Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Greetings From Union Street, Arcata: Who Is Ultimately In Charge Of Regulating Seattle And King County's Taxi Industry? Somebody? Anybody? Nobody? & Boston Cab Drivers Lose Uber Court Action

Thwarted Hegira---Camping on Hurdy Gurdy Creek and the Smith and Winchuck Rivers

After changing our plans due to fires in nearby wilderness and forest, we were forced to once more alter our intentions after encountering scores of travelers, who like us, sought the solace and embrace of woods and rivers and open sky---a watery and green and flowering balm soothing the urban blighted mind.  Even at the isolated North Fork section of the Smith River, an overnight encampment of eight vehicles and many shouting children took over a beach we had, so sublimely the day before, solely to ourselves, meaning there was no escaping the human species this time around.  Having accessed this part of the river by a twenty-mile gravel road drive over an unnamed mountain pass, their arrival was a surprise, telling us it was time to go.  

Retracing our tire tracks, grinding up the southwest side of the unknown mountain in second gear, and once atop, pulled off, taking in the spectacular view, as nothing is more freeing than a wide open, unblemished blue sky embracing our known world.  After that, and reaching Highway 101, we crossed over into Oregon, reaching the Chetco River outside of Brookings but hordes of sun-seekers crowded its shores, leaving us to hope the Winchuck River would be our deliverance, and it was, staying our last night at the Ludlum campground, a woodsy place harboring a nice swimming hole and sandy beach.  An evening stroll deep along a road bordering the Winchuck tied a bow over our pleasant discovery, the river saving what would have been a disappointing day to an abbreviated journey.   

In order, our resting sites were Flat Camp on Hurdy Gurdy Creek, two nights at North Fork and a last night at Ludlum. For anyone seeking quiet in that part of California, take Rowdy Creek Road off of Highway 101 and continue onto Forest Road 305, taking you up and over the big mountain and down once again to the Smith River and the North Fork.  We had a great campsite, a bit of wild paradise.  A deer, we believe, made an nocturnal visit, leaping near a tent, and in the morning, complaining Stellar's Jays (cyanocilla stelleri) hid their bright blue feathers amongst the evergreens.    

Who the Hell is in Control of Seattle's Taxis? 

This morning I emailed again those long suffering fellows at Seattle and King County Licensing, recounting once more additional tales of woe from my last weekend worked, telling how angry Martin was, having been kept waiting one hour just wanting to get home; and Sherry, frantic with worry, a nursing facility employee already an hour late for work.  Of course none of this is reasonable but it keeps happening day into night to erstwhile taxi customers calling and wanting to get somewhere but their cab either arriving late or not at all.  

And it just isn't Yellow vexing the passenger population, Farwest Taxi too less than adequate, informing a couple returning late from the University Hospital Medical Center after cancer treatment that, "no, there is no one available to take your Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Voucher," and "anyway, our dispatch is closed."  So much for being a 24 hour cab company, Farwest no longer fully operational but who knew, who was told?  But of course, no one telling anybody anything, clearly not telling the City and County, all of them peacefully asleep at that regulatory hour, asleep at the taxi wheel.

So the question is posed, who if anyone, is in charge of what is occurring at the area taxi associations?  The two prime remaining associations, Yellow and Farwest, remain deficient, providing a sometimes theoretical taxi service, leaving passengers to guess what is happening and why, why is the cab I ordered not showing up?  

But what about all those nice people working at the City and County, those responsible for licensing the drivers and cabs; are they solely responsible for both the good and bad service, and if the situation remains bad, are they going reorganize and restructure the associations?   Though perhaps a good idea, and something that could reshape the quality of the service for the better, it is very unlikely that will happen.  For one, does the City and County have the authority to take over, and two, do they have the will and momentum to take such a task on, finally telling the associations, "enough of your malfeasance, you gotta get it together, you gotta get it together now!?"

As is said, "god if I know" but something must change, one would think, especially after I have given everyone example after sad example of how the passenger public cannot reliably depend upon what currently is a large question mark minus ready answers.   In approximately eight days I will be back in the cab, and what will I find, will everything be changed, everything now "fine and dandy?"  Should I laugh, or cry?  Either way, perhaps I will know the reason why I can't wait to bid taxi a final saltatory goodbye. 

Banned in Boston: First Circuit Federal Court of Appeals Kicks Boston Taxi Butts

“We are faced with the narrow question of whether Uber's entrance and conduct in the transportation market during a period of regulatory uncertainty violated the statutory and common law governing the commercial marketplace,” Judge Gary Katzmann said. “We conclude that it did not.”

“There has been vigorous argument whether the new world created by TNCs has been good for the transportation industry as a whole or for the larger public; dispute regarding the impact of TNCs on road congestion and public transit usage; questions whether TNCs are being regulated appropriately in the best interests of public safety; and debate whether the legislature acted sufficiently, or should have acted, to protect the interests of taxicab owners who were affected by the TNCs,” said Katzmann. “These are no doubt important issues of public policy. “

These two quotes are from a Courthouse News Service article dated August 6th, 2021 written by Emilee Larkin, where it is reported that an appeal of a lawsuit filed by 30 Boston cab companies against Uber was rejected by the 1st Circuit Court, essentially saying that Uber's illegal operations from 2013 to 2016 within the City of Boston were valid, even though Uber was not licensed to operate in Boston.  Huh? is my response to this ruling, the court  seemingly sanctioning illegal activity.  

Further insult could be construed from Judge Katzmann's second set of remarks, comments both oddly dismissive yet strangely supportive for the taxi companies' position, the good judge perhaps displaying his judicial equanimity, telling us that while flushing Boston's taxicab industry down the regulatory toilet is okay, and if you don't like it for the many sundry reasons I have stated, well, you (government lawmakers) can do something about it yourself, because me and my fellow justices, we ain't doing nothing one way or the other.   And yes, thank you, its been my pleasure serving you.

Katzmann was joined in this three panel decision by Judges O. Rogeriee Thompson and Jeffery Howard.  For all you bleeding heart liberals out there, Thompson and Katzmann were appointed to the bench by President Obama. Howard is a George (screw the Afghanis) Bush appointee. 



  1. And Yellow is contributing to that incompetence and lack of availability by capping their active dispatch-connected drivers. For what reason?! They have the chance to win back a ton more drivers from Orange, Stita, and Farwest now that they're not fully functional or functioning at all.

    Covid really will be what kills taxi for good.

  2. With Uber & Lyft drivers doing tons of school run rides (for half the pay) & paratransit medi-vans doing more and more Hopelink trips, soon there won't be anything left for taxi to depend on to survive besides the Airport, a few taxi script customers, & the hotel stands and cruises during summer.

    Not a rosy looking future.