This question isn't for Wil - Living in Paradise, everyday gets to be your vacation ;).
A driver this weekend said that there were fewer rides around these days (DC usually goes on vacation in August), and had been for a couple of weeks. So I asked him if he was going on vacation and he said, "oh no!" That he didn't take vacations, kept working.
So how about the other drivers - ever take vacations when the city population is lower for whatever reason?
Question for Drivers - Ambiance
What do you listen to while driving? (or, in passenger world, what am I going to be listening to while traveling in your cab?)
Your own special music that you recorded to share your unique musical vision of the world with the people who ride in your cab, as you offer them the chance to buy one of your CDs as well?
How to Hail a Cab
I've been in DC for ages (my family moved to the area when I was 12) and we took cabs to concerts and things. So I've always known how to get a cab. Or at least try and get one. I was standing with my cousin and her friend a couple of days back on a corner off of Dupont Circle. I was busy trying to fix a mess in my purse (alert - ipods do NOT respond well to blush dust) and they were trying to get a cab. I couldn't see what they were doing at first, then I stopped to watch.
They were standing on the sidewalk, facing traffic and . . . nothing. A cab drove by and they looked at it, at each other and said, "none of them will stop." I started laughing so hard I thought I'd pee. I asked what they thought they were doing and my cousin said, "well we're obviously waiting for a cab, why won't they stop?" "Who are they going to stop for? Everyone who's standing on a sidewalk? You have to ASK them to stop somehow. You know, wave your hand at them or something? Whistle, jump up and down scream "hey cabbie?"
So the question is for drivers and riders. Do most people know how to hail a cab? Or outside of urban America is it an elusive skill?
DC Driver Residency Needed?
In the past, DC has invoked residency requirements for various workers (emergency services, teachers, etc.,) for short periods before folks object too strenuously. The problem with living in the city you work in? Well for most people, the salaries they make in DC don't come anywhere close to paying for what it costs to live in DC.
In today's Post Metro section, there was an article that noted that the 2001 law that permitted only city residents to register their vehicles in the District is about to be enforced for taxi & limo drivers. The DC Professional Taxicab Drivers Association filed suit to suspend the law. The article also notes that about 80% of the 7,500 drivers live outside the city. That sounds about right by my completely unscientific poll of drivers I've ever chatted with about living in the area. I have yet to meet one who says he (or she) lives in DC outside of one of my blog contributors ;).
My favorite quote in the story is from a guy arguing against the ruling who says "They want taxis here to be run like big business . . . But you won't get the friendly, singing cabdrivers anymore."
Ok, I don't know who he's talking about, but the only singing cabdriver I've run across lately was that very creepy one I wrote about below.
Attention Sun Cab #638
We are not, repeat, NOT impressed with your ability to clip your fingernails while hanging your hands out the window and driving.
I'm just grateful I was in the car next to him and not in the cab. Although we were wondering if he was going to crash into anything - like us!
Looks Like Fun
There are some bike taxis roaming around the city. They're pretty expensive, but look like some fun. Am going to see if I can talk bf into doing a moonlight ride around the monuments on one some day. (yeah, I'm one of those lame people who like carriage rides and different things). Don't think it'll give much competition to real taxis, but visitors seem to like them.
When I first moved to DC, I didn't tip cab drivers. Honestly didn't know that it was even a thing to do. I never rode in cabs back home, and when I traveled, my father or bf always paid for the cabs. And when I moved to DC, I probably didn't take a cab more than once or twice a year. I don't remember when I finally realized that folks were tipping cab drivers, but once I figured out it was a thing to do, I started leaving a tip.
My favorite tip story is the guy who drove me from work to home one night. I gave him the fare plus a $3 tip. As I was getting out, he asked, "where's my tip?" (first time anyone has ever asked me that question). I said I gave him $3. His response? That I'd only given him the fare because he'd taken me 4 zones. No, it's only 3 zones I responded. He started fussing about 4 zones again. So finally I said before closing the door. "It's your choice. Either you took me 3 zones & I gave you a tip before you started to be annoying, or you took me 4 zones & I didn't give you any tip because you are annoying."
I slammed the door at that point, so if he had a rejoinder or a curse, I never heard it.
Once and a while I ask folks to share some of their stories (bad, good, weird, utterly weird beyond all possible belief) of riding in DC cabs. So take a moment and share with the class ;).
No, not the car, the cab driver I had this afternoon. I grabbed a cab on my way back from Georgetown to the Hill. We were going along well, the driver listening to what seemed to be a really too easy/light pop rock station. Not my choice of music, but I could stand it for the 15 minutes or so it would take to get back to the office.
Until . . . A Horse with no Name
started playing. And the driver started humming, then singing, along. Not in one of those happy, sing along with me in unusal spots chick flick kinda way, but in a "I must sing this song with great emphasis because it means something very special to me" kind of way. A very very
He had the windows closed for the AC, so there was no escape there. It was really a case of just keep quiet and don't make any sudden moves because this guy turned from average cab driver into potential psycho. The song ended about 3 blocks from my office, and he didn't say a word when the song ended. I tossed a $10 at him and fled the scene. That's probably how he makes extra money, nobody wants to wait around for change! lol
Question for Cabbies - Cab Ownership
It's easy to tell the cabs that drivers own, (I think), a lot of independent cabs with the driver's name on the side. And I'm sure drivers of many other cabs own their cars. My question is --
Do most drivers own the cabs they drive?
If the company owns it, do you drive the same car everytime? Or is it like "Taxi" where Danny DeVito assigns drivers to different cabs each day?