Friday, July 25, 2008

Picking the Route

For the first few weeks after meters I noticed drivers asked almost every single time which route to go. A question I'd get once and a while before became a common occurrence. But now, a couple of months in, drivers don't ask anymore.

Obviously asking at first on the meter -- I can see that. But why have they stopped?


At 7:28 PM, Blogger Philip said...

Funny thing about the District's meter ordinances, there is no provision that requires the driver to take the route that the customer directs. Every other jurisdiction that uses meters, of which I am aware, has such a provision.

I drove a metered cab in Arlington, Virginia before I crossed the river. Thus, I knew the meter game before Dear Revered Leader Kim il-Fenty told the Citizens of the Demokratik People's Republik of New Kolumbia that they wanted meters.

The majority of passengers prefer that you simply drive once they give the address. Those who want to direct you, will, for the most part, speak up. Then there are those who will ask you which way you are going before you can put the car into gear. I have no quarrel with any of the above.

What I hate are the morons, and they are numerous:

MORON #1- Gets into cab, gives address, you start driving. Waits until you are committed to a route, then decides to let you know that he does not like the route. Does not understand that people are different; assumes that everyone thinks as he does, thus everyone thinks that his route is the best and only a buffoon would think otherwise. Same line of thinking that some idiot at Icky-D's used years back when he decided that anyone who did not like mustard, pickles, ketchup and onions all gooped onto a hamburger must be a buffoon.

MORON #2- The fare chiseler. You start to drive and three minutes into the trip he starts yelling and asking where you think that you are going and why are you taking the long way and this is not the right way. In short, he does not let you get a word in edgewise. He then starts to accuse you of trying to cheat him and tells you how you had better watch out and so forth. You ask him how he wants to go and he tells you that he does not know, but no one ever went the way that you are going and the meter already says more than he has ever paid and you are the cab driver so you are supposed to know the shortest way. This type of moron gets one warning. He can tell me how he wants to go, or he can shut his pie hole and put some money on the front seat before we move another centimetre. OR, he can get out NOW and try his bullshepankee on another driver. I always tell this kind of moron that I see right through him and if he does not like the fare, the MetroBus is cheaper and why does he not try to argue with the MetroBus driver.

Moron #3-This one thinks that it is your fault that there is so much traffic. If you get caught in some nasty traffic with this moron in your back seat, the meter will reach, say fifteen dollars. Moron will then speak up and inform you that he takes this trip every day, all that he ever pays is nine dollars and that is all that you are getting, he does not care what the meter says. This moron gets told to give me my nine dollars immediately. He does so, the car goes into park and moron is told he can either get out here, or put another twenty dollars on the front seat and shut his pie hole.

These are by no means the only morons. For the sake of brevity, I will stick with these three, for now. The point is this: If you have a route that you want the driver to take, please tell him BEFORE he starts, NOT once he is committed.

Your driver will appreciate it.

Thank you

At 9:15 AM, Blogger DC Cab Rider said...

I haven't had a ride where it matters to me one way or the other yet.

My question, which still stands, was - why after that start of every driver asking which route I preferred do none of them as now?

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Mad Cabbie said...

Phil, I am no pussy either! I don't ask passengers which route to take unless they mention so. During the old zone (flat rate) system, I don't want to hear about your route, I simply tell you to keep quite and enjoy the ride and let me do my thing. But now it's a different ball game with the meters, if some idiot who just moved from Kansas a year ago wants to be a DC expert, I will let him be the captain because the meter clicks on his own clock. But like Phil said don't start telling your driver which way to go after he commits himself to a particular way. Drivers may started to ask which way because for most DC cabbies meters are untouched territories so it may took few weeks to adjust to plot the shortest possible way to get to a destination. In the old days distance didn't matter, all we wanted to do is dump your ass as fast as possible regardless the distance. So it's a different mind set and now I believe drivers are adjusting to it and it may be the reason that drivers don't ask you which route to take anymore.

At 7:46 PM, Blogger Philip said...

The Italians have a saying 'Forse non me songo spiegato bene'. The literal translation is the one that applies here: perhaps I did not explain myself well.

I never did ask the customer which route to take either during the Zone Period or after the meters showed up. The reason that I never asked is that I drew on my experience with the meters in Arlington. Most people just want you to drive.

Why did the other drivers stop asking? I think that MadMeister has the idea: experience. He stated that the drivers learned the most direct routes so they no longer had the need to ask. I would add that drivers are also learning that the public, for the most part, does not want to get involved in the trip. They just want the driver to drive and get them there.

The above, is, of course, speculation. I work with cab drivers every day, so I know how they think, that is why I am the best dispatcher in the City. If I knew WHY they thought the way that they did, I would be living on Foxhall Road, at Branch and Alabama or Way Up Sixteenth Street somewhere.

The short answer is experience. The drivers are starting to master the game.


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