The Golden Rule
Too funny cab ride last night. Coming home from night in Georgetown. We're shooting up Wisconsin avenue and a car signals right in front of us, slows down, stops to let someone out. Cab driver goes ballistic, honking and yelling at the car, before pealing out around it and racing up the street. We're treated to a 10 minute lecture on stupid guy only thinking of himself, not of others. A few seconds later, our driver changes lanes without signaling in traffic, causing car behind us to slam on brakes and honk. What does our driver say?
1. Oh, shame on me, I just did the same thing to him.
2. %$#@ DAMN %$@@#$% SON OF A BITCH %#!@%@.
3. So, how are you two doing tonight?
Getting a Cab in Denver
The only times I've hailed cabs in Denver, it's been from a hotel to a business, or from a business to a hotel. Never had to try and get one on a street. In DC, you stand on the curb, raise your hand and if you're downtown or near a 7-11, before you can blink, there's a cab. If you're in N.E., S.W. or S.E., then well, you're probably not trying to get one on the street anyhow.
But in Denver I guess it doesn't work like that. I recently saw a notice that in preparation for the Democratic Convention there in 2008, the city council is considering redoing the law that "prohibits taxi cabs from stopping in traffic lanes to pick up or drop off passengers. The proposed ordinance would allow cabs to stop for 90 seconds or a minute and a half to either pick up or drop off."
When I was a kid, I remember my mom or dad saying when we'd get out of a cab that it was a gypsy. I'm not sure what tipped it off for them, I really don't remember. Once and a while I wonder if I'm in a gypsy cab in DC. I've been in cabs that could not possibly have passed any vehicle inspection, is that a gypsy cab? Or a driver who has paid someone off? Who knows. And what makes a gypsy cab? One that has all the right markings by not a "H" car license plate? Or a real cab that is being driven by the driver's friend/relative for extra cash? Are there fewer of them around today than in the 80s?
Is there a correct amount of time to wait for your called-for cab before finding another way of getting there?
I asked this of a bunch of folks at lunch the other day. My poor friend Susan (she of the worst luck of cabs) had called for a cab. Thirty minutes later, it hadn't come yet, so she walked a few blocks to a larger street and finally hailed a cab. (According to her doorman, the called-for cab showed up about 30 minutes after she left.) I mentioned the 30 minutes, and got some interesting results.
A person from a poor area of NE Washington laughed at 30 minutes - that would have been a record. If he needs a cab, he calls 2 hours ahead of time and sometimes gets one. A woman who lives in Georgetown said that if it isn't there in 15 minutes, she calls another company. Most agreed that 20-30 minutes was as long as you should wait. Nobody agreed on whether it was good form to call the company back and tell them to forget the cab.
Meters vs. Zone
I'm one of those who like the zone system in DC. I understand it, know where the lines are, and let's face it, in bad traffic, zone passengers come out ahead.
But when you taxi from DC into MD or VA - the zone cabs can be disasters. We took a DC cab into PG county a few nights ago. The driver said our fare was $30. Seemed large, but we had no idea how to really argue it. But the driver (yellow cab, btw) gave us that number without seeming to look at how many miles we'd traveled, for first, and wouldn't give an accounting for 2nd. But instead of taking it into hostility, we paid and got out.
We decided to take a cab back into DC later that evening, and to my friend's house, which was further away than we'd come. The cost? $25 - on the meter. So yeah, we got screwed on the first trip.
Oh probably. But a first for me. Took a cab with boss to Georgetown. Talked to the driver a little bit, nothing more than weather/traffic chat. I didn't see his face (I was behind him) but noticed he had a string of interesting looking beads hanging from the rear view.
Three hours later, we stepped out of our meeting and hailed a cab. First two passed by (one had someone in it, the other, probably just didn't like our face?) :) - anyhow, 3rd stops, we get in and - yup. It's the SAME DRIVER.
What fun. I got to spend the last few days at home with contagious pink eye. That and the internationally traveling TB guy got me thinking.
Cabbies - ever catch something not so fun from all those passengers? And have you passed anything along? (Mad Cabbie, head out of gutter on this one) ;)