The Hack reports on the WBUR reporter who rode with him one night for a story about Boston cab drivers:
All this chatting distracted me. I found myself driving aimlessly. Other cabs had cut in front of me to pick up fares I should have stopped for. I was getting frustrated.
"What about the airport?" Adam asked. "You must get a lot of good fares from there."
Actually, I hardly ever go to the airport, other than to drop off fares from the city. The taxi pool at Logan is a black hole, a place where hundreds of cabs cram themselves into a parking lot and become trapped for hours on end. By the time you get out of there you're likely only to get some passenger going to a downtown hotels. It's not worth it.
Channel 7 reports on one woman's terrifying ride after the guy tried to drop him and her friend off at the wrong Quincy address and he refused to take them to the right place. The report doesn't specify if he's a potential entrant in the "Boston cabbies suck" file, but he did pick them up at a Boston nightclub, which would seem to indicate he's a Boston hack.
Jenna recounts two recent rides, including one with a cab driver who demanded she not talk at all during the ride.
The Hack reports on a pair of contrasting riders in his cab. With bonus side diversion to Augusta to see the rich people fly into town in their private jets to visit their kids at summer camp.
Police: Cabbie pulled out of taxi and stomped on Comm. Ave. by two fares who didn't believe they were on Comm. Ave.By adamg - 6/26/10 - 2:08 pm
Boston Police report arresting a pair of Allston residents on charges they beat up a cabbie in Kenmore Square because they allegedly didn't believe he was driving them home on Comm. Ave. as they'd asked.
The victim, after some time of being verbally abused by the passengers, and noticing their increasing aggressive behavior, decided to pull over in Kenmore Square and terminate the fare. Once stopped, the passengers/suspects pulled him out of the cab and started punching and kicking him until passersby stopped and helped the victim. The suspects then kicked and broke the driver’s side headlight of the taxi along with the driver’s side door.
Andrew Melchiorri, 22, and Jeffrey Cammarata, 25, were arrested on charges of assault and battery, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and willful, malicious destruction of property. The cabbie had picked them up early this morning on Congress near Faneuil Hall.
Paola Ferrer snaps a photo of cabbies idling in the new bike lane on Comm. Ave at Kenmore Square.
The Hack reports:
... The traffic must be backed up at least a couple of blocks, for the long, angry wails of car horns start from a distance, then echo and reverberate around the high-rise buildings. As the traffic moves forward the horns become louder and more distinct. One old lady in a beat up Buick must be late for her hairdresser because she has been leaning on the horn pretty much non-stop for 10 minutes. Once she sees what the problem is, she doesn't let up, but all the pedestrians on the street are taking notice, turning around to see who this crazy person is. The old woman just keeps looking straight ahead, leaning against the horn. ....
Boston Police report a sting yesterday netted a cabbie who picked up an able-bodied rider even though he'd been dispatched to pick up a wheelchair user on Berkeley Street.
As part of the sting, officers, acting in an undercover capacity, called the driver's dispatcher and made a specific request for a WAV (wheelchair accessible vehicle) to respond to 154 Berkeley Street. In the process of making the call, officers asked for a specific cab, going as far as to describe the vehicle by its medallion number.
After the call was made, officers, operating an unmarked cruiser, trailed the cab as it made its way to the pre-arranged pick up location: 154 Berkeley Street. While en route to call, the cab driver observed an individual looking for a ride. When the individual motioned the driver to pull over, instead of continuing on to the pre-arranged pick up location, the driver pulled over and picked up the fare. Upon seeing this, officers activated their emergency equipment (lights & sirens) and stopped the cab. When asked to explain why he failed to pick up the pre-arranged fare, the cab driver was unable to provide a rational or reasonable explanation.
Hackneyed Sojourn gives the other side of the story, from the front seat, of all those people who just know the cab driver is taking them out of the way to run up the fare:
... In one recent case, I had a group heading a good number of towns away and I had to cross through the city for a couple of miles before picking up the highway. At various lights one passenger or another would utter "left" or "right", not actually requesting the turn, but suggesting they knew it should be made, thus 'proving' to me they knew their way around, so I better not screw them (God help the poor driver who's new or from another country who might take such directions seriously). I continued along as if not hearing, and on those occasions when a turn suggestion became shrill or voiced by more than one, I simply pointed straight ahead with my finger and nodded forward. Soon enough we were on the main highway and things proceeded fairly pleasantly, until I took the necessary split from one highway to another. Shortly one began screaming that I'd already driven past their town, while another in a panic declared we were on the wrong highway. ...
The council this week agreed to schedule a hearing on whether forcing Boston cabs to be equipped with credit-card machines last year is hurting individual drivers.
In a formal call for a hearing, Councilors Maureen Feeney and Stephen Murphy say the city's "radio associations" may be charging individual drivers more than they should (they're allowed to charge drivers 6% per transaction even if their banks charge less), the drivers get hit with additional bank fees, they can't access their money immediately and stupid passengers vandalize the machines.
Councilors Sal LaMattina, Charles Yancey, Bill Linehan, Chuck Turner and Rob Consalvo also signed onto the Feeney/Murphy resolution, which now goes to the council's Committee on City and Neighborhood Services and Veterans Affairs to get a hearing date.
Hackneyed Sojourn recalls the days when he drove a cab for Town Taxi, the preferred coach of the moneyed classes on Beacon Hill:
... There was protocol to be followed. After retrieving the initial fare, I would be given the name and address for the next: "Mrs._______ at ______", and so on. 'Drivuh' was to open doors and assist with the disentanglement of garments stuck on to any disintegrating shards of door panel. Windows were to be kept up, excepting my own, 'just a little', as the preservation of coiffure was paramount. This in turn led to the cab's cabin filling with the exhaust of a barely attached muffler and the blue smoke of burnt oil wafting in from the rusted out holes on the floor. As we shocklessly bounced from one address to another, the first one in would often look longingly at her closed window, but never succumb to the temptation of actually opening it. ...
The Channel 25 anchor/reporter learns first hand that 1:30 a.m. is not a good time for getting a cab in the Financial District.
SuperMark reports that when his cab driver told him after an $18 ride that his cab's credit-card reader was broken, he told the guy he only had $8 on him and that he was breaking the law by driving around with a busted reader. Miraculously, the cab driver managed to get the reader to work.
They're breaking the law. Channel 4 reports that under city regulations, cabbies with broken credit-card readers aren't supposed to be driving around at all.
Judge rules Boston can't force cabbies to buy hybrids they can crash while talking on their cell phonesBy adamg - 8/14/09 - 1:38 pm
The Hack reports that foreign riders are the worst but that everybody seems to be tipping less these days:
... I recently had one guy who had a $6.25 fare, handed me a $100 bill and then got ticked off that I didn't have the coin on hand so he could leave me a fifty-cent tip. Instead, I got bupkus.
Johnathan King reports that on a trip back from Logan yesterday, he rode in a cab that was actually equipped with a credit-card machine (whadaya know, city regulations actually work). Only when he got to the end of his ride, the driver told him the reader, which spent the entire trip displaying pretty pictures and information from Boston Police, "isn't actually up and running yet."
... "Cab Ten-Twenty-One, do you know where you are? The customer is waiting!"
This must be 1021's first night on the job. After getting hired, all newbies are supposed to ride around with an experienced driver for a couple nights in order to learn the ropes. But it seems 1021 either lied, telling the owner he already had experience, or that somehow he fell through the cracks and was inadvertently sent out onto the streets cold. That or he is just a really, really slow learner.
"Cab Ten-Twenty-One, do you have a GPS?... Yes? Well, USE IT!" ...
Now cab drivers are pissed that the mean city is going to make them accept credit cards. Next up: Cabbies complain about the new regulation that makes them wear clean clothes.
The Globe reports at-large Councilor Stephen Murphy wants a six-month moratorium on medallion transfers while and the rest of the council consider the city's new tax regs, which require cabs to be hybrids by 2015 and which require cab owners to ensure their vehicles - and drivers - are actually clean.
The more cynical might assume the councilor is acting now because he sees a rare chance to get his name in the paper. But maybe acting seven months after Tom Menino and Police Commissioner Ed Davis announced the new requirements is speedy in council time.
A group of Boston cab owners has sued the city over its requirement that all cabs be hybrids by 2015, charging the requirement to buy only new hybrids would put them out of business and violates federal clean-air and car-mileage laws.
The cabbies, who say they collectively own 8% of the city's current fleet, say they are not opposed to hybrids in general, but that forcing them to buy only new vehicles, rather than letting them buy used ones - or conventional cars with nearly as good fuel efficiency - will make it economically unfeasible for them to continue driving. Also, federal clean-air and fuel-economy laws bar states or cities from requiring tougher regulations, they charge.
The Outraged Liberal's been wondering about that:
Now that gasoline prices have plummeted, shouldn't Boston taxi fares do the same? Yeah, I know, pretty stupid. Too much tryptophan-induced delirium I guess. But at the very least, shouldn't the increased rates only apply to cabs that don't have a "Check Engine" light illuminating the dashboard? ...