Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I offer advice to Mellissa Plaut

I notice a bunch of instances of people messing with you, and my readers should notice that recently I've said that the passenger never wins. A cab ride is a business transaction, it's not a game. If you allow some complete stranger to change it from a business transaction to some drunken game like playing quarters you're forgetting that when the bartender has chosen to 86 them, now you get them. Now they may want to make your cab their new play pen. If you let a drunk have control over the cab, it isn't your cab anymore, you can't do that, you are temporally responsible for that person's safety.

When I pull up to a flag and ask where they want to go, unless it's someplace I REALLY WANT TO GO, if they don't tell me, if they're cute about it, coy, say they'll show me perhaps, I say, "That's not an address, I can't take you."

An address is of the form, 5810 Raymond rd.

This includes replies to my question like, 'the west side', 'Fitchburg', 'Will you take me to the west side', and so on. The next thing that's apt to come out of their mouth is an exasperated address, but you already said you weren't going to take them. When you tell someone you can't take them, it's end of transaction, no second chance, because if you do back off and take them, they'll be ugly all the way to the destination. Pull away, they'll forget you and put their arm up and wave for another cab. They probably won't mess with the next driver. The next driver is their hero, they won't remember your number, won't write it down, and everyone is safe and happy. This also applies to people who jump in and insist on a ride because they've captured the cab. The cab isn't subject to capture, it's my cab and it's not in the interest of my safety to let anybody capture it.

This also goes for phone calls. I don't answer phones often but sometimes for 10 or 15 minutes I will sit in if I'm taking a break at the office. The classic call I remember was a request for a car load of people from someplace in the country out the other side of Verona on a very busy weekend night. The person placing the call said they wanted to go to where ever, and there were 4 of them (5 if it was back when we drove Diplomats), gave me the phone number, and I said "So where are you?" Lady said she wasn't sure what the address was, but she'd get the guy who owned the house who was throwing the party. I waited for 3 or 4 minutes, and this bozo came on and said hello. I only gave him one chance, "What is your address sir?"

He came back with, "So where are you coming from?"

I hung up and answered the next line. It quite possibly took them 15 minutes of trying to get through a second time, and I'll bet the guy had a chip on his shoulder by then but that's not my problem. If I want directions, I will ask for directions.

Tell me where you are, where you're going, how many people in your party, and that you're ready to go, don't lie to me. If you asked for a cab for 3 people and it's only one person, I know what's going on, you didn't want to share a ride, so you lied about the number of people, but what are you also lying about? Perhaps that you want to rob me? I'm not going to find out. When you call back for a ride, tell the truth about how may people in your party.


Anonymous said...

hey there,

i am a fellow cab driver in maryland. i found your blog through google.com. i would link to you if i had a blog but i did subscribe to your feed. keep up the good work

Skyring said...

Spot on. If a passenger is evasive or dishonest at the start of the trip, he isn't going to treat the cabbie with respect for the rest of it. I want passengers who are fair and square, play by the rules, do the right thing.