The Governor Has Yet to Sign HB 2076
Last week a regular reader and owner of a cab company operating north of Seattle sent me an email, gently saying I left some information out, or that some of what I wrote was a bit misleading. She told me to read the bill and I more or less just did. As I wrote back to her, my time is precious, and given that I haven't received a salary for my ten-plus years writing this taxi missive for the world to read and ponder, sometimes I just "cut corners" and limit my research upon a given topic. What I wrote last week was essentially a quick overview, taken from various news outlets, and today's continuation isn't much better but does contain a few more details thanks to the just mentioned kind and interested reader. What is intriguing is that HB 2076 reached Jay Inslee's desk March 10th. And here it is, March 22nd, and it remains unsigned. Why I don't know but you could call Jay and ask him, Mister Inslee, I know, viewing himself as a "governor of the people," and surely he will take the time from his busy day to talk to a fellow citizen.
An important part of this Uber/Lyft backed bill is about paying the drivers more. In urban areas of over 600,000 population (that means only Seattle), the new driver pay rate would be 59 cents per passenger minute plus $1.38 per passenger mile; or a minimum of $5.17. Everywhere else the driver gets 34 cents plus $1.17 or a big fat $3.00 minimum. No wonder Uber and Lyft loves this bill. We "ever so lucky" Seattle/King County cabbies get a $2.60 drop, $2.70 per mile and 50 cents wait time. We can also charge 50 cents for every extra passenger over two but I never add that on, thinking it is stupid and insults the passengers. In Europe they will charge you for your luggage, something again too stupid and insulting. The Uber/Lyft rate increases each year when state minimum rates go up but since it is only pennies, who truly cares?
And speaking of pennies, Uber and Lyft will contribute 15 cents per passenger ride to the new Driver Resource Center. This is a cheap reward because HB 2076 codifies TNC driver status as independent contractors and not employees. Leonard Smith, he of Teamsters 117 and a supporter of the bill, should bow his head in shame. The bill also creates the establishment of new State of Washington regulations for the drivers, meaning a further bureaucratic yoke will be added to the driver's shoulders. How fun that will be! But they will now have the right to fight deactivations and protects them from company retaliation. That's right, Uber and Lyft now LOVES their drivers. Ha Ha is my response.
As I wrote last week, there will be other kinds of compensation available but what if Inslee doesn't sign HB 2076 into law, then what will happen? My prediction is a declaration of war by Uber and Lyft, suddenly no longer nice, their response COLD as ICE.
Sitting in Your Room is the Wrong Way to Make Money
I called him after I heard he had been attacked but no, not in the taxi but while standing in line at a 7-11 store, some crazed individual striking him in the back and neck. And while talking about business, and this guy is experienced, having more years out here than me, I was surprised to hear he was out of his cab, sitting in a chair, taxi tablet in hand (our MTI dispatch system), waiting for a bell or his telephone to ring.
Yes, he is tired, and working seven days a week will do that but not stalking your taxi prey in your cab translates only into someone else bagging the trophy bell. A better method I have found is working long hours three or four straight days, then stopping for another three or four days, taking it easy, having fun or simply catching up on sleep.
Taxi is brutal, so grabbing taxi by the collar and shaking it hard is the best way to bring in the big money. Only by being relentless do you score, like the basketball player driving to the basket despite a seven-foot tall obstacle blocking the key. "Hell!" you say, "I'm gonna score!" and score you will while never forgetting that elbow to your forehead. That's basketball, that's taxi! But you aren't going do much scoring sitting in your easy chair in a heated room. It just doesn't happen that way. As a certified taxi referee, all I can do is blow my whistle, and yell, "Intentional foul! Off to the bench you go!"
Don't Go Food Shopping After 6:00 PM
Warning to all Yellow Cab customers who use the cabs for grocery shopping: Do not expect a timely cab in the evening when you have completed your shopping at Safeway, QFC, Fred Meyers. You will not be getting your cab anytime soon. One hour to three hour waits have become commonplace. When I am working, I have now taken to purposely accepting the grocery runs due to drivers either avoiding them or dumping the calls altogether, having tried of discovering long-suffering older customers waiting out in the rain. Again, do your shopping in the morning or afternoon. Even then you will have to wait longer than you should but eventually you will get picked up and taken home, your ice cream not melting or your milk souring. This is reality. This is how it is.
A Taxi Bum?
This past week I was in a local Safeway walking around when a woman walked up to me and asked if I needed help buying groceries, somehow judging that, by my clothing, I was destitute. No, I smiled, and in fact I donate monthly out of my back account to a national food bank, Food Lifeline, and she does too. Yes, a kindred spirit attempting to save the world one taxi bum at a time. The hole in my left pants pocket attracted her attention. I laughed and told her why the torn material and I think she actually believed me. I wouldn't lie.
More Masks Than Ever
While all the the mask mandates are ending, 1,200 Americans die per day from the coronavirus, which is why I still make my passengers wear them. One regular customer, Mike, said no, and out the door he went. And the last time he was in my cab the fare was $95.00. A new sub-variant is now in the air. And you might not but I certainly do care. Mask up and shut up!
More Taxi Doggerel
Swallowed alive by taxi
is my life, and yes
too true, too true, though
something sadly not
surprising or new,
only eating, sleeping, driving
cab, this most
worst experiment possible
in life's teeming lab-
the same grim sad-sack
finding myself consigned to the
my movements stifled,
immersed in yellowish,
taking me nowhere but
to the final cold
death my final bridesmaid,
to bleak eternity
I am wed.
Late night haiku, Bitter Lake
the geese talk through my
window, floating on the lake
bidding me goodnight.
The crown Vic would make a good bomb shelter, maybe turn the old feller into one!ReplyDelete
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