Friday, April 26, 2024

New Flat Rates From Downtown And Pier 91 & Starkly Illustrating The Damage Done To The American Taxi Industry: 170,000 Daily Rides Provided By Uber And Lyft in San Francisco & GoFundMe For Dennis Roberts Burial & Farwest And Eastside Dispatch Merger On The Taxi Horizon & A Taxi-Oriented Dream & Some Folks Never Learn: TNC Drivers Cannot Take Cash Fares And Pretend They Are Insured

New Flat Rates from DT and Pier-91

Beginning May 1st, the flat rate from P-91 to Sea-Tac will be $55.00.

From Downtown, beginning June 1st, the flat rate to Sea-Tac will be $45.00. 

Taxi Brothers and Sisters, that is a lot of rides

I find this statistic astounding, that Uber and Lyft provides over 170 thousand rides daily in a city with a population of 808,000.  That translates into almost one-fifth of everyone living in San Francisco daily taking a ride-share trip to where ever they might be going.  From my personal experience driving taxi in similarly sized Seattle, we never came close to providing that many rides in a given day.  Even if the demand was there, our overall number of cabs would have never been able to keep up.  

Someone with a better mathematical mind than I have needs to tell me just how many TNC operators are needed to provide 170,000 rides.  I do know that by 2015, one year after Uber and Lyft were allowed to operate legally in Seattle and King County, there were over 28,000 TNC drivers vs our more or less 1500 City and County cabs.  In a 2016 CBS News report, it said there were 45,000 Uber drivers in San Francisco vs 1,800 local taxis.  Compounding that reality for both Seattle and San Francisco was Uber's then much lower rate structures, underselling the price of a ride. Of course, once they had essentially killed off taxi, Uber substantially raised its rates. 

As 170,000 rides figure illustrates, Uber and Lyft rules San Francisco's personal transportation industry.  While it was just reported that Waymo robotaxis provided 530,000 rides from September 2023-February 2024 in San Francisco, it is nothing in comparison to Uber and Lyft's numbers.  In a 31-day month, Uber and Lyft provides 5,270,000 rides.  That is a crazy number of trips.  Who can compete with that number of passenger-generated rides?  Certainly not the cabbies in San Francisco.  As I have said too many times, Uber won the transportation wars.  Taxi is roadkill, run over and smashed into the asphalt. 

New GoFundMe effort for the late Dennis Roberts

Many of you might remember that our famous taxi colleague, Dennis Roberts, succumbed to the COVID-19 virus in April 2020, an early victim to that terrible disease.  A first GoFundMe effort assisted in paying for his cremation.  Now, on this upcoming May 14th, I will be burying his ashes next to his mother at Woodlawn Cemetery in Columbia Falls, Montana.  I am taking care of my own expenses and would like some help with the $600.00 for burial and headstone.  Donate what you can. 

Or you can send a check to me: Joe Blondo, POB 20023, Seattle, WA 98102  

Is This Really Gonna Happen?

I have been assured that the much anticipated dispatch merger between Farwest Taxi and Eastside-for-Hire will be complete by the end of April.  More details when I know them.  You might remember, I once reported a possible merger between Farwest and Yellow.  It never happened. 

Still Dreaming about Taxi

Yesterday morning, I dreamt that a person minus any taxi experience, was going to take over Seattle taxi.  I grabbed him by one arm, my friend Chris taking the other, and we escorted him out of the door, roughing him up.  This being a dream, he kind of evaporated in our arms.  We took care of him! the a-hole! 

Some TNC Drivers Don't Know Much about Passenger Liability 

In late June, I am going to need a ride from Silver City, New Mexico to the local airport. It is located a number of miles outside of town in the middle of the countryside.  Advanced Air, the only airline serving Silver City/Grant County, gave me the telephone number of the only Uber/Lyft driver in the area.  Calling him, he said he also takes cash.  When I asked him if he had commercial insurance, he got mad.  I told him if an accident occurs, there would be no coverage.  He didn't like hearing any of this.  He is in denial.  But reality is reality, and in this case reality could bite this guy in the butt.  Same thing in Seattle.  Too many times I watched passengers at King Street Station and Pier 66 climb into ride-share cars minus the app.  When will the dumbbell drivers ever learn?

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Atlanta, Georgia Cabbies Don't Want To Be Like Uber & Cruise Ship Season Really Starts May 11th & Don't Miss Working The Rolling Stones Concert May 15th

 "We do not want to be Uber!"

150 Atlanta taxi drivers appeared at a recent Atlanta City Council meeting to protest proposed changes to their industry by Council-member Byron Amos, someone who has never driven a cab.  In a misguided effort to "level the playing field" with Uber and Lyft, Amos has proposed eliminating meters, top-lights and fleet color requirements, somehow thinking this would improve the financial lot of local cabbies.  "No, no!" they shouted, this is not anything we want, angrily complaining that they have never been consulted during what Amos described as "three years of negotiations."  Who exactly he was negotiating with, nobody knows.  Two sympathetic council members pulled their names off the bill, saying more examination was needed.  Amos said he will meet with the cabbies.  Let's hope he does.  

Anybody with a long history with the taxi industry knows too well that what was happening in Atlanta is an old, never ending story.  Just as in Seattle, non-industry folks are dictating working reality despite never having toiled beneath the toplight.  While Council-member Amos and others might be well meaning, they are clueless, destroying the industry while trying to save it.  If they truly want to assist the cabbies, they should begin by placing restrictions upon Uber and Lyft, beginning with limiting the number of operators allowed to work in the City of Atlanta.  

Now that would be something the cabbies would support.  Not only do they not want to be like Uber, they want Uber to get the hell out of Atlanta.  Not possible but that's what they want but something never ever to be agreed to.  Uber has the money.  What do the cabbies have?  Little to nothing save a loud voice.  Keep yelling!  I can hear you all the way up here in Seattle.  Shout away!

On May 11th, Pier 91 is where the action will be

That weekend, both Saturday and Sunday, two huge cruise ships will dock at Pier 91, four boats total with thousands of passengers.  P-66 too will have its big ship.  That is when the easy money begins flowing.  Wakeup early and get to the docks.  By 9:00 AM the passengers will be looking for cabs and TNCs.  Get those airport runs, with hundreds of airport trips to be had.  

The Rolling Stones will be Rocking the Seahawk Stadium on Wednesday, May 15th

That's right, maybe the biggest Rock concert of the year will happen that mid-week.  The money will be there.  Last time the Stones were in Seattle I had three $100.00 plus fares.  My last fare netted me $180.00.  Only time I ever had three $100.00 plus trips on a single day.  Go for it!  Get that money!


Saturday, April 13, 2024

MV (Metro Account) Found Underpaying Milage To Drivers & Helpful Info For TNC Drivers & Another "Taxi" Letter From The NY Times Metropolitan Diary & Australian Cabbies Win Big Settlement Against Uber & Still No Charges Filed Against The Taxi Murder Suspect & Don't Honk That Horn In NYC

MV Contract with King County Metro: Confusion or Dishonesty 

Before I go any further explaining problems King County and others are having with the transportation provider known as MV, here is a statement taken from their website, calling it their "MV Vision,"

"We will deliver the best customer experience with industry leading safety, reliability, and innovation." 

If this statement was completely true, there would be no problems but sometimes, words are merely that, words minus real action and intent.  MV has been found deficient recently in two areas: timely payment to KC Metro approved transportation vendors, and not paying drivers for total miles driven.  I have been told that King County officials were not happy upon finding these allegations to be totally true, demanding explanation.  MV, as the report goes, was contrite.  One vendor is requesting that MV utilize Google Map Miles when making milage estimations and determinations. 

Toward the end of my Seattle Yellow Cab driving, I had stopped serving the MV account, finding them arrogant and unresponsive.  That might be because MV is the largest privately-owned passenger transportation contracting firm in the entire USA.  They annually transport 110 million passengers in 30 states and Canada.  In 2022, they reported 1.3 billion dollars in annual revenue.  Has all this success inflated the corporate heads, like Seattle's local Boeing Aircraft Company?  I believe it has but given that MV is much smaller, and King County is the USA's largest county, they might be more accountable in the future.  A major reason all this became an issue was MV's unforgivable behavior, inexplicably not paying a small transportation provider for three connective months. It was irresponsible.  MV must do better. 

Uber and Lyft Drivers: Write down this information

A few days ago, I talked on the telephone to Gloria from the TNC Driver Union.  Yes, she said, there has been an uptick in bogus complaints directed toward black African drivers. The Union is trying to stop this behavior.  They are there to help you but many of the drivers have no clue how to contact them.  Here is what you need.  Write it down.

There is a TNC Driver Resolution Center. Go to the L&I webpage: Resource Center and Deactivations (      Call: 206-812-0829.   Website:

 Uber and Lyft are now both overly reactive when addressing what might be considered "offensive sexual" complaints, including asking a passenger out for a date.  Protect yourself.  I recommend that you have an audio recorder on when transporting any solo female passengers.  Put a sticker on the window stating that "all fares are recorded."  You must protect yourself.  As a cabbie I was accused of everything beneath the toplight short of murder.  Nasty passengers make stories up to attack you.  It is an never ending reality associated with transporting strangers.  Not only can it happen, it will happen.  

Another Positive Taxi Tale from the NY Times Metropolitan Diary, April 7th, 2024 Edition

"The Pearl Fishers"

Dear Diary,

I am 84 and been fortunate to spend decades devouring Manhattan's cultural scene.  I have slowed down a bit now because of my age and balance issues, and I keep my social and cultural events confined to daylight hours.

Not long ago, though, I was invited to an evening gathering that I just couldn't resist.  The later hour meant taking a cab home, something I mostly avoid.

As the cab pulled up, I noticed the driver was very scruffy, and my anxiety increased.  But I needed to get home, so I pushed my trepidation aside and got in.

Imagine my surprise when I was greeted by the sound of my favorite opera duet.

"Oh," I said with great astonishment, "The Pearl Fishers."

"You know your opera," the driver replied.  He began to sing along with the recording beautifully and continued until we got to my home.

When we arrived at my building, he waited until I was safely inside the front door.  It was the best cab ride I had ever had in more than 50 years of living in Manhattan.

Jan Keith


Nice story.  And one something very unusual about Jan's letter is that she is a very good writer.  Construction and vocabulary are excellent.  It is too bad that she never got the chance to ride in American composer Phillip Glass's cab when he was working the New York taxi streets back in the 1970s.  But her opera singing cabbie was a good substitute.  God knows he could have been a professional down-on-his-luck singer.  As I have always said about the American taxi industry, it is our version of the French Foreign Legion.  We have gotten everybody---human driftwood cast upon the taxi shores.

Aussie Cabbies Beat Bad Uber

It appears that the might of 8000 cabbies scared the hell out of Uber, opting to settle a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of those aggrieved drivers.  The settlement, which I believe is in Australian, not American dollars, is for $270.8 million dollars. In USA dollars, that's $176 million dollars.  Unfortunately, lawyers will be getting up to $35 million dollars for their law fees.  Investigation found that Uber had repeated in Australia what what they have done across the globe---illegally evading enforcement when invading a targeted market.  The settlement meant that Uber avoided having all their secrets exposed to the general public.  For Uber, it is merely the cost of doing business.  For all the cabbies who lost their livelihoods, it means redemption. 

What the Hell is the US Army Doing?

A recent email from my Tacoma Tribune contact, the reporter Craig Sailor who was assigned to the case involving the murder of a Olympia/Lacey cabbie by a AWOL soldier, said that the suspect Lee remains uncharged.  It has been nearly 3 months.  Why, why, why is this happening?  The US Army remains close mouthed about it, not telling Craig Sailor or anyone else what is going on.  Whatever you do, don't enlist in the US Army.  You will be in trouble in ways you never imagined, including getting killed in action.  Unless of course you are somehow promoted instantly to the rank of at least an one-star general.  Then you might have a good time, sitting on your military throne and stepping on the many poor souls beneath you.

Honking Big Fines in the Big Apple

I have been well aware that the City of Seattle can ticket you for honking your car horn but didn't know that NYC has had anti-honking laws on the books since the 1930s.  Violate the "NY City Noice Code" and you can be fined from $800.00-$2,500 dollars.  Now that isn't the kind of ticket anyone wants issued to them.  Crazy.  But hopefully, during performances of Gershwin's "An American in Paris," they don't ticket musicians honking their ersatz Parian Taxi horns.  In the original premier performance in1928 staged in NYC, they used real horns from Paris taxis, probably taken from a 1928 Peugeot  Landaulet, then the most commonplace cab in Paris.  Beep Beep!

Friday, April 5, 2024

If You Think You Seattle Cabbies Have It Bad, It Is Nothing Like The Taxco de Alarcon, Mexico Taxi Drivers & Busy Alaska Cruise Ship Reason Begins This Saturday April 6th & New Insurance Rates Through The Taxi Roof

 No Fun for Cab Drivers in Taxco, Mexico, One of Mexico's Famous Silver Cities 

While Seattle cabbies have been subject over these many years to belligerent cops, rampant road rage and racial discrimination and profiling, it pales in the color scheme to what the Taxco taxi drivers are experiencing.  Taxco, home to a centuries long tradition of silver handcrafting, draws tourists from around the globe, making it a good place to drive taxi. But unfortunately for Taxco cabbies, Taxco is located in the Mexican state of Guerrero, a part of Mexico in large part controlled by Mexican Drug Cartel gangs who, in addition to smuggling drugs to the United States and Europe, also extort money from cabbies, van drivers and other local businesses.  If you don't pay up, they kill you.  

A recent Taxco cab driver strike occurred when one member of their fraternity was murdered.  Four bus/van drivers were also murdered in a warning to all who would not pay.  And to display that they mean business, two Taxco police detectives were also murdered, their bullet-ridden, tortured bodies discovered outstde of town.   How this will ultimately end is predictable: the murders will continue until the cabbies relent and pay up.  

In Mexico, less than 5% of the many thousands of annual murders ever result in arrest and conviction.  To the Drug Cartels, everyone is expendable.  When they threaten to kill you, you can be assured they will follow through and do it if you resist their authority.  Making matters worse, Mexico's president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, does little to nothing to stop the Cartel's criminal rampage.  "They also have families, you must understand," he says.  

Soon he will be leaving office and suddenly, there is a good chance he will be living the life of a millionaire.  Many will question his new lifestyle but Mexico being Mexico there will be no accountability for his living the "good life" while Taxco cabbies dodge Narco bullets.  

Pay or die, and everyone knows the reason why.  

Cruising Begins: P-66, Saturday April 6th

Yes everyone, it is that time of year again, along with the first red robin singing and yellow daffodils blooming, that the first giant cruise ship of the year will be docking in Seattle disembarking all those dumbbell tourists needing to go here and there and everywhere.  Scanning the schedule, there appears to be a real cruise ship invasion this Spring, Summer and Fall, with arrivals not only on Saturday and Sunday but also Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  Go git em!  

24.7 % Rate Increase Granted

This morning's "The Seattle Times" features a story about WA State residents freaking out over new car insurance rates. The State of Washington government gave this rate increase to the insurers voluntarily due to the many car accidents occurring statewide.  Ain't it sad that the insurers have to pay up?  And sadder still is that we WA State residents have to pay for other's poor driving decisions.  How is that fair?  Why must all of us pay for the sins of others?  Where is the priest with whom I can confess, "I didn't do nothing, I swear it!"  Problem is, even with a priest's benison, my higher insurance premiums will remain, even God's intervention not enough to sway away Beelzebub's invective---damnation on the roadways our personal Hades, the flames licking upon our heels and tires.