Why it sucks to be a Boston cab driver

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    And now you know why...

    the owners of Boston Cab are all up in arms over Uber. Along with other scumbag owners in other major American cities, they are suing Uber for essentially becoming a cab company without paying the 600K for a medallion. Mind you, most of these owners paid short money for their medallions back in the day and have used them as licenses to print money ever since.

    I've noted recently that some of the more industrious cab drivers have now gone out and bought older Lincoln Town Cars and have hooked up with Uber. I have been paying close attention to the Uber drivers lately and I can tell you again that now that it is slamming busy in the high end car service the quality of Uber drivers is on the wane. Sitting at the Charles Hotel the other day, I watched an Uber driver in a 10 year old Town Car with 3 passengers whip the car around in the middle of the street to drop his people off IN the middle of the street. A no no, for sure. The driver let them out and then lit up a cigarette and took off to his next run.

    Then there's the client of mine who used Uber to try and get his daughter from the Carney Hospital to Davio's to join him for dinner. He had to leave the restaurant to drive to Cambridge, because the Uber driver(who was the cousin of the car's owner just looking to make a few extra bucks and not a regular driver) was lost and ended up in Arlington Street, Cambridge all because the driver claimed to have forgot his GPS.

    So now drivers are smartening up and realizing they can make real money doing the same thing they were doing for scumbags like Eddie Tutunjian and Brett Barenholtz, without having to deal with the legalized extortion that pervades the Boston taxi industry. On the other hand if the cab drivers who are now starting to make up the bulk of Uber drivers bring their previous I don't really give a fuck about the person in the back seat mentality to Uber, you might see a once great idea go down the tubes. And it would be a real shame to see the lowlifes that make up the majority of large cab fleet owners win this one.

    My advice to Uber customers, feedback is taken very seriously by the folks at Uber. If your driver behaves like a cabbie, let them know in the feedback. Unlike cab owners who don't care about their riders for the most part, Uber really wants to know which of their drivers suck and which ones don't.

    FYI, a better article on Tutunjian can be found here:

    http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2006/05/fare-game/

    Thing about Uber

    is if the driver gets too many bad reviews, he's essentially blacklisted and fired.

    Bad service actually has consequences, because Uber's customers are the people who need cab service, and not the drivers like most of the medallion serviced cabs.

    As a whole, we need to do away with the medallion system and stop what is essentially a patronage, state imposed monopoly system. Sure, we can have regulations on safety and being bonded / insured for car ferrying work, but it's become painfully obvious that something has gone wrong with the idea behind the medallion system.

    (Add liquor license system, and opening a restaurant in Boston to that list too)

    shill

    I love how every time someone mentions Boston Cabs or taxis in Massachusetts in general someone pops up on the internet extolling the virtues of Uber and this one even accuses Uber of becoming like Boston Cab.

    I have never read a negative review of Walgreens that said "fuck this shit bro I am using Osco Drug from now on" This is not at all suspicious behavior right? There is no chance Uber is paying people to continually mention them and complain about how bad Boston Cabs suck from one end of the Boston internet to the other right?

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    You mad bro?

    Must be new around here if you never seen a negative review on the fraking internet....

    Maybe time to upgrade that pay as you go brick cellphone you're always on when you're supposed to be getting people from A to B?

    Boston Cabs

    THE BOSTON CAB FIASCO DOES SUCK FROM ONE END TO THE OTHER. BOSTON CABS STINK, THEY ARE DIRTY , WINDOWS DON'T WORK SO NO FRESH AIR , BACK SEATS TOO SMALL, HAVETO ENTER CAB SIDEWAYS, CABBIES DON'T KNOW WHERE THEY ARE GOING, THEY EAT IN THE CAB AND THEY SIT ON THEIR F** A**** AT HOTELS WHICH MAKES IT IMPOSSIBLE TO FLAG ONE DOWN !!!!
    AND BY THE WAY, UBER HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS COMMENT, ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS TAKE A BOSTON CAB RIDE AND YOU WILL EXPERIENCE ALL THAT I'VE MENTIONED, FIRST HAND. BOSTON CABS SUCK !

    shill

    I love how every time someone mentions Boston Cabs or taxis in Massachusetts in general someone pops up on the internet extolling the virtues of Uber and this one even accuses Uber of becoming like Boston Cab.

    I have never read a negative review of Walgreens that said "fuck this shit bro I am using Osco Drug from now on" This is not at all suspicious behavior right? There is no chance Uber is paying people to continually mention them and complain about how bad Boston Cabs suck from one end of the Boston internet to the other right?

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    Not a shill

    Just another person who is sick and fucking tired of the shit ass taxi services and their shitty drivers with their shitty attitudes.

    My company finally stopped reimbursing for cabs in Boston. We are required to call Uber or Halo. Period. Same goes for the people we pay to travel to Boston for meetings - one too many times the "credit card machine didn't work" and the cabbie kept the meter on while the guest went into the hotel to get cash.

    ENOUGH AND NEVER AGAIN! It is one thing when you know they are shit eating shitheads gouging for fares. Quite another when they pull their shitty shit on guests arriving late at night in a city they do not know.

    Corporate policy, asshole. Stop being such a shitbrained idiot and start listening to why people HATE AND DESPISE CABS IN BOSTON!

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    Cab vs Uber

    "......and the cabbie kept the meter on while the guest went into the hotel to get cash."

    The rule is - cabbie must keep his meter on until he is free to move on to his next fair.

    boyboyds,
    former Boston cab driver

    Uber drivers

    All uber drivers half to buy the Lincoln town car exe, otherwise uber won't hire u so buying old town cars don't work so this storie is untrue make sure u get the FAQ about something before u write it....

    Shocked, shocked am I!

    The Boston (or any) taxi industry is a cesspool of corruption, regulatory capture, and poor service due to an effective oligopoly with no checks or balances? Excuse me while I clutch my pearls!

    I can't say more about Uber than the previous poster, but I absolutely only use Uber now. I've tried complaining about poor taxi service in the past to both the dispatchers and the licensing commission, and literally had both laugh in my face (over the phone). Credit card machines that magically don't work? Cars with duct tape seats and no shocks? Partitions so cramped you can't even get in the car? Well, who are you going to use instead?

    I'd love to see real reform in a taxi lobby -- unrestricted medallion licensing, reputation management, option to take whatever cab you like, not the first one in line -- but I can't see that happening. So, I'd rather see them suffer and burn for all the misery they've put us through for years.

    (Oh, and happy easter!)

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    You actually can take the

    You actually can take the first one in line you like. The customer is always right. The "first in line" rule is there to keep cabbies honest not to forbid the customer from taking who they like.

    If there were no "first in line rule" I could park on cab stands jump out and solicit people with my pearly white smile and that wouldn't be fair to the other guys in line.

    If you want to walk down the line and pick who you like you can. If someone says something just say "I want him and thats it" that will be it.

    Agreed with anon2. The city

    Agreed with anon2. The city or state should have some basic licensing requirements for livery services (criminal check, safety inspection on vehicle, etc.), but should not be in the business of regulating the number of vehicles on the road.

    Sad to hear that quality is declining at uber. Seems like such a good idea.

    Don't get me wrong

    I am in no way saying that Uber is on a steady decline. Quite the opposite. I just want readers to know that some of the bad apples that drove cab are bringing their no customer service I'm only out for myself mentality to Uber, diluting what could be a great brand.

    I'm old school. I got out of driving cab because of the asshole owners and got into the limo business because the hallmark of a good limo company and a good chauffeur is service. Every time someone (no matter who they are) gets in one of my cars, they know they will be able to conduct their affairs without worry and that they are getting the highest level of service.

    The Boston cab industry is one where they knew they were they only game in town for years and now that Uber has come along and offered service at a level that Bostonians have needed for years, assholes like those who are suing Uber and claiming it's because they skirt regulations are only doing so because they only care about the money they will no longer be able to squeeze out of a fed up populace who previously had no alternative.

    All I'm saying is if you have a good Uber experience, let Uber know. if you have a bad experience, you should really let Uber know. You'll be doing your fellow Uber riders a solid.

    Bribery?

    While I understand that the drivers are being exploited, how is it illegal bribery (as the Globe writes) for drivers to be giving $5-20 to the guys handing out car keys?

    Why it doesn't suck to be a Boston chauffeur

    I'm in a good mood today and it's Easter, kiddies. So today only I'll lay not one but two of my favorite family friendly Boston celebrity stories as an Easter egg!. Off topic, I know, but WTF.

    They are both innocuous and in no way actionable!

    I'll write them up if I get 10 likes for this post! Hint: one involves a cast member from "Cheers"!

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    OK! Here you go!

    1. It was beautiful spring day in front of the Four Seasons. I was only a couple of years into driving and still got a little starstruck. I was just standing around waiting for a client when all of a sudden a very nattily attired gentleman, complete with cravat, exited the hotel and started to walk out onto the street.

    It was The Incredible Dr. Phibes himself, Vincent Price.

    He nodded at me. I was too shocked to do anything bit smile like a goof. He then turned to walk up Boylston Street when he was stopped in front of me by a pair of well dressed octogenarian sisters.

    "Excuse me?" one said.

    "Yes, ma'am, how may I help you?" Mr. Price replied.

    "My sister and I loved you in Cocoon" said the woman.

    "Well, thank you very much, that's very kind of you to say. Enjoy your day, ladies" said Mr. Price.

    As they walked on Mr. Price then looked at me, winked and said,,

    "I didn't have the heart to tell them".

    2. George Wendt was in town promoting a movie called "Plain Clothes". He was doing the usual spate of interviews in his suite when publicist lady asked him if he'd ever been to Cheers. He said no, but maybe he should go, as it couldn't hurt to be seen there. Publicist lady asked me to take a ride over to Cheers and scope out the scene. It was a Tuesday night as I recall and there weren't too many people in Cheers. I asked the doorman if I brought a celebrity by, would he think it was cool and did he think the celeb would get hassled? He replied that there were mostly regulars in that night and he didn't think so. He then asked who the celeb was.

    "Steven Tyler" I replied.

    He then said no one would bother him there. So I went and reported my findings back to publicist lady. We then all trotted over to Cheers, where I parked out front and followed them, per publicist lady's request, in case they felt a hasty retreat was warranted. They only planned only having a beer,snapping a few photos and outta there.

    Wendt walks down the stairs and he and publicist lady park themselves onto a couple of stools. Now Wendt had lost some weight while the show was on hiatus, so people didn't recognize him right away. I was by the exit just in case and watched as several people walked by and looked and were like....ehh...he kinda...no..where's the beer belly....

    Finally one of the more soused patrons just said what the heck, walked up to Wendt and said meekly:

    "Norm?"

    To which Wendt replied:

    "Yup"

    And then everyone in the place exploded with one loud "Norm!".

    It was hilarious. And what was planned to be a quick visit lasted 3 hours.

    Bonus egg!

    I was driving Shelley Long and her family when she asked me to park the car down the street from Cheers so no one would notice her in sunglasses and her hair up as she had her husband take an incognito shot of her and her kids standing in front of Cheers with about 30 people in line who had no idea it was her in the background!

    Happy Easter!

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    A couple of stories about cabbies

    I liked this article quite a bit, especially since I have had a couple of relevant experiences in the past month that had me thinking about the cab industry and feeling bad for cab drivers.

    I had to go to court a couple of weeks ago because some dude at the shelter where I work had gotten agitated and decided to snatch my glasses off my face and crush them in his hand. While waiting for that case to be called I got to watch a few poor suckers get dealt with fairly harshly by the presiding judge. One of them was an African-born cab driver. His crime was having a Brookline medallion- not a Boston one- and attempting to pick up some young women exiting a downtown nightclub, which I guess you can only do if you've been called and dispatched to that location. He kept trying to give the prosecutor, sort of a callous individual who seemed to be having a little too much fun with him, some kind of document proving that he had been dispatched to the location. He didn't seem to have too much of a clue about what was happening to him, and when his case got called he asked for a lawyer, but the judge said, "No, we're doing this now." The cop said he was off-duty when he saw the women get in the Brookline cab, and he asked them if they had called the cab specifically. They said no, got out, and got in another cab. Needless to say, they weren't called as witnesses. The cab driver gave his document to the judge, indicating that it was a fax from the dispatcher saying that he had indeed been dispatched to that location to pick up somebody. The prosecutor argued that the dispatcher hadn't been called as a witness, the document wasn't notarized, etc. The judge found the driver guilty and ordered him to pay a $500 fine, which I'm pretty certain came right out of his pocket, regardless of whether he had in fact been dispatched there by the medallion owner. I thought it was quite possible that somebody had called the cab to the nightclub, maybe not the young women who actually got in the cab, but somebody. I didn't think the state had proved its case "beyond a reasonable doubt", I thought the fine was excessive, I wondered why the cop didn't have better things to do with himself, and I was just put off by the whole thing.

    If your eyes haven't glazed over by now, I'll share the second story. I'm a part-time tax preparer at Liberty tax. A cab driver came in a few weeks ago to do his taxes. He had a document saying that he had made $50,000 or so in fares and tips. He also had a bunch of gas receipts. I broke the bad news to him, that he and his wife would end up owing the feds a couple of thousand and the state a similar amount. After we talked a little more he told me that he paid the medallion owner every day to take the cab out, something like ninety bucks a pop. Needless to say, this would make a huge difference in his taxes, so I told him to bring the receipts. He said he didn't have them, that they never gave him receipts. Now, after reading this Globe story, I believe him. And if there are no receipts, it sounds a lot like these cab companies are probably evading taxes on the income they get from the drivers.

    I don't know for sure, but I

    I don't know for sure, but I suspect that $500 fine is considered an administrative violation, not a criminal conviction. So the state doesn't need to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, and you don't have the right to a free lawyer.

    It makes sense that they made a big deal about this. If they didn't enforce these protectionist rules, it would undermine the multimillion dollar value of the medallions held by a few rich guys.

    Is City Hall paying attention?

    So now we know that Boston cabs suck for the passengers, suck for the cabbies, and are awesome for cab company owners (at the direct expense of the previous two groups). Money is being made hand over fist and not counted or taxed. Will City Hall take notice and actually do something?

    I'm not holding my breath, but we'll see.

    BPD Hackney's a disgrace

    The real villain of the piece is Hackney's Mark Cohen. There are existing regulations in place to protect the workers, but Cohen chooses not to enforce them because he thinks they're "bogus." The Globe is being overly generous in calling Hackney's Duce Cohen "remarkably uninformed." Not investigating the missing $75k a year that's gone missing from the taxi drivers' bereavement fund is quite a bit more sinister than "uninformed."