Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fuck you, SF Taxicabs

Even as I write this, dozens of taxis are circling San Francisco City Hall, honking their horns in support of a fare increase and generally annoying the fuck out of everyone within earshot, including - nay, especially - me.

Which would all be fine and good if you COULD HAIL A FUCKING CAB SOMETIME IN THE CITY.

This is the most cabs I've ever seen in one place, and that includes the intersection of Montgomery and California at noon on a weekday or 11th and Folsom on a Saturday night at 10, places where you should be at risk of getting HIT BY A FUCKING CAB THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM.

What do they want? The highest fares in the country, that's all.

Is it just me, or do cab drivers bitch more than anyone else? What the city desperately needs is MORE FUCKING CABS, but every time someone suggests that, the cab drivers freak out about more competition. And at the same time, they'll turn down fares if the hapless citizen wants to go too far away from downtown, like say past 25th Avenue.

Kudos to Supervisor Scott Weiner, who called bullshit on the higher fare idea, and said:

"Anyone who has tried to flag a taxi during rush hour or phoned for a cab on a Friday or Saturday night knows that the city is underserved by its current taxi fleet," Wiener says. "But instead of trying to put more taxis on the street, the MTA is proposing to charge people more for the same inadequate service. This is not the right direction for our transportation system."
Look, I know this isn't, and never will be, New York City. I know that it's tough to make a living as a cabbie. But as someone who takes cabs pretty frequently, and who walks a lot on weekends because there are NO FUCKING CABS ANYWHERE pretty frequently, I have fucking HAD IT with this bullshit. Cabs are already too fucking expensive here.

I think BurritoJustice has the right idea:

Fair is fair, y'all.

Meanwhile, if you need a cab in the next hour or so, I suggest hitting up City Hall. For ONCE, it's easy to find a cab in this goddam city.


I am notified by helpful reader Laura that cabbies ARE NOT ALLOWED to turn you down if you say you're going to Judah and 48th or whatever. She even sent me this info:

Under the Transportation Code Section 1108(e)(1), taxi drivers shall not refuse, direct or permit the refusal of prospective passengers in any place within the City for transportation to any other place in the City, or to or from the San Francisco International Airport, or to the Oakland International Airport, or paratransit passengers within the Paratransit Program service area, at rates authorized by law, if the prospective passengers present themselves for transportation in a clean, coherent, safe and orderly manner and for a lawful purpose and the Driver has sufficient time before the end of his or her shift.

If you should witness this happening again, please write down the cab number, name of the cab company, date and time of the incident and report it to our 311 center. The report will then be forwarded to our office for review. 311 is available 24/7 at 415-701-2311. Or you can dial 311 directly on your cell phone if you have a 415 area code.

SFMTA | Division of Taxis & Accessible Services

Oh, wait, I see the catch: you have to be "clean" and "coherent." Me and my readers can sometimes manage one of those, but almost never both. Carry on.


Matty said...

"And at the same time, they'll turn down fares if the hapless citizen wants to go too far away from downtown, like say past 25th Avenue."

Or God forbid said hapless citizen happens to only have credit cards on them. As one cab driver once told me, you should never even bother asking if they take cards because they ALL take cards.

Sooo, doubly fuck you SF taxicabs!

GG said...

If I need a cab to pick me up at my house in Glen Park, I currently call 3 different cab companies, one right after the other. The odds that even one of them will show up are about 40%, and that's on a weekday. On the weekend, it's more like 0%.

GG said...

I forgot the point of my comment, which was just to say, right on, brother.

TK said...

Matty -

The one time I ever tried to use a credit card in a cab, the driver said the "machine was broken." Also, I've had drivers ask me, through the window "Cash, right?" before they would unlock the door.

GG -

I can't believe anyone ever comes at all.

generic said...

Who do we hate more? Taxi or muni drivers. I go back and forth.

Stoney said...

I'm going to start drunk driving in protest!

(not really)

I am pleased to see that one Supervisor appears to have some actual knowledge of the issue.

Rachel said...


Rachel said...

I have had two cabbies stop for me and then refuse to take me home because they were 'on break'. Um, then why stop to begin with? Infuriating.
Getting a cab in a city should be easier than this.

inger said...

At this point, it's almost as if SF cabbies are shilling for Uber.

burritojustice.com said...

Been getting a lot of cabbies responding to my tweet, basically along the lines of "hey, we show up and the person isn't there or has taken another cab".

I can't imagine WHY someone would grab the first cab they see.

This surcharge bs will just kill their tips. Punishing people who stick around and wait for you, good plan!

You want me to stick around for you, cab driver? Give *me* a $5 credit.

How much do cabbies get paid anyway? Sounds like it's great to be a cab company.

Bet Uber and a taxi will be the same price at the end of the day.

Greg said...

lighter lit because this post rocks. says exactly what i'm thinking.

big joke? dumbass cabbies are opposing the backseat terminals like they have in NYC? NEWS FLASH TAXICRABBIES: When i was in a real city (Aka NYC) not only were the cabs cheaper, but every cab driver said that due to the new backseat terminals, people TIPPED MORE than before because they could swipe a card and get a legit receipt for reimbursement.

Again, as always, SF FAIL.

GG said...

@Stoney -- I have long thought we could push this as a public safety issue. The lack of reliable cab service forces many people to drive home drunk when they'd rather not, which endangers drivers and other cab passengers alike.

Opinionated Lady said...

Great post! Couldn't agree more!

This kind of reminds me of when MUNI wants to raise fares but they don't want to increase the quality of service.

Tamagosan said...

Oh, taxis. What a relationship full of love and full of hate. I always tell drivers I'm going to Glen Park BART because they seem to think they can pick up a fare there. (Which is true, considering how many times I've wantonly looked for a taxi there...)

And yes, hardworking ones and such, but in the past few years I have had to call some serious BS on drivers trying to take me a longer way. Not just a different way, but an out-of-the-way route to drive up the fare. I let it go a few times and now I immediately ask what route the driver's planning on taking. Casually, part of conversation, but just to let them know that I know my way around. This is hard when drunk and surely annoying to all, but, well, it's expensive.

@GG: Before my senior prom, some friends and I all got ready at a house in Cole Valley. We called a taxi and waited at least 30 minutes. It was still early, but it was a Saturday night, and we called another company. Another 30 minutes went by, and we thought we'd try our luck outside just hailing one. Then two taxis --our taxis!-- pulled up coming from opposite directions, CHP-style. They talked to each other through the windows, determined we were assholes for calling two companies, and immediately sped off. How tragic we looked all dressed up and totally dissed by two cabs. This whole time, the N was lumbering by at regular intervals and it looked like a decent option, but then there were complaints about shoes and how nobody was going to climb the hill to the Fairmount Hotel and would the cable car just be as long so we should call another taxi. Luckily, the evening was generally awesome, but how sad that MUNI looks like a good option next to taxis...

Tamagosan said...

@burritojustice: I'm pretty sure the medallion owners are doing just fine, but the individual cabbies really suffer. Most have to work most of their shift to pay their gate fee, so they're resentful of the powers that be and maybe take it out on whomever. BUT STILL.

jmania said...

I gave up on those frustrating cabs and busses in 1997, my first year in San Francisco. I bought a bike for $30 at a garage sale, learned all the bike routes, and have never looked back. I can lock that ugly bike up anywhere in the city and it doesn't get stolen or messed with.

Thank you, SF cabs, for sucking so bad that I was forced to become one very happy cyclist.

Regina Hampson said...

i agreed but now there is alot of Cabs service in san francisco working

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bernadette darling-ville.com said...

I totally agree with this sentiment. I had to have a cab driver drive me to an ATM to get cash, even though his stupid cab had a VISA/MC logo on it. And now that we have SQUARE, there is no excuse why all cabs can't take credit cards.

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