2.05.2008

Taxi Drivers Still Determined to Rip Us Off

Yesterday was, apparently, the first day of the weekly taxi cab strike. Next week drivers will strike on Tuesday. The next week on Wednesday. In five weeks they could be putting my precious weekends at risk. Until then, it's no skin off of my back.

All of this to protest the glorious end of a broken system. I am delighted every time I get into a cab and realize that, in only a few short months, I won't have to crane my neck to understand the city's antiquated zone system. That Mayor Fenty lowered the minimum fare from a ridiculous $4 to a much more reasonable $3 was icing on the cake.

The strike was organized by a new organization called the Coalition of Cab Drivers, Companies and Associations of Washington, D.C. I'm going to call it the CCDCAWDC. The CCDCAWDC's chairman, Nathan Price suggested that getting rid of the zone system is either ill-conceived or "conceived very well to destroy the industry." Because nothing makes more sense than to destroy a city's taxi industry on purpose. Asshole.

I mean Price does make a solid point. There is obviously a lot of precedent of a city switching from zones to meters and having that city's taxi industry destroyed. Oh, wait. There isn't. because no one uses fucking zones because they are a stupid and antiquated way to charge people money.

And there's this line from the Post's coverage of the strike: "Striking drivers, however, are convinced that the switch will wreck their livelihoods."

Yeah, because the zone system is dependent on tricking people into paying more than they should. It's about knowing where the zone boundaries are and crossing them to pick up some extra dollars. Anyone striking to protect that doesn't deserve our business.

I've written this before, but this new strike gives me a reason to reiterate this: Do not tip any driver who strikes to protect the broken zone system. They are more interested in ripping us off then they are getting us from Point A to Point B.

Get in a cab, ask your driver if they were striking, plan on striking, or even supported the strike. Then dole out your tip money accordingly. If we can make it costlier for them to support zones than to support meters, then we can finally end this nonsense.

13 comments:

  1. Ever read the Diary of a Mad DC Cabbie? Recently he bragged about stalking some woman and extorting her for $300 for throwing up in his cab.

    I have more sympathy for child molesters than DC cabbies.

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  2. You sir are a funny funny man.

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  3. celebrate the patriots funeral in style!

    http://www.cafepress.com/giants08

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  4. Lee,

    Die in a fire.

    <3,

    Rusty

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  5. I just want to give voice to a friendly cab driver I had the other day who explained to me why he is against what is happening. He says he doesn't give a damn about the zone to meter switch. What he says will hurt him is the dropping of the multiple passenger fee. He says that's going to add up to devastating losses for cab drivers. He cites a Fenty contributor named Schafer who owns a major cab operator who wants to run DCs independent cab drivers out of business so he can impose an exclusive and exhorbitant licensing system for cab drivers.

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  6. lorenzo,

    putting additional passengers in a cab does not accrue additional cost to the operator, so why charge more? in fact, my bet is that the drop of the extra passenger fee will make cabs much more competitive vs metro and buses, and that matters in a city like DC where cab rides arent in particularly high demand.

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  7. Again, I'm no expert on this issue. I understand that argument, but it could be that the extra passenger fee is just the cost of doing business, i.e. it's factored into his revenues. As in, if a ride is $7, $8, $9, or $10 depending on the number of passengers, and he needs to make an average of $8.25 to stay in business or something... you are turning that into $7 every time.

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  8. Rusty, obviously you've been ripped off a few times, but that doesn't justify ripping all of us off and driving up the cost of cabs citywide.

    You're looking at it from a "cab home after a night out drinking" perspective. What about all the cabs getting used during the day by people going around the city for work?

    Right now, I know exactly how much any given trip will cost me. I know how much it costs to get from my office to the FCC or the Hill. I know that most places I need to visit for work are one-zone or two-zone fares, and I can get it advanced to me through petty cash pretty easy. The fare is the same if the streets are clear, if there is total gridlock, or if I get stuck behind Dick Cheney's security detail.

    Zones work well in cities without DC's insane street plan and traffic problems, which change day to day depending on who is protesting where and what dignitary is visiting. The drivers don't want to rip you off, they want you to consider their service affordable.

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  9. It's ok Rusty, at least you have BC to fall back on who MD will beat like a redheaded stepchild tonight...

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  10. "The drivers don't want to rip you off..."

    Oh, of course they don't. That's why they have hissyfits and go on strike every time the city tries to switch to meters. Because they're watching out for us.

    That's why they refuse to take you outside of the District from Adams Morgan on a Saturday night, or demand double fare, or demand prepayment of some round figure they pulled out of their a**. Because they're watching out for us.

    That's why, back when only DC cabs could take you from National to the District (and the fare was allegedly based on the cost per mile), I asked each cabbie to take the same route from National to my home and was charged a different fare. Because they're watching out for us.

    Give me a break. They're motivated by self-interest and the comfort associated with being able to exploit a system few of their passengers understand.

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  11. Couple of points:

    -- first, the DC cabosphere is about as unified as the DC blogosphere. There are a lot of drivers with integrity who absolutely hate the dishonest cab drivers who give them all a bad name. I agree that it is an easily exploitable system, one that probably benefits knowledgeable residents like you and me and takes advantage of tourists, who probably pay some of our cab fare.

    -- Also, as a group DC cab drivers seem to be the worst in the world. Why the heck is that?

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  12. Matt, Mad Cabbie never stalked that girl! she volunteered by giving her biz card and her phone number and promised to pay! and #2 he didn't extort the $300 from her! She could have protested then! Why didn't she agree with MC to have the cops investigate the matter? Why? Because she got caught!

    I have known Mad Cabbie for a long time and he is the most generous person you can ever meet in your life! He spends more time doing free stuff in the city helping people than driving his cab and make more money! You think $300 is a lot of money? If you do, go get another part time job! It was never about the money at all you jackass!

    If you have more sympathy for child molesters than DC cab drivers, what does that say about you Matt?

    You probably like young underage boys don't you Matt? Perverts like you are destroying this world you freak!

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