Sunday, August 27, 2006

Quiet, I Know, But

It's August. And it's light out later. Since it's August, not so many meetings to have to go to, and since it's light out later, unless I stay at work until 9, I don't feel the need to take a cab home to be safe.

So haven't ridden much in cabs these days. That'll change. But in the meantime, having fun on metro and mentally waving hi at the cabs that don't try to kill me when I'm crossing the street on walk. No, really, the light says WALK -- I'm ALLOWED to cross the street then!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Question for DC folks

From my friend Susan. She called for a cab around 9:15am. The cab showed up at 9:40. When the ride was over, he charged her a rush-hour fare because he said she'd ordered the cab before rush hour. I told her to mention this to the cab company, not sure if she will.

I think that it shouldn't have been rush-hour fare. But wanted to hear from others.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

No Politics, Please, I Haven't Had My Coffee Yet

I've got political views (although I live in DC, I've never worked for a political party or rep - disclaimer lol). But I usually don't have them at 7:30 in the morning when I'm trying to get to a meeting and haven't had any coffee yet -having just barely made it out of the house in clothes and with my purse to begin with.

So I have to get the driver who REALLY wants to talk about the people being held in Britain for the liquid/gel airline bombing plan. He definately had some pretty strong views on the topic, and I probably agreed with one or two and would have been glad to hear / debate / chat on all of it.

But not at 7:30 in the morning - and not without any coffee!!!!

Take pity on the poor riders when you launch into your political lectures. Grunting/nodding and ignoring means "Please let me get coffee first!!!"

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Flunking Vehicle Inspection?

I've ridden in more than my share of cabs that can NOT have passed the DC or even Maryland or Virginia vehicle inspections. Or do they only look at the outside of cars? (I don't have a car, and have had one inspected, but I get stories from friends who talk of being rejected for small and odd things.)

I've ridden in cabs that have no locks on the back door, or a back door that comes loose from its frame when you try and close it, so you have to close it by grabbing the window. Or the cab that had no shock absorbers of any kind it seemed (DC has very bumpy roads!). Or the one with stickers and notices covering most of the back windows so passengers can't see out. Or the cab that takes two tries to start after stopping at a light. And on and on.

How are these cabs passing inspection?!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Getting the Call

When a cab dispatcher gets a call for a cab, who does he give it to? The cab who is closest to the pick up point? Or does he base the decision on something else? I've noticed that even though I tell the dispatcher where I'm going, that info isn't shared with the cabbie, because they always ask. So it got me thinking.

I would imagine just like any other work environment, dispatchers play favorites. But I'd love to hear it from the folks in the trenches. Does your dispatcher send "dream" fares to cabbies he likes and "nightmare" fares (whatever stick is being used to measure either term) to cabbies he doesn't like?

And how do cabbies get around that, if they do?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Stranded on Saturday

This is from my friend Marcus.

Marcus & his gf got a cab to go home around 1 or so Saturday night/sun morn. They'd been partying in Adams Morgan (a neighborhood not that far from me that is full of bars/restaurants and such) and were going home in Tacoma Park, just over the line in Maryland.

All was fine until the cab just stopped by the side of a pretty deserted road through part of Rock Creek Park. He pulled over and said something they couldn't understand, then he got out of the cab to look at his car. Marcus doesn't know much about cars, but he's a guy so he got out to see if he could help. The driver's English or accent was just tough enough that Marcus couldn't figure out what he was saying was wrong.

They all got back into the cab, and the driver got on his phone and made a call, speaking in his native language. Marcus assumed he was calling for help and another cab for them. So they waited (instead of calling a friend with a car to come get them). About 20 minutes later, a guy shows up in a regular car and the driver/new guy go to look at the engine again. Marcus gets out and asks when another cab is coming for them. The driver said "nobody else, we'll go." And they set to work on the car. Whatever is going on, Marcus figures out that it's not a quick fix and asks the guy to get another cab to come for them. He says that there isn't anyone else (he's not part of a company).

Gf has joined them at this point, and is getting a little freaked out about being on the side of a dark road at night, not wanting to get plowed into by some drunken fool speeding around those curves too fast. Marcus uses his cell to call info & gets a number for a cab company, then spends about 10 minutes trying to explain to the dispatcher just where they are. He asks the driver to get on the phone to say where they are, but he brushes Marcus off.

Finally, about 40 minutes later, another cab finally shows up to pick them up and take them home. And their first driver?

Asks for his money before they leave. He actually wants the money for driving them to the deserted side of a road in the park before his car dies. Marcus cursed him out and they took off in the second cab.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Death by Heat, or . . . Stench?

Ok, DC summers are always pretty miserable. But the past couple of days have been HOT HOT HOT even for us. So, when you're standing in the sun on E street hoping for a cab that will come your way instead of turning to drop off another set of tourists at Hard Rock Cafe, you jump into the first cab that actually 1) drives your way and 2) isn't full of tourists.

And you're really happy about getting into that AC cab for the ride back to the office, until you realize that you've just exchanged the blazing heat of the sun and possibly no cabs for another 10 minutes for . . . a driver who apparently is trying to fight back potential robbers with BO.

I immediately started to roll down the window. No no, he shouted, wasting air!

And here is where I fail miserably. Instead of saying, You stink! I need fresh air! I say things like, "it's not that bad out, I like the fresh air, please. " which of course doesn't work. So then I spend the next 10 minutes breathing out of my mouth and trying to think of happy smells. I was jumping out of that cab before he even came to a stop!