Sunday, December 25, 2022

City Of Seattle Bus Lane Cameras---Officially Sanctioned Entrapment? & New York City Cabbies Paid $10.00 A Pop To Jump JFK International Fare Lines

Watch Out for Those Bus Lane Cameras!

On January 17th, I am scheduled in Seattle Municipal Court for not one, not two, not three but four camera generated bus lane violations, having all of a sudden become a serial lawbreaker.  How could that be, someone ever vigilant concerning school-zone and red light intersection cameras, somehow deciding it is now okay to blatantly violate rules governing bus lane restrictions enforced by the City of Seattle?   

If it were only that simple, having suddenly lost my mind, and in a holiday mood, gifting the City $75.00 times four.  Though the truth is more prosaic, the signage in all four cases not obvious, with one sign shrouded in darkness.  The question then is, is this all intentional on the City of Seattle's part, proactively making it difficult to see and understand what is posted; in other words, is Seattle engaged in a kind of entrapment?   

Of course on January 17th, the good City of Seattle lawyers will say otherwise but I will ask them why do the Red-light cameras feature bright colors when, in comparison, these new bus lane and lane blocking cameras signs are painted in mundane, nondescript black and white, mimicking ordinary non-punitive street signs.  And some of the bus lane warning signs face in only one direction, meaning you can change lanes and unknowingly, be in violation.   Again, is all this deliberate or instead another bad example of uncaring, sloppy bureaucracy?   I will be asking for reason and commonsense.  Will I receive it?   I will let you know how this fighting City Hall goes, this tilting at windmills. 

I have even thought of recruiting that stalwart, beaming light of taxicab justice, the illustrious taxi lawyer, Doug Silva but since there are no moving violations involved, he might not be interested in what is in reality complete nonsense.  Of the many folks I have met during my taxi years, Doug will always be a big favorite, indeed a friend to the "downtrodden and beaten into the ground" cabbie.  While missing my interactions with Doug, I don't miss getting the once commonplace moving violation ticket, those red flashing lights shining in your rearview mirror.  No fun at all.  

Taxi Dispatch Line Is Latest Target for Hackers, U.S. Says

This is the title of a NY Times Thursday, December 22, 2022 article reported by Benjamin Weiser and Nate Schweber concerning shenanigans occurring on the taxi line at New York's John F. Kennedy airport. The article's first two paragraphs pretty much sums up what happened:

"Russian hackers have carried out cyberattacks on hospitals, oil and gas companies, a presidential election and a massive fuel pipeline.  But cyberwarfare reached a new battlefield on Tuesday when the authorities said that two Queens men working with Russians had been able to hack the electronic taxi dispatch system at Kennedy International Airport."

"The goal?"  To allow taxi drivers in a holding lot waiting to pick up their next fare to jump the line---for a $10.00 fee."

I find the story amusing because usually hackers are going after bigger fish than desperate cabbies trying to nab a $52.00 flat rate fare heading back down to Manhattan.  The two bad guys orchestrating this scheme have been indicted, a Mister Daniel  Abayev and his friend, Peter Leyman.  It seems this hack has been occurring since sometime 2019.  You think someone might have noticed, or objected that some cabbies were getting to the head of the line before everyone else.  There is no mention of any of the thieving cabbies being punished.  Obviously the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey should give those drivers a lifetime ban.  Doing that would send a strong message.   Would the usual stubborn cabbie take heed and start behaving?  Probably not.    

Good Chow Now Available for the Hungry Seattle Cabbie---Drive-in/Dine-in/Call for pickup

Two Seattle outlets of "Aliberto's Jr Real Fresh Mexican Food" have recently opened.  Big burritos for $7.79 including tax.  Delicious and filling.  Plus many other items on the menu.  Open early and late.  go online and check out their menu. 

2425 4th Ave South---206-588-0101      

14300 Aurora Ave North---206-466-5626

The food is really good.  And most importantly, digestible, meaning they are using good ingredients.  This is high quality fast food.  McDonald's etc makes me sick but not Aliberto's.   Don't be a clown.  Chow down! 

Thank You, Puget Sound Dispatch, for the Holiday Feast

This past Wednesday, Yellow Cab (PSD) put on an incredible spread of Ethiopian cooking for all of us drivers.   The food was amazing, reminding I need to start going out to more Ethiopian restaurants.  I love the injera bread, sopping up all those delicious spicy concoctions.  Happy Holidays, everyone.

Another Example of Why Driving Taxi Makes Little Sense

Unusually cold icy wintery weather kept me off the roads until rain washed all the trouble away late Friday night into Saturday morning.  What I am now facing is having to make  a full week's money in three days.  And what became obvious is that this December 24th Christmas Eve day was an up and down day.  As I have noted previously, each week I have a $195.00 dispatch fee "nut" to crack.  Given I ended the day with two airports runs, I covered the dispatch fee but did I truly make any profit despite working over 12 hours?  Hardly and that is the problem currently driving a cab in Seattle.  Too many hours are expended merely covering your overhead, and to my mind, that ain't cool and not something I want to continue.  Screw this pouring all my labor down the taxi drain.  What a bloody waste!

PS on Comment 12/27/22:

Thanks for the funny comment, pointing out I misspelled bread, instead making it a beard, something less than eatable.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Local Lyft Driver Gets 27 Days Of Sick Leave Times $300.00. What Do Seattle Cabbies Get? A Kick In The Buttock!

 Do the Math: That's $8,100 Dollars!

Due to the Seattle City Council's generous negotiated benefits for Seattle Lyft and Uber drivers, a former cabbie I know had accrued 27 sick leave days, and taking them all at once, received a very nice paid vacation.   All I can say is good for him, getting the kind of benefits one might expect from normal employment.  We of course who drive and own taxis in Seattle and King County do not enjoy such perks, instead receiving as I am wont to say, a firm kick in the buttock.  With high dispatch fees and annual insurance averaging $5000.00 dollars, we pay all this money for what reason, I ask, for what good reason?  And on top of that is the 3% service processing fee Puget Sound Dispatch (Seattle Yellow Cab) takes from each credit card transaction, with 5% processing accounts.   

Calling it a "Fool's Paradise" is being kind.  Instead it is "Hades Beneath the Toplight" and there is no escaping that hellish reality.  While the new upcoming City of Seattle/King County policy changes that appear to be coming in early 2023  might help a bit, they will not alleviate the cost and benefit disparities between taxi and TNC (Uber & Lyft).  Clearly we are Yellow dinosaurs heading for extinction, and any and all roaring at the sky will not prevent our demise, the TNC asteroid striking the taxi planet, destroying all known life. 

On Sunday night a friend tried to get a Yellow Cab, and after twice being told that his cab was on its way, having waited 30 minutes in the cold and rain, requested an Uber instead.  His driver arrived within five minutes.  All I have just described is today's taxi reality in Seattle, Washington, United States of America.  It is not funny.  I am not laughing.  I am totally stupid remaining in such a dysfunctional work environment.  I will not stay here.  I will be leaving.

Monday, December 12, 2022

A Birthday Greeting From Someone Who Knows All About Taxi & She Is Flying Home To Die

The Lucky? Birthday Boy

Next Sunday, December 18th, is my 69th birthday, and scary to think I was 34 when first stepping in a cab back in September 1987.  I think the only thing that's kept me alive this long is that for the majority of all these years I have worked part-time, beginning with weekends only during those early years.  I mention all this due to "she-who-can't-be-named" annual homemade birthday card, something I truly look forward to, this year telling her she missed her calling, Hallmark Cards a suitable home for her skills in addressing crazy taxi one more time.   She rode along with me way back in 1989.  She knows taxi almost as well as I do, and hates it even more.  A faithful companion she is, and certainly wiser than I, who can only be termed a very dumb guy.  The birthday text in all of its glory:


                                                              Isn't that just fine

                                                              While the jury's out

                                                              he doesn't pout

                                                              but does he fume

                                                              and fly about on his taxi


                                                              Lucky he's a cat

                                                              and a lucky cat at that

                                                              or else we'd be telling

                                                              TALL tales of that 

                                                              taxi-poet Brat

                                                              It's time to let up

                                                             on that metal pedal

                                                             You have earned 

                                                                   a lifetime medal


The "jury's out" comment refers to my newest book and the hopes we have for its success.  And yes, if taxi medals were issued, I kinda deserve one, at least a cabbie version of the Purple Heart.  Greytop Taxi almost killed me back in November 1995.  My bent nose will never be the same.

Incurable Cancer

Last night late I picked up a woman heading back to Alaska to die, somehow her experimental lung cancer treatment cancelled, and refusing chemo therapy, has decided to give up and die back home with her children surrounding her.   A retired medical professional, she was very matter-of-fact concerning her situation.  Having been failed by her doctors here in Seattle, and the lung cancer "kicking her ass," she has had enough of months of nonsense, preparing herself for the inevitable.  She coughed repeatedly in the back of the cab. 

Finding her with more luggage than my cab could really hold, I nonetheless packed it "to the gills" and off we went to Sea-Tac.  Once there I interceded with various Alaska Airline employees, assuring she got the kind of customer care needed to make her journey a successful one.  For the uninitiated, this is what driving cab is all about, responding properly to the situation handed you.  Life is at times no joke, having to do what is necessary minus argument.  We hugged as I left the terminal, life and death the full circle we all know.  Best of everything!


Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Notice Of King County Fee Changes---County Licensing Fees & A Passenger Scares Me & Delivering A Cake For Hershel Walker

Part 2 of the New King County Notices

I will make this fast, just listing the proposed fee changes instead of providing the complete King County text.  Some of these fee changes have already been implemented.   

King County Licensing Fees

Annual medallion fee reduced from $200.00 to $100.00.  Change of vehicle medallion owner fees(1/2 year) from $200.00 to $100.  

Reducing association and company annual fees to: 

1-16 cars---$65.00       16-25 cars---$125.00        26 or more cars---$250.00

Reduce for-hire driver's annual license fee to $24.00.

City of Seattle Licensing Fees

Reduce annual medallion fee to $300.00.    Late fee to $30.00

Change of vehicle medallion owner, full year fee reduced to $450.00 total

Reduce taxicab association fee from $1000.00 to $100.00 and reduce for-hire license fee from $50.00 to $25.00

Fee Changes WAT Vans (Wheelchair Accessible Services (WAS) Surcharge

Reduce WAS surcharges from $125.00 to $29.00 per years for Duel plated vehicles

Reduce WAS for County Only taxi medallions and for all for-hire vehicles from $85.00 to $17.00 per year

Temporary Suspension of Vehicle Age Limits

Not enforced through June 30th, 2024

Public Rule-Taximeters:

Guidance for test and approving taximeters, including smart meters, and authorizes taxis to vary fares from those established in SMC 6.310.530 and KCC 6.64.760 when using the application dispatch system (ADS) function of a smart taximeter system. 

Public Rule-Application Dispatch Systems

Updated requirements for using an application dispatch system (ADS) and recognition of the ADS function within a smart meter system.

Public Rule-Temporary Changes to Insurance Requirements

Temporary changes to insurance requirements with the goal of increasing cost-effective insurance options for taxicab and flat-rate/for-hire vehicle owners.  

Ask questions and provide feedback at 


Last three Public Rule changes are very important.  Big changes!

She Scared Me

Yes a passenger scared me, not because she was dangerous or a threat but while seemingly normal she was instead very mentally ill, mild yet silently very vocal.  And this made me scared for her, understanding a hard journey lay ahead, and all I could do was drop her off at her hotel.  So very much like taxi as I know it.

Cake for the Democrats

A frequent customer of mine decided, since she was not feeling well, to have me deliver her big, fancy cake to the Democrat Party get-together going on in Ballard.  Having paid me upfront, I approached the packed house, knocking on the door and said "Herschel Walker can't make it tonight, sending this cake instead." closing the door as the room burst into laughter.   Who says we cabbies don't have a sense of humor!?   As you might now know, Walker also failed to make it to the Senate, two strikes against the running back.   Now he can move back to Texas.