Thursday, February 24, 2022

Should Seattle Yellow's Independent Taxi Operators Boycott MV (Metro)? & The Most Dangerous Taxi Cab In The World & New York City's Cabbies Lose Their Medallions & Thank You Hubbly Bubbly & Best Activity In Mazatlan

Puget Sound Dispatch's Report on Meeting with MV (Metro's Access Ride Provider)

In the last PSD newsletter, they reported on a recent policy meeting they held with MV leadership , MV being the company/agency dispatching and managing all those Seattle/King County Metro Access vans transporting disabled and low-income passengers throughout the greater Seattle and King County area.  When an Access van is not available, MV contracts with Yellow (PSD) to instead provide a taxi ride as a quick and safe alternative.  Prior to this, a different agency, First Transit was the Access Service Paratransit Provider.  Why the switch/changeover occurred in 2019 I don't know but ever since then, our collective (PSD-Yellow Independent Operators) relationship with MV has been constrained, and worse, fraught with an at times poor communication and bureaucratic bungling.  PSD's telling of the meeting only confirming this. 

First, it is important to know that MV is a nationwide company, founded in 1975,  providing transportation services to over to 200 cities and counties, universities, school districts etc, which perhaps explains what I have encountered in my various past interactions with MV's call-center: a sometimes intransigent attitude colored by bewildering incompetence, the simple becoming an indecipherable puzzle gripping your mind and throat.  I suppose this happens when you get, as it is said, "too big for your britches," translating into "we don't really care because we don't have to," a kind of big government mindset lurching forward regardless of who they might be trampling or running over.   I personally have stopped serving the MV account after, minus any explanation as to why, MV insisted that all of us cabbies go through yet another unnecessary background check.  After too many unpleasant past interactions, I decided I was no longer interested being abused by MV.

The newsletter reported that MV has decided that we must collect the small pickup fee, usually $1.75 from the already impoverished customers, but if they don't pay, we have to send a message stating this.  Why MV cares one way or the other is a mystery.  When I was working the account, I made a point of refusing the money because, plain and simple, I  felt queasy about taking money from the dispossessed poor.  Kind of immoral was my feeling.  

MV also reiterated that all MV no-shows must go through their dispatchers for approval,  with no other alternatives available; and as I have hinted, MV dysfunction is rampant, and their demand is something I find utterly unacceptable.  As any cabbie knows, no-shows occur all the time, so why should any of us spend 15-30 minutes arguing with a damn fool while our valuable time is completely wasted, thrown away by MV's institutional inefficiency?  No good reason that I can think of.  Can you?  

Another issue has been the low per mile rate offered by MV.  Now they said in the meeting that it was all King County's fault, and eventually King County will change its computing software but in the meanwhile, all the cabbies have to "suck it up" and take the scraps thrown to them.  That's nice, sugar and spice, isn't it?  

As is clear to me, MV is as arrogant as it gets, and because PSD management allows itself to be manhandled and abused, I suggest an action that could get MV's quick attention.  I say that all of us participate in an informal boycott, either by not signing up for MV or by simply refusing MV bells, letting MV find another way to serve their passengers.  But guess what everyone, we are it and there is no one else who has the capacity to provide the level of service required.  In short, they need us more than we need them.  Since PSD management won't do the required pushing, we instead must push forward, demanding just and fair treatment.  

Do I really think my fellow independent operators will do this?  No, but it is the correct response when you have been  knocked upon the head and told "you can please go to hell." Though as I have pointed out numerous times in these pages over the past eleven years, my fellow cabbies are very skilled at creating their own very personal Hades---sitting there wondering what is burning, their hair ablaze, smoke filling their taxi's interior, irritating eyes and throat.  

 The Death Trap that is the Nissan Tsuru Taxicab---4100 Dead in Tsuru Cab Accidents

Yes, it's true, as I found out in the February 9th, 2022 article written by Dylan Taylor-Lehman in the online magazine, "Atlas Obscura," four thousand, one hundred Mexican taxi passengers have died between the years 2012-2017 while riding in a Tsuru taxicab.  The article focuses upon drivers in the Mexican city of Xalapa in the State of Veracruz.  Anyone who has taken a cab recently in Mexico, like I have, have been in the now infamous Nissan Tsuru, a version of the Nissan Sentra built in Aguascalientes, Mexico.  This model has received, if one can believe it, a zero-star safety rating from something called the Latin New. Car Assessment Program (LNCAP).  The Tsuru has no crumble zone protection or airbags or anti-lock brakes and stability control.  Production ended in 2017 but they have been allowed a ten-year grace period so you too can die in one until 2027.  And in Xalapa, due to misguided deregulation, there are 75,000 cabbies who are mostly driving Tsurus.  If planning a Mexico holiday, you might chose a different destination.

A Sad Postscript to the New York City Cab Medallion Story

As I wrote in late 2021, after a much publicized hunger strike, it was proclaimed that ALL the NYC cab driver medallion owners had won a great victory, by getting what they owed reduced to an affordable amount.  The problem was that the settlement was directed at only one medallion mortgage company, and not all the others who were holding medallion loans.  And what has been happening the past three months is the foreclosure upon nearly a hundred cabbies, their medallions ripped from their cabs.  Many of the cabbies expressed surprise which tells the entire story of how they were duped in the first place, the innocent victimized by the rapacious.  Sad story but too true but this is what occurs when people are not paying attention, or don't have the ability to, so what can you do, painting the planet blue? 

Dear Hubbly Bubbly 

Thanks much for your two comments stemming from last week's posting.  I appreciate and understand the emotion, the frustration expressed because driving taxi brutally attacks body mind and soul.  There is only one reason to do this, and that's for the money, and if the money isn't there, or you aren't making it, taxi suddenly is no longer benign or neutral but damaging, destructive, horrible.  

So yes, if it seems like I am denying that reality, your reality, or its potential, I can see why you might think me insensitive, or worse, gone over to the dark side, now traitorous and fraudulent.  Why I am at times obnoxious, dishonest or a cheat I am not.  For me to say I am this but in truth being that is something I have never done and would never do.  But if you agree that I am moral and and a good fellow, then why, you appear to question, is my taxi reality different from yours?  Perhaps a quick explanation will help.

Back in September 1987, I began driving weekends for a three-car independent company, Classic Cab, classic because the cars were the original Checker Marathon.  Great car and fun to drive.  There was no dispatch, which meant I had to figure out how to make money minus the assist of driving for a larger, more formally organized company.  Quickly, I became an astute hunter, using logic as to where my taxi prey could be grazing.  Back then, UW Husky football was in its Don James glory days, and it was there I first feasted and honed my skills.  Within a couple months, Ananda, a fellow Classic driver and 20 year taxi veteran, nicknamed me the "vacuum cleaner" for my ability to scoop up the fares.  Again, no dispatch, only an innate savvy directing me.  When later, switching over to Farwest, having a buffet of fares to pick and choose only sharpened my ability, along with building my knowledge of everything taxi.

Fast forwarding to today, I use all the skills obtained over these 34 plus years to negotiate my way through the current nonsense that is PSD's dispatching, which I completely agree is too often both dysfunctional and nonsensical.  As I was back in 1987, I remain the alert hunter, my taxi ears tuned to the sound of the urban forest, ready to pounce.  Much of my current success relies upon recognizing potentially good fares sitting upon the "prospect/bid" screen.  For example, that good fare I mentioned, a COVID-19 positive passenger originating in the University District (Zone 150) was one I successfully bid for.  Not a feed, just good, old taxicab intuition.   

And in that spirit, Mister Hubbly Bubbly, I say, contact me and we can talk about money making strategies and taxi in general.  And if you want, you can do a "drive-along" and observe what I do firsthand.  I have always been willing to share my "tricks of the trade," and from all reports, those who have taken up my offer, have quickly profited.  Email me at  We can make it happen.  

And to anyone else who might be interested, feel free to contact me.  Other than my usual time constraints and commitments, I will share with everyone what I know and help in whatever way possible.  If this isn't enough, then, as I have often done in the cab when a _______ passenger refuses to listen, I lift up my arms and say "I surrender.  I give up.  You win."

Boat Ride to Stone Island

In Mazatlan, there is something I highly recommend, and that is the short 8-9 minute boat ride taking you from the city to Stone Island.  The small boats, carrying about 20-30 passengers, leave about every 15 minutes.  It is a small pleasure, sliding through the sun-danced water.  The fare RT is only 35 pesos.  The "famous" Stone Island beach isn't that great but the boat ride is wonderful.  If in Mazatlan, take it and enjoy and wave to all those brown pelicans standing by. 

Quick PS---2/24/22 1:25 PM

By just doing this word quiz a few minutes ago, I found out the origin of the word "boycott."  It is taken from the name of a real person, Charles Cunningham Boycott, a British land owner in Ireland, who due to unfair rental practices, was targeted by Irish protests in the year 1880.  The protests were successful, thus giving us the term when protesting bad behavior.  


Wednesday, February 16, 2022

If The City/King County Follows My Advice, All This Dumping of Grocery Calls Will Immediately Cease & A Trucker's Lament Is The Cabbie's Lament & Seattle/King County Extends Taxi Vehicle Use Limits & Frank Conversation With A Drug Dealer/Addict & Answering The Question Asked By "Taxi Anonymous" & Let A Badger Wash Your Hair & Good Shop To Get Painted Yellow

 A Quick and Easy Plan to End The Throwing Away of Grocery Runs

I've had enough, I truly have, tired of coming upon passengers who have been waiting two-three hours at local grocery stores.  It's completely outrageous behavior, these cabbies "rolling their meters" and leaving the customer stranded in the cold and rain.  It's immoral but I have a plan, and if the City of Seattle and King County agrees and takes action, all this bad behavior will very suddenly disappear.  

First, the City and County begins requiring Puget Sound Dispatch (Seattle Yellow Cab) to report EVERY dumped fare to them, reporting the name of the driver, his/her for-hire license number and incident time and place.  Within days, the offending driver would then be required to contact the City/ County and explain their actions to City/County regulators.  The first meeting would serve as a severe warning.  Any second offense and the driver would permanently lose their Seattle/KC for-hire license, thus preventing them from both driving a taxi and Uber/Lyft (TNC) services, this action essentially providing a death sentence to their driving career.  Maybe a review could be implemented after one year but maybe not because there isn't, and never will be, any good excuse for this kind of hard-hearted behavior. 

I know that this kind of response is the only way to stop these crazy drivers from engaging in such egregious and irresponsible behavior, to finally hold them accountable for their actions.  To the shock of no one, many, and I mean TOO! many of my fellow cabbies are complete and utter ASSHOLES, not caring a damn about their passengers.  They only have one interest and that's "money, money, money!" and unless there is an immediate intervention, this bullshit will continue unabated.  That is the sorry truth and reality of what is happening.  And if the City and County doesn't stop  this crap from occurring, they too will be seen as culpable, bearing total responsibility for the actions of all these complete fools operating beneath the top-light.  Call a cab and it never arrives?  Totally unacceptable.

Can I make this any clearer?  I don't think so.

Not the Healthiest of lifestyles, Driving a Truck or Cab

In last Thursday's New York Times February 10th, 2022 edition, in the Business Section, an American truck driver, Stephen Graves, was featured in an article written by Peter S. Goodman.  It is a well reported story, as Goodman follows Graves on his trucking route across the American landscape.  There is one quote about the trucking lifestyle that could have been spoken by me concerning taxi, which is why I am sharing it here, as driving too many stressful miles is something I don't recommend to anyone.

"The lifestyle probably is the first thing that smacks you in the face. You know what it does to you. You're thinking about it all the time. We're tired.  Our bodies are starting to go.  Our bladders have been put to the test.  And no exercise.  We end up with all types of heart and other ailments.  You can't truly fathom what it's done to you."

The article is filled with great photographs illustrating Grave's spoken reality.  Worth the time spent reading it.  And salute the next crazed trucker roaring by you on the freeway.

Good News for Those Cabbies Driving Older Cars

The City/County has extended the time period for cars dating from 2011, allowing them to stay on the road until the 2023 medallion renewal period.  That's good news for many of my cabbie friends driving vehicles manufactured in 2011.  Hopefully by that time, used car prices will have come down.  In the past year, used car prices have increased by 42%, which is kind of crazy, and here in Seattle, the prices are even higher than the national average. Not good if you car needs replacement.  

A Doper Spells it Out

Taking a guy downtown from a north-end hotel, I overheard his very candid telephone conversation with another dealer, which prompted an honest exchange about his drug addiction.  He said that six months ago he was shooting up heroin but now that he has switched to these pills he was selling, everything is better, needing only two a day to support his habit.  I asked him, wasn't it like a kind of "Russian Roulette," using these fentanyl-based tablets, and yes, he agreed it was.  But his feeling was, he didn't have any alternative, and he would keep using them.  One positive in his life was now having an apartment to live in, as until recently, he was on the streets.  The negative I suppose is that he keeps selling drugs despite now having a safe place to live. He tipped me three dollars.

Answering A Fellow Seattle Cab Driver's Question

In a comment, he questioned my "Business is great." remark in last week's blog, and yes, from my experience, it is.  Now it might be because there are not enough drivers out there but whatever the reason, I am doing well.  Last Friday I worked eight hours and averaged over $45.00 per hour.  And this past Sunday and Monday I kept working to 1:15 AM each day because the business kept going and going until I was no longer interested in killing myself further into the night. 

And it doesn't appear to matter what part of Seattle or King County I am in, getting a $70.00 airport run from the Northgate, a $90.00 Hopelink to Everett from the Medical, and Sunday, a $147.00 King County COVID-19 positive fare from the University District to the Kent quarantine center.   Yes, good fares from Lake City too.  Am I being fed?   Perhaps by the taxi gods because our CEBU-based dispatch is at times barely functional---under-staffed and under-trained---meaning they have enough problems on their hands to bother themselves with this disagreeable cabbie. I am surprised they even take my calls. 

Badger Shampoo Bar

W. S Badger is an organic-based company selling all kinds of skin and hair products, and on my last trip I took along their "concentrated conditioning shampoo" bar, which is exactly as it sounds, shampoo looking like a bar of soap.  It is long lasting and great for trips requiring air travel, not having to worry about liquid shampoo.  And it is biodegradable.  

Where to Get your Cab Painted

My next cab, a 2014 KIA Optima, was painted in Kent at Bratch Autobody and Repair.  They did a great job.  I certainly recommend them.  Their address is 22617 85th Place South, Kent, Washington.  Telephone number is 206-405-4095.  Email is   They were cheaper and quicker than Maaco.    


Saturday, February 5, 2022

Greetings Once Again From San Francisco International Airport: Desperation And Greed Are A Poor Cabbie Prescription & Earning Nine Dollars A Day Building General Motors Trucks & Two Journalists Killed In Tijuana

 Part of my Goal Writing these Weekly Snippets 

One of my primary goals writing this blog has been to share news and experiences you would not find elsewhere unless spending your livelong day scouring the internet and newspapers for all the news and information this world has to offer.  By concentrating upon taxi, and sometimes focusing on where I am or have recently been, in this instance Mexico, I hope to provide you with subjects hopefully capturing your attention and interest, and even better, sparking further exploration and investigation, and dare I suggest, personal enhancement.  I say this because my intent is purposeful, to expand and teach what I think should be known, understood and appreciated.  Yes, taxi is the subject but taxi also might be be considered the metaphor and simile, rhyme and rhythm embracing the heart and soul of our shared lives, taxi that bright top-light beckoning a journey through the sky to unknown heavens.  Or shall I say, something like that. 

Sitting, Eating and Writing from San Francisco

No problem with customs coming through, everything smooth, and while eating some good organic pizza at the airport, I will hopefully quickly finish this before I am off to Seattle, where a taxi buddy, YC 296 will be picking me up at Sea-Tac.  "She-who-can't-be-named" flew out ahead of me, first Houston, San Francisco, then Arcata.  We both had negative COVID-19 tests at the Mazatlan airport, allowing us to board our flights instead of remaining captive in Mexico.

Those Troublesome Polmonia Drivers

Wednesday was the last day we needed something other than foot transport but unfortunately we encountered four polmonias (open-air taxis) who were attempting to extract a "gringo surcharge" instead of treating us like ordinary customers, having to wave them away.  As there are over 3000 of these guys cruising the city, there will always be one who is willing to charge correctly, and of course I always tip.  While there are more tourists this time around from my previous visit, business still hasn't returned to previous levels, making it a bit stupid to pass up money in hand.  But I have encountered this kind of taxi ignorance around the world, and I doubt this kind of behavior will disappear any time soon.  Too many of my taxi brothers in Seattle are also idiots, overcharging and ripping off passengers.  What is their excuse?  Our business is great!

For Shame, General Motors

At the Mexican GM plant in the city of Silao, state of Guanajuato, where they make Chevy and GMC pickup trucks, the starting wage is $9.00 a day.  Yes, that's correct.  After ten years, they are earning $23.00 per day.  Average wage for American GM employees?  $23.00 per hour with many making $36.00 an hour.  Breaking news is that this plant just authorized a new union that will fight for higher wages.  They even have to fight for lavatory breaks.  Not cool.

Killing Journalists in Mexico

Three more were murdered.  Nine last year.  Given my big mouth, they would kill me too.  Again, not cool nor reasonable.  Here in America they only insult you.  Bad but not fatal.