Saturday, December 4, 2010

Why you can't let them win

Who? The passengers. Why? Well, if it's a win/lose issue, it's a scam. How can I be so sure?

I wasn't until I'd rewritten this about 3 times, and finally saw that the 2 guys I went up against on Wilson st. and the Nigerian woman were exactly alike. They had a plan, they knew what the plan was before they even called and ordered the cab. They'd worked the plan before, it was practiced. The plan had always worked too.

For the Nigerian woman, it was simply a refusal to pay. She knew that she could get away with paying about 1/2 of the fare, and all that would happen was is the driver would say he'd never take her again. That's ok. There are lots of cab drivers.

For the 2 guys, the plan was a little different. They planned on getting kicked out of the cab for being obnoxious about 3 blocks from home and walking the rest of the way. A lot of people work this scam, it's a very common student scam. Enough, so that I'd decided many years ago that if I was kicking someone out of the cab, I was also taking them back to where they came from to do it. Imagine being in the middle of trying to get kicked out of the cab and have the cab do a U-turn and the driver tell you he's taking you back to where you came from. Usually they say they'll behave, and you collect the money right then and there. The guys who went to Wilson st. probably set the protocol for dealing with people like them in stone.

What's most pathetic part of these scams? You can call up after the ride and scream bloody murder because the scam didn't work, or it didn't work as good as it could have, and the company will actually sympathize with you, and might even punish the driver. Who makes the first decision on dealing with the after scam complaint? The guy answering the phone usually. Is he trained to deal with anything like this? Not that I know of, not at any of the companies in town that I know of.

Is there any solution for this problem? The only solution I can think of is for there to be a shortage of drivers. Right now, you fire a driver and their are 5 people anxious to take his place. Do they need to know the town? No, a street directory will take care of that. Do they have to be great drivers? No, they need to have a clean driving record. Someone who has driven very little, can have a great driving record and be a disaster behind the wheel. Do they need to be good at dealing with the public? No, there is no test or criteria for that beside the job interview and everyone is nice in a job interview.

Sad, isn't it................................

Sadly, the majority of drivers will just go on to the next call. Consider it a small part of the price of doing business. At some point, it will grow in magnitude to the point where the only rides who can be counted on to pay will be charge accounts and hotel rides to the airport. Perhaps that's the way it should be, but if that's where the business is going, at least 1/2 the cabs (not drivers, cabs) will be sitting idle, and ultimately the owners of those vehicles will lose a bunch of money. Are those owners the people who drive them? Of course not.

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