News media, as we all know, can be a tricky beast. Sometimes they get the message, and sometimes they see a different story than those who are telling it. This is why the Daily Show and Colbert Report get such great fake interviews. Unfortunately, thanks to my willingness to share the story of the “Wal-marting” of the taxi industry and the eagerness of a young reporter to get a scoop, the nuances of the message got a little lost.
- We did not do “a study”, I have been looking at available data points and extrapolating from there. There is no definitive number we know of but it seems that a full 1/3rd of drivers have left for other endeavors. The estimates I do have change daily as new information comes to light.
- MANY of the cabbies that have left taxis to drive a TNC are cabbies that had their taxi licenses revoked, not-approved, or were from outside the city. NOT the good cabbies. They are staying.
- The cabbies that are leaving the cab business are doing so out of desperation and the cabbies that are leaving to drive for one of the smartphone hail-able illegal taxi services are the same drivers that refuse to go to the Sunset, refuse credit cards, only pick up at the airport or the bar at 2am. These are NOT the quality drivers, these are the same drivers everyone has been complaining about. The quality drivers are staying in service as cabbies because they know how to be real cabbies and serve the city by taking paratransit trips and making sure grandma gets home safely.
- Of the drivers that have gone over and come back or thought about going over and didn’t; the consensus seems to be that they were uneasy about the questionable insurance first and rate changes that are out of their control.
Overall, the point is that the public wanted the cab industry cleaned up…. well they got it in spades. All the bad actors are leaving and going over to TNCs, I am seeing that backed up with anecdotal reports from the customers saying how TNC drivers don’t know where they are going, how to get there or even that what they are doing is NOT COVERED by their existing personal insurance.
Safety is not encouraging the untrained and underinsured to ply the streets for the same fares as taxis, significantly adding to congestion and pollution while jeopardizing EVERYONE else on the streets, all while playing with their smartphones…. Is texting and driving not illegal in California? I know studies have shown distracted driving is worse than drunk driving. As talented and skilled a driver as I am, even I don’t text and drive.
We firmly believe that the regulated taxi industry, even with its flaws, is still miles better for drivers, passengers, and all other users of the city streets.
A real basic background check would have discovered that the Uber driver that killed Sophia Liu was a repeat reckless driver.
Categories: Opinion - Editorial