Sunday, May 30, 2021

Terror In The Taxi Night---When Your Cab Never Arrives & Amtrak Restarts Regular Schedule & Ghost Rides By Yellow Wraiths & Wooden Ships And Desert Flowers

Will Your Cab Ever  Arrive?  No One Knows for Sure

Imagine you are very hungry and step into a restaurant expecting fast and reasonable service but the opposite occurs, and instead find yourself waiting.  After seated by the hostess, you watch waitstaff continually passing your table, and worse, serving customers arriving after you.  Finally, in frustration, you ask, "What in the world is going on?" and are told that the staff are independent contractors and can decide which table to serve or not.  If you are seated in part of the eatery the waiters don't like or don't think you are a big tipper, you are flat out of luck.  And it is also a matter of time of hour and day, since most of the staff prefer working the lunch rush, dinner customers like you having to wait longer than normal.  "Does that mean," you ask, "that eventually my order will be taken and my meal served?'  "No, not at all, " the hostess cheerfully replies, "you might sit here all night without eating.  That's just the way it is. Try McDonald's or Taco Bell, they're quicker."  

And, using that analogy, this is exactly the situation facing Seattle Yellow Cab customers when they call for a cab, this especially true upon a Saturday or Sunday night and you live in South King County or Seattle's West Seattle neighborhood.  If your cab does arrive, it probably means you have been waiting 45 to 90 minutes, and what can you do about it?  Nothing.  There is nothing you can do because Yellow currently has less than 160 working cabs, with the majority working weekday daylight shifts, usually quitting by 8:00 PM, all this translating into a kind of "dead zone" until 5:00 or 6:00 the following morning.  And adding to a customer's dilemma is that Yellow is truly the only functional cab company operating, meaning you must call Yellow or no one else because those transportation fast food alternatives, Uber and Lyft, have recently become indigestible, charging up the yin-yang for their services.  

Another issue impacting service is the tendency of many drivers to cling like barnacles to a pier to zones and areas that potentially deliver lucrative account fares, rejecting any and all fares from adjacent zones.  What this of course means is that customers are kept waiting, and too often recently, not receiving a cab at all.  And does anyone truly care if you missed an important medical appointment?  Only if you ask, and since there is essentially no one available to voice your concerns, you now have your answer.

The background history of all this relates to decades of both industry and regulatory indifference, a "behind-a-scenes" failure to understand its workforce and how a pervasive lack of comprehensive training produces the kind of cabbie generally devoid of necessary and primary skills, leaving individuals forever ignorant of what it means to be a taxi driver.  By adding Uber and Lyft to the mix, the City of Seattle and King County have enabled an unprofessional workforce to flourish---invasive species crowding out the native professionals, Scotch Broom overtaking the transportation landscape.   

What it boils down to is that any customer thinking, that by merely requesting a cab, a cab will soon arrive, will and can be sorely disappointed, missing medical appointments and  not making it to work on time.  Ask Stephanie in Skyway or Mike in Tukwila.  They would tell you all about it, if questioned, about how unreliable Yellow Cab is becoming and how the poor service is personally impactful, making them either late or merely facing the inconvenience of waiting nearly two hours for a cab.  This is the too often  reality facing Stephanie and Mike and others like them, a reality beyond denial.  

Is it acceptable?  Of course it isn't. When will it change?  As I too often say, I don't know, I can't tell you, the situation is what it is, like a fierce wind buffeting you on a chilly day, you just bear with it, hoping for some relief that the weather will somehow transform into a sunny day.  Until then, bundle up and wish for better days and clearer skies.  

Since May 24th, 2021, More Amtrak Trains

All aboard, folks, Amtrak is now returning to more normal scheduling, with the Empire Builder (Chicago to Seattle and Portland) and the Coast Starlight (Seattle to Los Angeles) resuming daily trains.   Also a second Amtrak Cascades (Seattle to Eugene)  RT train is now scheduled.  1,200 furloughed employees are returning to work.  Hurrah! See ya down at King Street Station!

Yellow Cabbies cut their own throats

In the most recent Puget Sound Dispatch newsletter, it was reported that some drivers have given in to temptation and pretended to serve no-show account trips, PSD calling them "ghost rides."  What many drivers appear not to understand is that the MTI computer dispatch system allows tracking of all of their movements and transactions.  It the new surveillance state, like the People's Republic of China or some deranged Santa Claus watching whether you are naughty or nice.  Understand, guys, it is simple theft and you are breaking the law.  Stop, dumbbells, stop!  Stupid is as stupid does! 

Enjoying Eastern Washington Desert Flowers and a Song from my teenage years

Wednesday and Thursday I drove to my favorite desert paradise, the Quincy Lakes (the Quincy Game Range), walking the trails and dipping into Cup Lake, all the while taking in the splendid array of blooming wild flowers---yellow, blue, red, purple and white petals brightening the sagebrush green and brown.  It is a particularly lush spring, rushing water everywhere, including waterfalls.  Wonderful, and a big full moon beaming through a misty sky.  And the beavers are busy, building a dam on little Cascade Lake.

On the radio, I heard an old favorite song, "Wooden Ships," and savored the lyrics speaking of a more hopeful time:

"Wooden ships upon the water, very free and easy

Easy, you know, the way it's supposed to be

Talkin' about free and easy"

The version I heard was performed by Crosby, Stills & Nash.  Jefferson Airplane also recorded it about the same time.

Yeah, time for more desert flowers in our hair!  About taxi we don't care!  And we jump in the water minus swimsuits and underwear!

1 comment:

  1. How many cabs are working right now? When will they close to returning drivers?