Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Puget Sound Dispatch Rate Increase & Shenanigans At Pier 69 Victoria Clipper & New MV (Metro Access) Contract & Is Auto Driving Really Safe? & Fiasco At P-91 & Is Everyone Going To The Tulalip Casino?

Beginning July 3rd,2022,  Puget Sound Dispatch Fee Increases By $15.00, 

Yes, the first rate increase in 21 years is coming to PSD (Seattle Yellow Taxi) on Monday, July 3rd, 2022, marking an 8.33 percent increase, going from $180.00 to $195.00.  The reason for this is, as PSD costs have risen, revenue from owner operators have decreased due to a lower number of working cabs.  Back in 2014, when Yellow was the BYG Co-op, there were nearly Yellow 550 cabs plying the streets, bringing in big revenue numbers for the co-op.  Of course, those halcyon days are now long gone, along with all those lease drivers providing day and night shift coverage, with now maybe 240 Yellow cabs currently working, all this translating into less money to cover PSD's operational and employee costs.  Seattle's office and local dispatching has been greatly reduced, and as we all know, the 24/7 dispatch/callcenter is now nearly 8000 miles away in the Philippines.  Nothing good but that is the current reality.

All these changes have been dictated by reduced revenue.  If we were back to 500 or more cabs, many of the issues we are seeing would not be occurring but the reality is that many owners have decided to either drive for Uber or do something else entirely.  And is the City/County doing anything to ensure that medallion owners are back on the streets, using their medallions for what they were issued for?  No. 

But let me remind everyone that the history of all this goes back to 2014 when the City of Seattle and King County decided that Uber and Lyft could have as many operators as they wanted, thus flooding the transportation market with a then much cheaper competitor.  While the PSD Board of Directors, Lema, David Friend and company are no saints, the blame for taxi's current state of affairs falls directly upon political players like Sally Clark, Ed Murray, Dow Constantine, Sally Bagshaw, Bruce Harrell and the many others who embraced Uber's unfettered entry into our marketplace.  They are the ones responsible for this dispatch fee increase.  And do they care?  Of course they don't!  

Did they care back in 2014 when they nearly killed the local cab industry?  Of course not!  And that, my fellow suffers beneath the top-light, is just the way it is.  Cry and moan but our industry is bare to the bone.  And we, without support, are all alone.

Trouble Brewing at Pier 69

Minor criminality is overtaking the transportation services operating on Port of Seattle property that serves as the Victoria Clipper's port of entry.  Over the past couple of weeks, unscrupulous cabbies and TNC (Uber/Lyft) drivers are both refusing "short trips" and soliciting long ones, disrupting what should be a simple process of picking up passengers disembarking from the Clipper.  Telling them to stop, as I have, has done nothing to impede their behavior.  Why listen to me, is their response, knowing I can't arrest them.  I have notified the City and County, requesting their intervention while also informing the Port of Seattle about this egregious behavior but so far, no enforcement has occurred.   As I told the regulators, the biggest issue is the non-insurance coverage when a TNC driver picks up off the street minus the Uber or Lyft app.  This kind of behavior is endangering the innocent.  Will the City or the County or the Port intervene?  I have no idea but given past experience, it is doubtful.

New MV Contract Approved by Drivers

Drivers working the MV account will now get $3.15 per mile, a $3.00 drop, a $15.00 surcharge for West Seattle trips, wait time, and mileage adjustment when necessary.  And if you work three straight months serving the account, you will get a $500.00 bonus.  All this is wonderful news!   Thanks, PSD, for making this happen.

Safety of Tesla Autopilot Questioned

The Federal Government is authorizing more thorough investigation whether Tesla's self-driving system is truly safe.   Nine people have died while using Tesla's automated system, resulting in deeper scrutiny of claims that it is perfectly safe.  Like the potential self-driving taxis in San Francisco, companies like General Motors and Tesla seem to be putting profits before customer and public safety.  Some people want to believe that technology is better than the human brain.  I for one disagree.  What creates technology?  Why, the human brain of course.

PS---A Washington post article published in today's online edition, June 15th, states that Tesla's Autopilot in the past year has been involved in 273 crashes.  Not good. 

The Holland America Line Took Their Luggage

The couple from Arizona's dream cruise to Alaska sank into the Puget Sound when Holland America's own airport shuttle got them late to the ship, with staff refusing to accept their COVID-19 tests, telling them to go away while their luggage sailed up north without them.  There they were, stuck on the pier, no change of clothes, nothing but a stern "F_ _k You!" from the cruise line staff.  The wife was in tears.  Who can blame her?  They did nothing wrong but still, there they were, abandoned on the pier.

Is Gambling This Popular?

Three weeks in a row, I have taken passengers up to Marysville and the Tulalip Tribe casino.  It is a one hundred dollar plus ride.  I'm glad to take them but is it really worth the time and money?  To these folks it must be.  All I can say is, good luck!

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