Sara photographed the cab line at Logan around 12:45 this morning.
An Atlantic article on cab-alternative Uber focuses on Washington, DC, but a lot of it sounds familiar:
Almost all the everyday complaints about cabs trace back to this regulatory cocktail. Drivers won’t take you to the outer reaches of your metropolitan area? The regulated fares won’t let them charge you more to recover the cost of dead-heading back without a return customer. Cabs are poorly maintained? Blame restricted competition, and the inability to charge for better quality. Cabbies drive like maniacs? With high fixed costs for cars and gas, and no way to increase their earnings except by finding another fare, is it any wonder that they try to get from place to place as fast as possible?
A disgruntled employee at a local cab company gets to the bottom of a mystery that's been plaguing him and co-workers since the required introduction of credit-card readers: People who leave things behind keep calling up asking to have Cab 1051 searched:
Every time someone runs a credit card in a Boston Cab with a particular credit card processing company it shows up on their card as "Boston Cab 1051" This is driving us ape shit. Someone even wrote a Yelp review on a company that has nothing to do with Boston Cab 1051 that says "1051 where are you". Those guys tell me they get 10 Boston Cab 1051 calls A DAY.
Mr. Magellan reports on an incident that happened as he was getting out of a cab at Tremont and Park Saturday night:
[T]wo girls were about to get in. Then two guys came up and tried to steal it from them. One of the girls just got in the cab and one of the guys called her a "disrespectful bitch" and then proceeded to lean in the backseat and punch her...hard. I couldn't see where/if he landed any punches but no doubt that girl would have been really hurt. His friend started messing with me but luckily I wasn't about to have any of that. The other girl got in the cab as the two guys were threatening me and then the cab took off. The cab peeled out and the guy chased it to a red light, where the cabbie had no choice and just ran the light.
Man's cab ride to East Boston ends at police station when cabbie refuses to let him out over toll disputeBy adamg - 1/3/12 - 3:41 pm
Matt Karolian reports a harrowing ride today with a cabbie who refused to accept that city regulations prohibit him from charging the cost of the return toll to people headed to East Boston - a ride that ended at Boston Police District A-7, where the cabbie wanted Karolian charged with fare evasion and Karolian threatened to press a kidnapping charge.
Apparently the bike lane on Comm. Ave. is now a cab stand. 8 cabs in a row were parked there this morning around 8:40.
Boston Police report arresting a pair of Milton residents who they say hailed a cab in the 1100 block of Blue Hill Avenue and had him drive around for awhile before directing him to the nearby Mac's Guest House on Callender Street:
The male suspect got out and walked up to the victim’s window and asked the victim how much he owed for the ride. According to the victim, when he told the suspect what the fare was, he pulled out a gun, threatened the victim and demanded all the victim's money. The suspects then took the victim’s money and fled.
Officers went into Mac's and asked if anybody had checked in recently. When told, why, yes, a couple just checked in, police went to their room and found Jocelyn L. Ashley, 20 and Nlorkeahwon W. Paye, 26, whom the driver identified as his passengers. They were then arrested for armed robbery, police say.
With nothing else to do as he slowly inches to the front of a taxi line at Terminal B, Paul Levy analyses the taxi dispatching problem and comes up with a possible solution to the long lines caused, he said, not by demand, but by the way taxis are dispatched from the central cab parking area.
At a sometimes contentious hearing on taxi regulation - at which cabbies revealed plans to sue the city over its credit-card requirements - drivers, city councilors and the city taxi czar agreed on one point: The city needs to crack down on unregulated livery drivers and out-of-town cabbies stealing business from the locals.
All sides agreed drivers of black - and now sometimes white - cars need to finally come under city regulations. All sides raised the specter of livery drivers attacking passengers and driving without background checks.
"We have no idea what kind of crazies are driving these liveries," said City Councilor Maureen Feeney, who called for the hearing to discuss removing taxi regulation from police and giving it to some sort of citizen commission that would include drivers, representatives of the local hospitality industry and some large employers, along with somebody from BPD. Nobody mentioned representation for riders until Lumina Gershfield, director of the Future Boston Alliance asked for it late in the hearing.
City councilors today quickly warmed to a proposal to require Boston cabs to be painted a common color, like in New York, as a way to help confused people figure out which cars are legally licensed - and their drivers subjected to background checks - and which are unregulated gypsy cabs.
Mark Cohen, the director of licensing for the police hackney division, told councilors at a hearing today he already has a plan ready to go. Cohen said students at Suffolk University drafted a single-color plan - they started with a focus group of rape counselors, since finding a cab quickly can be an issue for rape victims.
The color they came up with? Green. Like the Celtics.
One cab driver said the city enacted a partial color scheme several years ago - all Boston cabs must have white on them - and said he would be concerned about expenses if the city suddenly required all cabs to be repainted, and about competition from cabbies in surrounding towns who would match the paint scheme to try to pick up illegal fares in Boston.
The Council's Committee on Public Safety holds a hearing Thursday on a proposal by Councilor Maureen Feeney (Dorchester) to create a civilian taxi board to oversee the city's medallion cab fleet.
Feeney says regulations pushed by Mayor Tom Menino and enacted by the police department's hackney unit three years ago that require owners to start buying hybrid cabs, install credit-card machines and wash their cabs once a day were simply too stringent, especially in a difficult economy. Cab drivers successfully sued to block the hybrid requirement but have been unable to shake the credit-card or cleanliness requirements.
A roving UHub photographer noticed this unusual sight on Mass. Ave. in North Cambridge on Sunday, reports:
The strange thing: There were no other planters in sight. And you can't tell from the photo but it was full of dirt, too.
Cabbies getting reminder this week: Don't try charging people tolls for going to East Boston outside the airportBy adamg - 6/1/11 - 6:36 am
The city's sending notes to cabdrivers this week reminding them to knock it off when it comes to trying to get East Boston residents and visitors the cost of the tolls on the way back, because that's illegal.
Via Jim Correale, who reports:
I rarely use taxis in Boston, but the last time I took one to come home, the driver attempted to tack on a few bucks for the toll. He didn't argue with me when I told him that doing so was illegal, but he would have got me if I didn't know better. The City asks that people report if cabbies attempt to charge the extra fee.
A Brookline cab driver who lost control exiting Storrow Drive at Park Drive wound up in the Muddy River this morning, the Boston Fire Department reports.
The cabbie got himself out of his vehicle OK; a tow truck and a hazmat crew responded to remove the cab and clean up anything it might have left behind.
Or failing that, they want card readers that don't fail so often. WBUR reports on an angry meeting yesterday among cabbies, two credit-card processing companies and the Boston hackney unit.
Boston Police report arresting a Winthrop man on charges he drove off in a cab when the driver got out.
According to police, Paul Delellis, 41, got into the front seat of a cab at State and Kilby streets around 11:50 p.m. yesterday. The driver asked him to sit in the back, but Delellis refused to move, police say:
At this point, the operator informed the suspect that he was going to call the police. However, when the operator got out of his cab to make the call, the suspect, still sitting in the front seat, slid behind the wheel of the car and drove off. According to the victim, the suspect drove his car a short ways, exited the car and fled on foot. The suspect was described as a white male in his forties with a bald head.
A detail cop noticed a 40-something bald white guy and detained him for other officers to bring the cabbie over and ID him. He was charged with receiving a stolen motor vehicle.
All those cabbies feigning credit-card problems making it tough on drivers who really do have broken card readersBy adamg - 2/15/11 - 8:38 am
WBUR continues its look at the state of Boston taxis.
Mwokeji says there have been many cases where the machine goes down and a customer just flat out refuses to pay. Often, he says, they think he's lying because drivers have earned that reputation. But there is nothing he can do about it.
'BUR also quotes a fleet owner who claims Boston cabs have gone from "shaggy, shifty, sleazy to where it's pretty much all spit and polish right now, and high tech."