a fair offer to me, not that many so far have been interested, only one cab to this point making the transfer.

Repositioning our Tablets

My major question is why do we need to move our tablets, which now also serves as our meters, when over 28,000 Seattle-area Uber and Lyft operators, along with 400? flat-rate cars, have no visible meter whatsoever, often knowing what they are exactly charging their customers guesswork at best.  The recent example of Uber & Lyft overcharging customers fleeing Seattle's recent 3rd & Pine shooting site illustrates this.  And some might remember my mentioning of the rash of complaints a year ago during a Patent Lawyer convention, flat-rate drivers repeatedly overcharging the lawyers during their week-long stay.  One action I have already taken is to request that the City provide data as to all year  2019 cab verified meter violations.

While understanding it is traditional for cab customers to watch the meter tick, the meters are calibrated and accurate, with the rates posted upon doors and windows.  And it is also true that if there are two passengers in the back seat, the one sitting behind the driver has a clear view of the meter.  What I am asking for are verifiable reasons for the tablet repositioning.  I still remember when the City & County felt it both necessary (and legal) to annually fingerprint cabbies when logically there was absolutely no justification for it.  Only when I got someone at the King County counter to say "because your fingerprints change yearly," did they stop.

Another mistake the City and County is making again is the misguided assumption that the taxi associations represent the single owner community, thus thinking they do not  have to directly communicate and negotiate with us.  I repeat, the associations are only dispatch companies, companies providing us dispatch services, which we pay for.  We are individual businesses.  The City of Seattle and the State of WA recognize this, by requiring individual business licenses.  Why doesn't the City of Seattle FAO office understand they need to talk to us individually about any changes made to our cabs?  I say it is time that they do.

Why is the City of Bellevue ticketing legally parked cars?

I do not want to deal with this.  It is totally crazy but there I was, legally parked in a two-hour zone waiting for a call.  Relaxing with the seat down, I fell asleep, only to awaken to a parking ticket upon the windshield.  My total time in the space was about 45 minutes, so what was my violation?  Not loading, unloading passengers.  I called this number (425-462-4208)  listed on the ticket and spoke to a very nice woman who attempted to help.  She called me back and told me it was a RCW 46.61560 violation.  I encourage everyone to do an online search concerning RCW 46.61560 and you will discover  it has nothing to do with cabs.

The amazing thing is that the City of Bellevue presented me with the erroneous information that taxi cabs in the State of Washington can not park legally on any street in the entire state, including, I am guessing, metered parking.  I am not making this up.  I must also add that Bellevue does not have an single official taxi stand in the entire city.

And now they have rogue parking enforcement officers writing bogus tickets.  I will be filing an internal investigation complaint along with contacting City of Bellevue officials.  What I also find interesting is that there is no Code number violation listed on the ticket.  More on this nonsense later.

Update 02/11/2020:  City of Bellevue Code # 11.23026

I encourage everyone to look this up.  What it says is the amazing fact that a for-hire vehicle can not legally park their car ANYWHERE in the City of Bellevue, even in front of your own house.  They say you can stop in a legal cab stand but if there is even one cab stand in Bellevue, I have never seen it.

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