Thursday, May 08, 2008

Meters - The Latest in Safety Equipment?

I've figured it out. Meters aren't about less money for drivers, or some conspiracy of shadowy figures to own the DC cab market. Nope. Meters are about public safety.

I finally hit the cab lottery yesterday - a cab with a meter in it (and after only 4 rides in non-metered cabs since the 1st).

I gave my destination and we set out . . . slowly. The whole trip, cars were passing us in the other lane. I just had to peak and then was laughing inside. I think at one point we might have hit 35 mph. And I'm not talking downtown DC in traffic - no, this was a trip that took us through Rock Creek Parkway and along Massachusetts Ave. In all of my years in DC the only time I've ridden in a cab that slow the driver looked to be about 95.

So I have it figured out now. Meters = public safety. Instead of drivers that go as fast as they can to dump you out to get another fare, now we'll have rides that stroll along at snail's pace.

I may not have any money left when this is over - but I will be safe!


At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Driving slow doesn't increase the fare on the meter, unless driver is driving less than 10 mph. When the cab is driven < 10 mph, that's when meter starts adding up time fare. So stop being paranoid and thinking that all the cab drivers are out there trying to rip you off.

At 9:10 PM, Blogger Paradise Driver said...

Also, you won't have to be sharing rides with complete strangers. No more multiple fares in the cab.

At 9:33 PM, Blogger Philip said...

As the above poster stated, the driver must go 15 kPH or slower to make the meter tick for traffic. If he is driving 20-50 kPH or faster, the meter ticks for distance, only.

I drove a metered cab in Arlington for about eighteen months, so I speak from experience: it does not pay the driver, even with a meter, to get caught at lights or in traffic. He gets his best return from delivering you as quickly as possible to your destination and moving to the next customer. The meter, is, at best, an equaliser, to compensate the driver somewhat, but not totally, for the time lost in heavy traffic.

The other myth is the scenic route myth. For short to average trips, it does not pay the driver to take the scenic route. For a longer trip, it might. I do not know where you live, M. Cabrider, but I am guessing Cleveland Park, Wesley Heights or Tenleytown....maybe Chevy Chase. If you were to ride a cab to Dulles Airport from any of those neighbourhoods, the shortest route is Chain Bridge to Dolley Madison to the Access Road. It would pay the driver to go Rock Creek Park to I-66, in that case. It would not pay the driver to take you to Georgetown from any of those neighbourhoods VIA Connecticut and K. The faster, but longer routes, such as Rock Creek Park to Capitol Hill from those neighbourhoods do pay, but often the customer wants to use such a route, even if it might cost him more. The most direct route to Capitol Hill from Woodley Park is Calvert Street to Adams Mill to Eighteenth Street and East on Florida Avenue, finally turning off at North Capitol, First, N.E., Third or Fourth,N.E., depending on the final destination on the Hill. The traffic on that route is bad enough on weekends, it is brutal on weekdays.

Funny thing, the D.C meter rules contain no provision that requires the driver to take the route dictated by the passenger. Every other jurisdiction that uses meters has such a provision. Under the Zone System, it did not matter much, from the Rayburn to Wisconsin and M was two zones, no matter what way the driver went. If the customer told him to go to Howard University Hospital, then Georgetown, that was a different story, there was another provision for that, but a POINT A to POINT B trip had only one possible legal fare.

People are already complaining about the meters. What they really hate is actually seeing six bananas on the meter when they come out of their houses and board the cab. That is three dollars for the flag drop, two dollars for calling and one dollar gasolene surcharge. Even when you remind them that they owed nine dollars fifty under the zone system (one zone: six dollars fifty, two dollars for calling, one dollar gasolene surcharge), it does little good. On the meter, they can actually SEE it, it was not the same under zones. The reaction is 'WHAT? We haven't gone ANYWHERE and it's already SIX BUCKS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!????'

Paradise is correct, shared riding happens only at Union Station, at the discretion of the starter. In other cases, there is no allowance for shared riding even if the first passenger approves. There is a provision that allows the Taxicab Commission to designate periods when shared riding is permitted. I would guess that Inauguration might be one, but there is usually so much group riding at that time that shared riding is normally impossible, anyhow.

You wanted the meters, at least that is what your mayor (minscules deliberate) said. But then, fenty(miniscules, again, deliberate) is a progressive authoritarian, so he will tell you what you want, whether you actually want it, or not. After all, Nanny Adrian knows what is best for you..........

At 9:54 PM, Blogger Philip said...

Hey dummy, read the heading!!!!!!

Oh,you live in Adams-Morgan. The Capitol Hill/Union Station route applies to you,but to Dulles, the best route for you is, I-66, unless you live on Calvert St or in Mount Pleasant, in which case, believe it or not, Chain Bridge is the most direct route.

But here is one. If you live closer to Sixteenth Street (Reed-Cook or parts of Mount Pleasant), the most direct route to National Airport is down Sixteenth Street to H to Fourteenth (or Fifteenth) and over Fourteenth Street Bridge. Rock Creek Park is faster, but longer. That long route would pay me, but that is also a 'usually travelled route'. It would not, however, pay me to take you from anywhere in Adams Morgan to Georgetown VIA Sixteenth or Eighteenth and K. The faster (and shorter therfore cheaper) route West on Florida Avenue to Twenty-Third Street, then West on Q, P or M (as appropriate) wold actually pay me better, in the long run.

At 7:41 AM, Blogger DC Cab Rider said...

Philip -

Thanks for the comments. Will be helpful for our readers. Personally, I haven't taken a cab to an airport yet. National has the metro and Dulles/BWI have Super Shuttle.

Or did I just say bad words to a driver? Sorry!

At 7:44 AM, Blogger DC Cab Rider said...

Anonymous - Looks like you've got a nice equal share in the paranoid department there ;). Stop thinking all bloggers are out to get you!

Notice I said at one point we almost hit 35mph. Yes, we did spend more time than one would think in the 5-15mph range. It was really quite amusing in its own way.

At 9:58 PM, Blogger Philip said...

If you can deal with the lack of reliability for which the Stupid Shuttle is so well known, then go for it. We know that we will get you eventually. All that it takes is one missed aeroplane and it is cabs from then on..............

At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Georgia Drivers Ed said...

That's right friend, not only meters their are many other equipments are made for the vehicle safety and passengers safety.


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