Monday, October 5, 2020

Back In The Seattle Taxi Saddle: Seattle Kisses Uber And Lyft & Trust And Believe The Philippines Dispatch? & Who Wants To Be In A Damn Cab: Why I Travel

I made it back to Seattle from Arcata in one day, leaving early to allow myself some time to walk along a beach and twice visiting towering redwoods.  It was sad to leave but currently, this is my self-manufactured state, muttering to myself on Friday, "I gotta get out of here! and damn well it's true, sleeping 11 to 12 hours a day in Arcata  recovering from what is not possible: the unrelenting grind that is taxi.  Now to subjects taxi.

Oh those poor abused TNC (ride-share) operators: Boo Hoo Hoo!

They, being the combined forces of the Seattle City Council and the Mayor's Office, along with Teamsters 117, have finally implemented their early Christmas gift to local Uber and Lyft drivers, passing a bill assuring they earn the local minimum wage of $16.75, making this somehow "First Testament biblical"--- the Council, the Mayor and a certain Mister Smith taking on the guise of Jesus Christ personally administering to the blind, lame and crippled TNC masses.  Damn they missed a grand opportunity, failing to enlist Pope Francis, the Dali Lama and the Archbishop of Canterbury in this grand governmentally religious endeavor, perhaps signing on the Rev Franklyn Graham too to this grand, spiritual enterprise.  Praise GOD but shaft the cabbies, issuing them tickets on the lower West Seattle Bridge and generally kicking their asses in and around the entire Puget Sound!

Does anyone remember that these Uber clowns operated illegally in Seattle for over an entire year before  granted permission to work in Seattle, flouting laws, rules and regulations, not caring one bit who they affected or harmed?  And after Mayor ("can I pay you for a little _____") Murray decided their numbers shouldn't be capped, Uber and Lyft propagated like Viagra-maddened Easter bunnies, over-populating Seattle and King County with over 28,000 drivers. 

And I thought Mister Smith was our taxi buddy.  That what I get for thinking.  I think it's time for me to retire to merry old Oxford England and have a cup of tea with someone named Dawn who once fought for thee, you ye merry old traditional cabbie!  Ha Ha Ha.  

Am I out-of-my-mind?  Indeed I am working on a full moon night, illuminating my brain by the lunar light, shouting silently minus hesitation with all my throat and might!

I neither believe what the Cebu-based dispatch say or trust what they do

I give up.  These folks answering the telephone way across the Pacific Ocean collectively do not know what they are doing 100 % of the time.  Perhaps they do operate efficiently 75 % when dispatching our calls but that isn't good enough.  Even if they are operating effectively nine out of ten tries, that still means they are screwing up a full 10 % of the calls.  Do you you as a Seattle Yellow Cab customer want to be part of that 10-25 % disparity?  No, I didn't think so.  

Yesterday, I was belled into 2201 Westlake Avenue North.  Where was the elderly passenger really waiting?  2201 Westlake Avenue.  She told me she clearly told the call-taker the correct address.  When I call dispatch I am told it was the passenger's fault, which is the "old dispatch" line of blaming everything upon the dumbbell customer.  All I can say is, Cebu & Company are learning their lessons well.  

And a few minutes ago I am belled into 2905 1st Avenue South.  Where was the customer actually waiting?  On the corner of 1st & Broad, 2905 1st Avenue.  

I've had enough of this.  When I call Cebu dispatch I now say I can no longer trust or believe what they say.  Why should I or any other Seattle Yellow Taxi single owner believe or trust these folks to do their job well?  The answer is, we, that means all of us, continue to have our time, and our customers time, wasted.  

And what is current management going to do about it?  First, they will be angry that I have once again displayed our "dirty laundry," blaming me (and all of the other single owners) for something currently out of our control, and most galling, continuing to make us pay for this disservice.  It is our money paying the salaries of those fine ladies and gentleman sitting across the roiling sea, not management.  Then management will say that the Cebu call takers are doing a wonderful job, and that I have no idea what I am talking about, denial a current popular American tradition, calling everything a hoax, fake news, etc. 

What management won't do is attempt to refine and enhance the call takers skills, allowing this is to fester like an untreated wound.  Doctor?  We don't need no doctor!

And they will expect us to accept the situation remaining the same regardless of obvious reality.  Amongst themselves they will insult us owners, saying they do this and that, which, while being totally true, cannot be part of this conversation.  We did not hire non-taxi personnel to run our dispatch.  They did.  This is solely a management issue that must be resolved by management.  

Please, whatever the solution is, implement it, make it happen.  I don't want or deserve another misaddressed bell.  I pay my dispatch fee.  I serve all the bells I accept.  I deserve better.  If I don't, I want management to tell me why.

And certainly our customers deserve better than the service they are getting.  Why do they have to wait 30 minutes (in ten-minute service areas) wondering where their cab is?  Why?  Why do they have to wait when instead a correctly addressed bell will quickly deliver to them their cab.

What is going on?  I repeat, what is going on?  Oh, I think I said I know what is occurring here.  Sorry for the repetition. 

Why I Travel

One simple answer it that it's "in my blood," having moved year to year during my childhood, a thousand miles this way, two thousand miles in the opposite direction nine months later.  Desert, mountains, frozen wilderness, prairie were all my home, rattlesnakes, coyotes, buffalos, pronghorn my personal friends.  By latest count I have been to 45 countries and territories.  I am never more stimulated than when I am where I haven't been before, or like the area around Arcata, someplace worthy of more exploration.  

This past Wednesday, while walking upon a paved trail near the ocean, we discovered a bushy trail taking us down to where the Mad River meets the Pacific, suddenly standing on a pebbly beach surrounded by lush foliage and blessed silence, our modern word obliterated, nothing mattering except the natural world embracing us in that moment.

That is why I travel, and have traveled, be it Russia, the Dakota Badlands or the Redmond Watershed Preserve located a few miles away across Lake Washington, where yesterday I marveled at the rain-glistering spiderwebs waving in the breeze, their tiny brown hosts waiting for a passing fly. 

That's why I travel and you should to.  Five years ago I stayed 10 days in Sanok, Poland wandering the streets and the local countryside; and in the evening, supping on various delicious soups in my hotel's dining room, the experience staying with me, to this moment, to this hour.  That's why I travel.  To quote the poet Robert Frost, "You come too."  You won't regret it, I assure you.



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