Wednesday, November 10, 2021

City Of Seattle And King County In Taxi Slumberland & More Uber Financial Quarterly Losses & Reality Of NYC Taxi Post-Hunger Strike

Wake Up, Little Susie! (and apologies to Phil and Don)

I have to admit that it has taken this "bear of little brain" too long to fully understand why all those folks from Seattle and King County Taxi Licensing haven't heeded my laments concerning the never ending, poor taxi service offered to our long suffering customers.  The reason being?  They are asleep, and like Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle, have been for a very long time, decades it seems, soundly asleep at the regulatory wheel.  Even when seemingly awake, as when in the 1970s they deregulated the local industry, they were instead "asleep upon their feet," sleepwalking through the taxi day, and to put it into rhyme, boy, did they make the passengers pay!  

Maybe currently it might seem to all those now occupying the regulatory offices "that it is all a bad dream," and once totally awake they will, upon rubbing their eyes, say none of this can really be true but as someone totally awake to the nightmare that is day-to-day taxi, I can vouch that this is indeed reality, and pulling the blankets over your head not the proper response to elderly ladies waiting 3 whole hours for their cab's arrival.  While "Little Nemo in Sumberland," that comic strip from America's first 20th Century decade, is entertaining, Little Nemo DID finally wake up, questioning his nighttime reality---it isn't at all helpful that the City of Seattle and King County remain curled in a sung ball, oblivious to the taxi reality blaring outside their office doors.  

So my request is simple: Guys, will you please wake up, get out of bed and do something about the daily chaos that is Seattle and King County taxi.  Brew some strong coffee and drink it down, alerting yourself to the awake responsibility you hold: to ensure that everyone who requests a cab in Seattle and King County gets one in a timely way.  That's it.  It is that basic. 

And if nothing changes, I know why.  You are asleep, and talking out loud not proving otherwise, shouts into the dark the least effective of communications, hollow verbal emanations trailing into the vacuous night. 

Uber Loses $2.4 Billion Dollars in most recent Quarterly Report

Uber has more excuses for why it continues to lose money than the average porcupine has quills, this time due to its investment in the Chinese version of Uber--Didi.  But never fear, Uber says, because it had a total quarterly revenue of $4.8 billion, a 72% increase from one year ago.  If not for the Didi financial hit, that $4.8 billion would have been Uber's first profitable quarter EVER.  An article in the London Sunday Times expressed how upset UK Uber riders have become, given ever longer waits and higher rates. The article said many have doubts that Uber will survive.  

But don't ask Uber anything like that.  They could be on verge of closing but they wouldn't tell you, instead saying everything is great and we will see you tomorrow when they won't.  A very questionable development is the talk of Uber dispatching NYC cabs.  Bad idea to join forces with the very enemy holding a knife to your jugular vein.  Unwise!

New York City Cab Owner Reality

Before you uncork the wine bottle and celebrate that the average NYC cabbie has won a huge victory from NYC government and its allied medallion financial companies, you have to have some understanding of the monthly expenses of running and owning a cab.  I know because I own one and know what it means to be under the pressure of weekly and monthly expenses that don't go away unless you quit the business or die.  

The recent settlement says that, for starters, the NYC cabbie will be paying $1,100 per month on his/her medallion mortgage.  If they drive everyday in a 30 day month, and drive a Prius, let's call it $30.00 per day for gasoline, making it $900. every month alone for the gas.  Insurance  costs varies but I will estimate $600.00 per month, adding up to $7,200 for the year.  As there are licensing fees, etc, I will throw in another $150.00 per month, which I think is lowballing it.  

Quickly adding it all up, the NYC cabbie must first make $2,750. before he/she starts to see a penny of profit in any given month.  Yes, I see the NYC cabbie making that in a hard working one week, or 1 1/2 weeks but that might be overly optimistic, meaning it might take the cabbie a full two weeks to earn that $2,750., and that's working more or less day and night, 12-16 hours week after week.  And what about the cost of living in NYC?  The rents, etc.  Lord, you don't have mercy!

Pretty horrible, you say?  Modern slavery, you say?  Ya got that right, Bub!, ya got it right!  Welcome to taxi-land, home to the woebegone and depressed, their reality my reality. 

No fun, I'm on the run!  And tired as hell!

Sorry to Report

Peter Steinbrueck, the taxi driver friendly candidate for Port of Seattle Commission, Position 4, lost.  Not by much but he lost.  The one thing that certainly needs to happen at Sea-Tac is a reduction in the per-trip fee the driver pays with each outgoing fare.  If I remember correctly, the gate fee is $7.00.  And if the cabbie waits two hours and only gets a $10.00 fare, it is a wasted two hours.  Something must change if fairness and wage equity is the goal.  The current system is pure punishment, plain and simple.  There is no other way to see it, the BIG Port of Seattle taking advantage of the small business operator. 

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