Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Ringing In The Taxi New Year---2022 Summary & No More Hopelink For Me & A Hard Choice: Auburn Or Blaine

More Business on New Year's Eve

Was it a hopeful sign that business was better for the cabs on the 31st, suggesting better days ahead?   I would like to say yes but the true answer is no, our outlook is dismal despite upcoming policy changes from the City of Seattle and King County.   I see us, at least in Seattle, as an industry running in circles, round and round we go heading nowhere fast.  The reason for this is that Uber and Lyft won the transportation argument years ago, out maneuvering a moribund American taxi industry.  First we were undersold while overwhelmed by greater number of TNC operators.  Then after reducing our actual fleet numbers, it forced many to leave the business, or worse, they themselves turning to Uber, TNC's efficiency pushing us further into a bad corner.  And while all this has been occurring, our overall costs have been getting higher, not lower.  

All this is a bad combination, meaning much longer wait periods for those who call taxis and an in general lassitude overtaking all of us fighting to stop taxicab's decline into oblivion.  While I am stubborn, as the saying goes, the "writing is on the wall" and crumbling bricks are bonking, falling upon our poor heads.   Is it knocking any sense into us?  No, of course not.

Hopelink is now Hopeless

Once my favorite account, providing me with the longest trips/rides during my many years beneath the toplight, I had myself taken off the account, no longer interested in putting up with 30-35 percent "no-shows" and declining rates, all combining to take money out of my pocket.  It is all part of the decline I was just speaking to.  Taxi is only fun when you are making "real" money.  Take that incentive away and the motivation to drive a cab disappears.  It is that simple.

$90.00 vs $335.00

While saying taxi is all about making money, customer service is certainly connected to that, as illustrated by what happened to me on Friday night after belled in to the Greyhound for Charlie going to Auburn.  Charlie, a guy nearly 80 years old, had been on a bus two days coming in from Bakersfield, California and needed a ride home.  I got his big bag in the trunk, and while backing out, a guy walks up and says he is going to Blaine, Washington, on the Canadian border.  Many would have booted good, old Charlie out of the cab and taken this guy named Alex for the big money.  Instead I called a friend and gave him the fare.  I did what I had to do, and my friend owes me a burrito, calling it a small service charge.  He can now afford the $7.71, tax included.  

Happy New Year!


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