Jenna recounts two recent rides, including one with a cab driver who demanded she not talk at all during the ride.
this is news?
Boston - and more specifically the Boston taxi commission - really should be ashamed of its cabs. Aside from the new hybrid cabs, the cabs themsevles are most often in poor condition (if not dangerous) and uncomfortable. Cabbies routinely do not know their way around the city and expect riders to direct them where to go even from the outset of a ride (I have found this to be the rule rather than the exception). Cabbies are routinely aloof or talk on cell phones the entire ride. And moreover, cabbies routiely engage in egregious violations of traffic laws (my favorite being a cabbie who threw it in reverse on the Jamaica Way after missing a turn with me and my pregnant wife in the back seat). In this ONE respect (and I emphasize that this is the only one) New York is better than Boston. Sadly, it doesn't have to be that way.
While not as lucrative as the liquor license "exchange market", they're pretty hard to come by, and a much sought over commodity.
It's high time that both BS markets be disbanded, and we let the free market take over in those two areas.
...and these rude foreigners have jobs? Unbelievable.
Send 'em back to where they came from, round up everybody in the unemployment line, and tell them they have jobs as Boston cabdrivers.
And for anybody who wishes to call me out on the use of "foreigners", living and working here is a privilege, which, frankly, many of these cabdrivers have not earned.
What exactly did you do to earn your privilege?
I agree that Boston's taxi situation is totally unacceptable and there are many rude and unknoweldgeable drivers, but I don't see how this has anything to do with "foreigners".
They tuk Ahh jerbs!
In 2008, the Pew Hispanic Center, calculated that there might be 11.2 million illegal immigrants in the United States. That is about 4% of the population. ...poll respondents have a completely distorted estimate of the number of illegal immigrants in their state. The average response when asked what percent of their state is illegal immigrants was just over 17% - that is, the average American thinks almost 1 in 5 people are illegal immigrants.
I've never had a Hispanic cab driver in Boston.
most illegals are in just a handful of states, those guesses are almost certainly closer to the accurate number than 4% in places like MA, CA, NY, NJ, NC...
Go back under la bridge.
Going to have to agree with the cabbies here....sounds like your taking cabs a lot of times when you dont need to be. excessive not to mention bad for the environment. arent we in a recession and working to be more green? you have two working legs, try using them.
taking cabs when you don't need to? I'm sorry did I miss the criteria for taking a cab? Do I need a signed note as well?
Yeah, in a recession, they should be glad anyone is taking a cab and paying that outrageous price. I'm sorry not everyone is going to the airport.If you want to drive a limo, do it-if they will hire some of the morons I've ridden with,
It's a service industry-if they don't like it, QUIT! I'm sure MickeyD's will be willing to take them-oh, wait maybe people will eat when they don't need to.
Oh yeah, by the way, I used to drive a cab a long time ago-then I went to school so I didn't have to do that anymore. (Don't I sound elitist?)
I disagree with you. There are many reasons one might take a cab a short distance. And the blog post was pretty clear in stating that she was lazy. However, she had the money and will willing to trade that money for the service that the cab provides. The cabbie should take the fare.
Yes, some of them suck...and some of them don't. A lot of them don't. There are bad apples in every profession, but my experiences with cab drivers in Boston are almost uniformly friendly and often fascinating. Given the challenges of the job--long hours, weather, dealing with a lot of clueless, often inebriated and entitled people, and sometimes dangerous ones, I find that most cabbies are receptive to politeness and a little light conversation. And though I live in a pretty obscure corner of the city, I very rarely have trouble with a cabbie who doesn't know his way around (don't most of them have GPS's at this point?)I have had countless conversations with cab drivers about politics and culture (yes--shockingly those "foreigners" often have a lot of knowledge and insight about these things). I have been driven by a former math professor from Russia, a brilliantly funny and charming WWII veteran in his eighties, an Iranian driver who shared fresh pistachios with me through the coin slot, and countless other entertaining and interesting people. Keep an open mind; be generous; guide the folks who are still finding their way around; tip kindly. Maybe that will help smooth the ride.
As a former cabbie, I wouldn't have said it much differently.
Cabbies generally work 12-hour shifts for relatively short money, and sometimes find themselves in very dangerous situations (they cannot, by law, refuse a fare to any section of the city, and some of those places are, I would guess, not often frequented by some of those doing the complaining here.)
Some of them are not competent, and some of them are rude. You'll find that in every sector of the workforce. However, it's entirely unfair to tar with the same brush those who give good service.
Sorry, I have to dissagree with you on this one. Sadly the competent, polite drivers are the exception, not the rule. This has nothing whatsoever to do with their country of orrigin (to whatever bigoted ass said that) and has everything to do with the testing, or lack thereof, required to become a cab driver. I take cabs frequently and almost always get greated with "how do I get there" when I tell them where I want to go. The best one of these was when I took a cab from my office in the financial district to the Federal Courthouse - a six minute ride - and the cabbie had no idea how to get there (I had lots of bags so I couldn't walk). Once when I asked to be taken from the Financial District to Northeastern, the cab driver tried to take a right over the Fort Point Channel into South Boston to get there. I have never - never - gotten in a cab downtown and not had this question posed when I ask to be taken to Roslindale Square. Having grown up here I am fortunate enough to be able to tell the cabbies how to get just about anywhere. I shudder to think what happens when a tourist gets into one of our mystery machines. As in New York, taxi drivers should be required to take a test on the geography, neighborhoods, and best routes of travel in Boston before being given a hackney license.
Yeah, I have much the same problem. Most drivers do NOT have GPS, and few recognize the name of my street. I'm lucky if they know the name of the cross street a few blocks away - if they do, I can usually let them get that far on their own and then direct them the rest of the way into my little nest of one-way streets. And if I'm calling a taxi to come to my house, I always have to allow extra time for the driver to find their way to the address given.
Strangely, I tend to have better luck with drivers for Brookline or Cambridge companies knowing their way around my neighborhood.
And trying to give those directions to a driver who turns out to be on a cellphone (or bluetooth) is a chronic problem.
All cabbies should be required to take some sort of test involving knowledge of streets and landmarks; not something that involves knowing every side street in a neighborhood, but at least a general knowledge of major roadways and buildings.
I've taken cabs a LOT in Boston, and only twice have I had bad experiences. More often than not I've had cabbies who are incredibly nice, ask me if I have any radio requests or if I want the heat or air conditioning higher, etc. It's a rough job and I know if I did it I wouldn't be half as nice as a lot of the cabbies out there.
When I recently tried to pay for a cab ride from Boston to a nearby suburb, the cabbie (Middle Eastern) became rude and angry that he wasn't getting cash. Then, the cab's card reader declined my card, even though I had almost a zero balance. To resolve the situation, I used the last of my cash to pay the cabbie, so he got his cash in the end.
When I checked with my bank to see why my card was declined, they said that the cab card reader was showing that I was in NYC, even though I had just paid for dinner with the same card in the North End moments earlier. Assuming fraud, the bank put a temporary stop on the card. The bank said they're seeing more and more of this with Boston cabs. Has anyone else had this happen?
I went to pay, and wanted to use the credit card system in the taxi. He got pretty angry and started talking about how much money the credit card companies are taking in the form of fees. I managed to get him to take the credit card by offering a higher tip. The taxi union needs to make a better deal with the credit processors if they don't want to take a big hit for taking credit cards.
You shouldn't have to calm the cabbie down by offering a higher tip. How they set up their credit system is up to them. Id tell him tough luck. I personally couldn't care less if I piss off my cab driver. Tips are earned when you provide amazing service not when you let me know you're pissed.
I do have some sympathy for cab drivers who are unhappy about credit card fees. There's no way around a fee of about 3% plus 50 cents per transaction, and it's probably significantly higher for a system that requires wireless communication.
Boston decided one day that cabs had to take credit cards. I don't think they raised fares at the same time (which would be unfair to people paying cash). Most cabbies rent the cab by the day, and keep the fares minus their gas costs. So any credit card fees are money right out of their pocket.
Of course, this doesn't mean cab drivers should be rude about it. And if they politely mentioned (or posted a sign saying) that they preferred cash, people might try to help them out, instead of turning it into a big argument.
There's no way around a fee of about 3% plus 50 cents
2-2.5%, 20-30 cents, with 30 being the very high side.
In NYC, cabbies lose 5% on credit card fares. See http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/08/nyregion/08taxi.html .
In http://www.universalhub.com/node/25468 , a Boston cabbie says he loses 6%.
Most cities take them. People expect to be able to use them - to the point where my employer insists that I use a credit card for cab fares. That policy originated at the OMB, so it ain't just being mean.
Why don't the cabbies organize and get their issues addressed? Again, being rude to customers just drives people to alternatives - and there are alternatives.
How does every other industry in the world cope?
Do restaurants give you crap for paying with a card? Does CVS? Does the MBTA?
Plenty of small, independent businesses try to discourage credit card use for small purchases.
And they can choose not to take credit cards. Boston cab drivers don't have that option.
why isn't everyone devouring the George Bush memoir?
because I'm not an idiot. It's not ancient history and I don't need him to piss on my leg and tell me it's raining. He can pretend all he wants-"Mission Accomplished"-in a borrowed flight suit. Those of us who served, know better. (and there are more than you can imagine who agree with me)No matter what Fox tells you!
The thing that always gets me is that you'd think they would know this city the best, since they only DRIVE AROUND IT ALL DAY, yet they are the WORST DRIVERS on the road and don't even know where they are going/lanes ending/rights of way/etc. The Huntington/Mass Ave underpass is a prime spot where I give a lot of cabbies the finger for being in the left-most lane and trying to go all the way right to turn onto Mass Ave.
their passengers to their destination, the faster they can get another fare.
And don't forget that, when a Boston cabbie takes a fare from Logan Airport to, say, Woburn, they cannot legally pick up a return fare in Woburn and take them to Boston. The same would apply for a Woburn cabbie taking a fare into Logan Airport. In other words, if they drop off a fare outside of their "home" community the medallion is licensed in, they have to drive back to that community before they can pick up another fare.
So it's no wonder most cabbies drive with almost total discontempt for others on the road.
For the record, I very rarely have the need to take cabs myself, but it's not because of their driving.
... that cabs should be regional and heavily regulated for service quality (and paid better, too).
I've never been to a city with such a messed up and balkanized cab system. I'm not sure why bother with the fixed medalions, either - pass the exams, meet the regulations, get a legal vehicle inspected = you can fix your stickers to your vehicle and get on the road.
Ugh, I've had a few rotten cab experiences myself, if we're sharing.
I was walking to Northeastern once and when I was by the Christian Science Center, I tripped and my ankle snapped...needless to say, walking on a severely sprained ankle is incredibly painful, and I had an appointment to make. Took me forever to get a cab - obviously, a short trip, but a necessary one - and I couldn't get a cab until I offered to pay double the fare in the form of a tip.
Also got a cabbie once who didn't want to give me change for a $20 on a $10 ride, said he didn't want to part with his change. Since a $20 was all I had, I said then I'd pay with credit. That didn't please him either, as he complained then he wouldn't get his money until next week. I told him it was going to be one or the other, or he was going to let me out halfway to my destination without paying, and I'd file a complaint.
He took the cash and that's probably the first and only time I've never tipped a cabbie.
Recently I drove a cab for about a year and a half to make both ends meet; Since I couldn't find a job in my field (Finance).
Believe me when say I can write a book about what I have observed.
All complaints I have read are legitimate and no one should "suffer" for taking a cab. I would say 85% of the drivers are not business and customer service oriented. The Taxi industry is a service provided to consumers;thus the customer comes first. It is your money that you are spending and you should never be treated as a nuisance.
The most common complaint is "short fare" it is aggrevating for the customers to go over their life story to convince the driver to take them 2 blocks. No customer should explain why they need to go a few blocks. Some times people don't feel well, or they have a medical reason and since the drivers don't see a physical challenge; they start giving hard time to their customer.
Most of the time people have important appointments/meetings and they cannot afford to be late. sometimes business men or tourists thusare not familiar with the they prefer to take a cab to get to their destination. The thing is since I never complained about short fares 95% the customer appreciate your service and they tip you pretty good. And I always say short jobs get you the good ones after you drop off. I am not saying that I was perfect all the time but at the end of the shift, after driving for 10 to 12 hours I do get moody/feisty; But I never use foul language or get personal with my customers. This is a tough job, given the fact that you have to worry about the cab lease, the traffic and some unruly customers. That's why being a cab driver requires a lot of patience and self control.
When it comes to paying by credit cards, those machine installed on the back seat are there for a reason. It is the cab driver problem if he has to pay fees to the radio company.If he/she doesn't like it too bad get another job and these days there are a lot of people who would love to drive a cab. Nowadays, people are not willing to carry cash with them. It is a convenience for the customer to pay with a credit/debit card. This is true with business travelers spending cash on a business trip can end up being a fortune. Let alone the fact that they need to keep track of all the receipt. As well as getting reimbursed for their business expenses that may take at least a week (now I am talking as someone with experience in expense reports)
One morething I would like to add is a safety issue. Ladies, if you are taking a cab after a late night out and you are by yourself.Don't get dropped off at the end of the street, ask the driver to take you to the front door and have him wait until you are inside and the door is shut.
I will shut myself right now and I hope every person who takes a cab doesn't have to have to pay for it with emotions, feelings or aggrevation.