Tuesday, June 29, 2021

A New Dawn? Five Airport Fares On Sunday & Hot Stuff! Not A Sea-Tac Hotel Vacancy In Sight & A New Reality Facing Puget Sound Dispatch's Management & Does Seattle's City Council Endorse Child Sexual Exploitation And Trafficking? & Medallion Renewals 07/01-09/15/2021

New Fare Explosion 

Is Seattle taxi business back to pre-Uber levels, keeping us busy and happy 24 hours a day?  And I say, perhaps, maybe we just might be nearing the kind of demand once accustomed to, similar to entering a ripe fruit laden orchard and reaching up to any branch, finding a beautiful apple or luscious peach.  

Sunday morning downtown Seattle was certainly like that, a cascade of airport runs flowing out to Sea-Tac International, dispatch announcing airport bells originating from the local hotels, my first coming out at 4:00 AM and continuing until a fare north to Bothell telling me it was time to stop and sleep, having worked through the night.  That ride was $59.00.  Money was definitely happening.

It was great to see, all this business, and Monday I had two more Sea-Tac trips, one early, one late, the last a search for an elusive airport-area hotel room.  At Sea-Tac, I recognized many familiar faces amongst the hordes dropping off passengers, even one Greek from the late 1980s, all of us there having a good time except the Greek, his ever dour expression never changing. 

Everyone wanting to cool off from the 108 F. heat

The fare from the Greyhound began innocently enough, a woman going to any Sea-Tac hotel in anticipation of meeting her boyfriend who was flying in later from Alabama.  I thought this was going to be easy since price was no object and she had ID and credit cards but boy! was I mistaken because everyone and their cousins too, were fleeing Seattle's unprecedented heat wave for air-conditioned hotel and motel rooms.  It was bloody insane, everywhere I called for her, including the Priceline hotel callcenter, were giving me the same answer, no, no, no! we have no rooms.  Deciding to proceed southbound down Pacific Highway South and hoping we might get lucky, I saw a lit "Vacancy" sign and pulled in.  And wouldn't you know it, she getting their last room, and me, $60.00.  She was very happy and I was damn well relieved it happened, another satisfied customer thanking her lucky taxi stars.  Damn it was hot!

At this late juncture, one would think PSD understands

I will repeat the obvious more than once because it appears Puget Sound Dispatch, acting as both dispatch and nominal taxi association, can't accept or comprehend that its SOLE source of income comes directly from the single owners and no one else.  I repeat, PSD's SOLITARY source of revenue keeping them afloat originates from all the single owners paying their weekly $180.00 dispatch fee.  That this is true alters the business dynamic between PSD and the drivers.  It is an unavoidable truth.

Unlike the previous BYG Co-op arrangement, where cars and insurance and dispatch were provided for a daily or weekly fee, the new system or agreement we now find ourselves in has very little to do with previous history, the now defunct Co-op once a company/association composed mostly of multiple medallion owners leasing out BYG's services.  Now all the cabs are owned and operated individually but as I keep saying, PSD doesn't appear to know that, operating from the old Co-op premise they are ones in complete control.  

Well, it isn't true and PSD needs to recognize reality as it exists and change accordingly to fairer ground rules governing dispatching and medallion owner relations.  From what I can tell, PSD views the single owners as the enemy or a kind of misbehaving family; and the single owners somehow see or think that PSD is "Mom & Dad," sticking out their uncooperative tongues out like 14-year-old adolescents. 

This is not workable, maturity and reason instead must be applied.  If all of us can begin acting like adults, I think efficiency in all areas will improve.  Can we all grow up?  I hope so.  Our MTI computer dispatch system is highly functional, holding great potential.  All I am asking is for PSD to embrace that potential, enabling all us drivers to do better.  It can happen.  The only barrier is a lack of will, nothing else.  

Victoria from the Shoreline Days Inn

It was painful, hearing the customer's voice over the telephone, a child's voice it seemed, whispering.  And seeing her approach my cab, I realized she was yet another prostitute heading off to "work." How old was she?  I don't know but maybe 16 or 17 because she had me stop and buy her a pack of cigarettes.  Was she underage or simply not having any ID to make the purchase?  I don't know anything for sure but she was young, a kid who shouldn't be in the position of selling herself on the streets.  I dropped her off at 137th and Aurora North.

Last year, on June 16th, 2020, the Seattle City Council passed Council Bill 119808, repealing SMC 12A.10.010, a Seattle law restricting prostitution loitering.  Why did they do that?  Because it was said it was adversely affecting woman of color and that had to stop.  I'm not making this up, this was their justification for allowing black and brown women to be victimized by men seeking illicit sex.  No, don't arrest them.  Instead, subject them to all kinds of dangers and hazards, including serial murderers. 

Does anyone remember Gary Ridgway, the "Green River Killer" who was convicted of murdering 49 prostitutes and is suspected of killing a total of 71 women, including many young runaways?  Doesn't the City Council understand what they were exposing these women to, women completely defenseless when the man is on top of them having sexual intercourse?  

This is why the cops are doing nothing to stop all the streetwalking now occurring on Aurora, the council members condoning, if not promoting Victoria and others like her to a life of pure hell.  If she is murdered, will those same city council members be held accountable for her death?  

You know the answer, of course not, nothing whatsoever happening to them.  Welcome to Seattle, dumbbell city supreme!

The following are council members you can contact to make your opinion known:

City Council President Lorena Gonzalez---lorena.gonzalez@seattle.gov  206-684-8809

District 5 Council Member Debora Juarez---debora.juarez@seattle.gov    206-684-8805

Council Member Teresa Mosequeda---teresa.mosequeda@seattle.gov       206-684-8808

Back around the time when Ridgway was active, finding most of his victims near the airport, I remember meeting in the cab a soft-spoken lonely prostitute, obviously somewhere from the southern United States, running her fingers through my hair, a heart-breaking gesture I have never forgotten.  I will never know of course what happened to her.  Did she survive?  Or was she killed, she like so many women plying the streets an easy target for crazy men.  If you are going to sanction prostitution, then do it like its done in Nevada and Amsterdam, make it legal and safe, providing the kind of protection Ridgway's victims never received.  But what is occurring now in Seattle's North-end is inexcusable, it shouldn't be happening.  Now that you too know, join me in telling the City of Seattle to change its approach when caring about women sex-working its streets.

You have 2 1/2 months to renew your taxi medallion

Beginning tomorrow, July 1, 2021, Seattle and King County taxi medallion owners have until Sept 15th, 2021 to renew the medallion.  You can google Seattle Services Portal to get started.  You can call 206-386-1268 for more info.  The Seattle FAS person in charge is Robert Hooks at robert.hooks@seattle.gov 


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