Snow Weakened by Rain
Road conditions made the decision for me, late Saturday afternoon no fun at all, secondary roads and parking lots hellishly slippery. With a Sunday forecast calling for rain, I stayed inside, hoping for nature's assistance in getting restarted and answering all the inevitable waiting bells. But stepping out Sunday morning telling me me I was a day away from any kind of sane and safe roadways, radio reports of area accidents and traffic tie-ups not at all reassuring that the weather nightmare would soon be ended, Monday morning seemingly the better choice. At one point, up to 170 Metro (Seattle & King County) buses were stuck in the snow, the storm moving faster than the road crews.
And during late Sunday night, rain did arrive, along with higher temperatures, loosening the storm's frigid grip upon the city, and most important to me, providing the hope I could release my cab from its snowy carapace, allowing an escape to a more drier roadway. Monday morning, finding YC 1092 hemmed in by a snowplow created icy barricade, I thought it would be a difficult struggle freeing the cab but I was wrong, the Crown Vic's powerful V-8 engine conquering nature's snowy impasse, up and through we went to firmer blacktop taking me to Rainer Avenue South. I was free! free again to to slip and slide, a snowy defiance lasting a couple more days, keeping me aware trouble was a only quick moment away, telling me to stay alert to all possibilities.
Uber Hires its Enemy
In a recent Bloomberg News article reported by Brody Ford, Uber hired Alex Rosenblat, author of the 2018 book, "Uberland, How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work" to facilitate driver relations. Admittedly I haven't read the tome but viewing her picture tells me they probably hired the correct person to "window dress" their underlying criminal agenda. Hey Uber! I'm a well known ride-share critic, at least here in Seattle, hire me and see what happens? Ha Ha Ha! Do I have a bad attitude? You bet I do, knowing full well the kind of predators occupying the Uber zoo! Will they bite? Hell yes, they will kill you minus hesitation.
More Computer Dispatching
I feel it necessary and helpful to describe more fully the positives offered by dispatching taxis through the magic that is, because, if done properly, it truly speeds up the cab to passenger process. When it doesn't, the onus falls upon human, not technological, failure. Here are some examples of what our current MTI computer system does well:
---Instantly putting the call into the taxi biosphere, allowing for fast acceptance and pick-up.
---Offering the call to the closest cab though Mr/Ms/Miss MTI not always understanding there is a lake or a salty bay in the way. I wonder if its possible to program more geographical information into the computer's brain, eliminating this kind of error.
---Making all account info automatic, eliminating paper vouchers, registering payment into individual driver accounts.
---Permanent tracking record of driver routing, especially important when the driver is in danger. It also can reveal driver misbehavior, which is, depending upon the viewpoint, both good and bad.
---Telling the passenger the name and cab number of the cabbie servicing their call.
---The app showing location of the belled-in cab, providing a realtime view of the arriving cab.
---Allowing for "forward plotting" into another zone. This is a great feature, in voice terms it would be called "throwing your peg" into another part of the city. The peg was part of a voice dispatcher's peg board, the instrument used to keep track of all the cabs operating at that moment. If the cabbie was on break, your peg would be "twisted."
Now that's pretty much how it works, the one thing missing from the old voice days is the dispatcher's discretion in rewarding cabbies for good work done, like serving that long waiting grocery run or delivering a rush package. Voice had lots of good and take, and the smart, hard working cabbie made lots of money, the dispatching anointing the driver's fevered brow.
Bad Cabbies playing in the Snow
I've gotten reports from passengers of cabbies over charging customers during the snow days. Not nice to do that, no, not at all.