Taxi Servitude & Solutions ?

Seems that Taxi service is something that everyone loves to talk about, but a job that no one who seems to be an authority on it, actually wants to do.

People love to complain about Taxi service… but few who do remotely understand the nature and forces at work in the business.//

Cab Co’s are corrupt Rental Car Agencies, they have no control or concern over whether drivers pick up fares promptly via radio or whatnot because cab drivers are not employees…

Drivers are like strippers who pay to work, earn no actual wages, and get no sick leave or health benefits from these cab companies or the city. In fact if you are sick and miss a shift , you’ll usually end up paying the $100 gate regardless to the company. Unmedallioned drivers are often getting by only via their survival instincts and luck…

As a “former” cab driver I would just say the deck is stacked so high against drivers from providing quality service , it’s amazing anyone gets anywhere.

If I wanted to offer a cleaner cab, help out lil’ old ladies by carrying their groceries, or drive to return customer’s lost items… I was f*cking myself over because it’s always a race against the clock… and drivers LOSE ALL THE TIME.

Why do you think many of the people who now take the mission on really have no idea where they are going, speak minimal English, and often have worthless social skills?

Drivers are daily risking their lives not only in traffic, but in their cars alone against potential criminals and ‘no-pays”. Daily engaging in never ending one man wars against congestion, bureaucracy, gas prices, and the very annoying needs and griping of customers without any understanding of their situation takes a toll. The companies or city will not give drivers extra time, exemptions or compensation to help provide better or safer service, so what motivation do drivers have to provide it?

More ranting on the Handsome Boy Mayor’s Taxi Commission, market forces, and links to some websites and writing done by drivers, (and even an mp3 tune) from those behind the wheel that might have a deeper understanding than the average whiner… all after “the jump”

Whenever someone bitches about not promptly getting a cab in some less than ideal location, i laugh.

If you were a driver w/o health care , sick leave etc trying desperately to pay your $150+ a shift in gas / gate & fast food meals a day with hopefully something leftover for your self to take home…

Would you ride around empty elsewhere when flocks of these lucrative short rides are clusterf*cked downtown?

Market forces make drivers run from Union Sq hotels to Moscone all day because that is where the money is on the glorious path of least resistance you bourgeois blogging whiners.

Why do we have a multi-billion dollar subway system ?
uh, …maybe so we residents can take it every once in awhile.

Think about it, if you were a cabbie , and you know 30,000 basebal fans are leaving a stadium, are you really going to be found trolling empty in the Outer Avenues, dark warehouse districts or god forbid looking for potential trouble in Bayview?

Would a stripper hang out in the back of a club by a table with some broke-ass bum who is nodding out & hope he might wake up and want a lap dance later, or should she perhaps hit up the horny stockbrokers wildly waving & drooling by the stage?

For every armchair critic out there who thinks it’s the Handsome Boy Mayor’s job to “fix” the do not even seem to be looking at what the underlying problems are.

It’s simple capitalism people…at it’s worst.

I don’t think the mayor can fix that, and Karl Marx wasn’t able to do it either. But you can whine to the local politburo/board of supes or whatever if it makes you happier…

Sure, adding 100 more cabs sounds like something you need, but really only on certain days at certain peak hours. The rest of the time there would be another 100 empty cabs driving around on a quiet Monday night or Tuesday morning burning copious fossil fuels, all trying to find that one couple on California St. or the late guy on Geneva who suddenly decided they need a cab at the moment.

The cab companies would love another 100 cabs they could rent out… because they could give a sh*t if the drivers have fares to pick up, they make money renting the cars, not fulfilling dreams.

The main reason you can’t find a cab at rush hour is because Yellow, Luxor etc make it appear like we have a cab shortage. They do it daily by manipulating the cities supply of taxis and having a massive inefficient shift change that takes hundreds of cabs off the street exactly when thousands of people are getting out of their workplaces looking for a ride between 5 – 6 pm.

Hmmmm…. could that be considered a strategic market manipulation to create the illusion that the supply can’t meet demand?

Drivers who pay a high price to work and often wait many unpaid hours on the lot to even get behind the wheel of a cab, then have to compete with subsidized public transit, not to mention various Bandit Cabs and Limos that routinely siphon off business illegally…

One of my worst fares was some Muni driver who wanted a break on the $8 fare to get him to the bus garage for his union job (with benefits)…He failed to note there was no f*cking subsidized union busses running at 4am was there?

I just dare all the cab critics to apply & drive just for a month, one of those vaunted new 100 cabs we’ll likely get. If you don’t age a whole year going through all the stress, inevitable tickets, unavoidable accidents & bullshit involved, I’d be really surprised.

Notice that amongst the political cronies, retirees, downtown biz reps, handicapped activists etc that “preside” over the worthless bureacracy known as the “Taxi Commission”, the most obviously under represented constituency is actually cab drivers.

There was one lady driver for awhile, but she was never allowed to vote because of her “conflict of interest”.

It’s f*cking insane…

here’s the previously promised mp3 of a tune known as The Cab Driver song by a former SF hack named Mat Callahan, who finally hung up his keys and moved to Switzerland awhile ago.

Mat Callahan – I’m Driving ( the Cab Driver song)

some links to SF cabbie websites

First up, hack writer Brad Newsham, and I mean that in the best way, has an article on his website, and formerly published in San Francisco magazine, that anyone frustrated by waiting for a cab might wanna peruse…

Why Is It So Hard To Get A Cab in This Town?

another excellent cabbie writing resource, would have to be the Night Cabbie archives at SF Gate who wrote for The Chronicle from 1996 til 2004 when he quit the biz in disgust over the industry’s decline & the low wages he was forced to earn despite years of experience. Check out his bitter summation of the industry via his farewell column at the very least

other SF cabbie blogs:

an SF cabdriver’s photo blog

San Jose Metroblogger Jo Ann’s site :

and lastly, a link to a post I found after writing my rant from a guy who goes by the handle “The Only Republican in San Francisco” who has some of the only rational opinions on reforms I’ve seen from a layperson. His personal observations and simple free market analysis of the way the system is not rewarding good service is at least worth a gander…

1 Comment so far

  1. San Francisco Taxicab (unregistered) on February 15th, 2007 @ 12:08 pm

    People who live in the heart of the City tend to forget that they are a relatively small piece of the Bay Area in terms of total population. While San Francisco is the cultural heart of the Bay Area it is not the population center. This is very relevant to San Francisco’s taxi fleet. We depend not only on those who live in the dense core areas of the City but upon those who commute in every day. Those commuters arrive by rail, bus and freeway. Those who drive often leave their cars in parking lots and garages while they move around within the City. Many of these commuters utilize the City’s taxicabs throught the business day and during the evening.

    This contributes to the unusual dynamic of the Bay Area. We have a huge urban sprawl (9 counties and 101 cities) built around one of North America’s densest cores (the City). Outside of the City taxi use is minimal. Inside the City business occures in waves.

    Add to this the fact that the City’s cabs also service SFO which is in San Mateo County, 15 miles away. As a cultural center San Francisco hosts major events, conventions and tourists, often at once. If SFO is busy and there’s a major convention in town then the cabs become overwhelmed. Add some rain and forget about it. It is a difficult, if not impossible task maintaining cosistent taxi service. Since I’ve been in the City the taxi fleet has increased in size by 60% and I still hear the same complaints from the same neighborhoods.

    Cabs are driven by individuals, each of which has their own hours, operating style, agenda and preferences. There is no way to regulate that.

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