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Citizen complaint of the day: The Masshole pedicab driver

An annoyed citizen fumes about a pedicab driver cursing out people on Washington Street in Downtown Crossing yesterday afternoon:

One of the people he threatened was the driver of an ambulance, who he refused to pull over for, so they could go to an emergency. They had their lights and sirens on, and he screamed at them that he was going to "F**k them up if they did not get off his a**." He also made inappropriate gestures at them and others. There were children around that witnessed him doing this as well. He continued to block the path of the ambulance, and ran a red light in the process. Please attend to this matter. We have enough people that break traffic laws in the city. We don't need the pedicabs to start doing it as well.

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If they start citing or ticketing people who act this way in Boston, they'll have cite or ticket half the drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, Pedicab operators, etc.

Behavior that's completely unacceptable anywhere else in the country is commonplace and expected around here.

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No, this behavior was way out of line, even by Boston standards.

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In DTX, there are some sections of narrow street where there is very high curb on both sides (actually, this is common all around downtown - stupidly high curbs. I guess for pedestrian safety/to keep people from pulling up on the sidewalks?) It wouldn't surprise me if it's impossible for the wide ambulances BostonEMS uses, to pass a pedicab on that section of road.

If the ambulance driver leaned on the siren while the pedicab driver was trying to get to a section where he could pull off and out of the way, yeah, that ambulance driver was an asshole - you're already doing everything you can, and if you're ~10 feet in front of one of those sirens, it's way beyond pain threshold, so actually causing hearing damage.

At least in Europe or the UK, crews have to undergo national-level training to use "blues and twos", and amongst the training: don't lean on the siren when people are already aware of you and they cannot do any more to get out of your way.

I've had BostonEMS ambulance drivers "blip" their sirens right behind me as they passed me while I was riding my bike to try and startle me, and the guy in the right-seat looks in the mirror and laughs after they've driven by. Believe it or not, "ambulance crew" doesn't automatically equal "hero" or even "good person", and there is systemic hatred of cyclists in the US that leads people to feel fully entitled and comfortable harassing us or worse.

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...has a really really high percentage of nogoods.

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their siren qualify them as an a-hole? Because they're DOING THEIR JOB?!?

Perhaps if ambulance drivers actually used their sirens properly and consistently (and the "bilp blip" BS does NOT qualify), then people would be more likely to yield to them.

Oh wait, but that would upset the "urban noise is the big bad boogeyman and must be stopped at all costs, regardless of the reason for said noise" crowd. What's a delay in getting critical patients to the hospital as long as their selfish "I want it as quiet as possible" demands are met, right?

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Ok, I guess it's possible that rude ambulance crews exist.

But did you read the report? The pedicabbie was screaming and cursing at a lot of people, not just the ambulance.

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Oh my stars and garters! That's highly irregular and certainly socially unacceptable!

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It's shocking to me how many people put things on citizens connect that CLEARLY should have been directed to 911

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This comes up a lot on Twitter, as well, and when people get called out about tweeting some awful thing, the response is often: They did call 911, then they tweeted about it.

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Agreed, but I think there's a reluctance to call 911 for things that BPD really does want you to call 911 for (anything involving a taxi, for instance). The situation here (notwithstanding the ambulance) isn't quite what most people consider an "emergency" and that's what they think 911 is reserved for.

And no one wants to be that person who gets skewered online for the truly frivolous 911 call (my pizza didn't have pepperoni!).

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A lot of us had it hammered into our impressionable little skulls long ago that 911 is for life-or-death situations. I seem to recall the phrase "911 is for medical emergencies ONLY" in a lot of PSAs in the 90s. Granted that was in Texas, maybe it was never like that here?

Here I've been chided for calling the local station instead of 911 in a theft/vandalism situation where the perps were long gone and it really did not seem like any kind of emergency to me. Plus, when in doubt, I prefer to minimize contact with police, many of whom treat callers and bystanders with as much hostility as they would a suspect. Not that the Citizens Connect crew are real prizes either, but there's a limit to how badly they can screw up your day compared to a policeman in a foul mood.

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Is logged by the Department and is used to help allocate funds across the various districts. So if you'd like to see stepped up patrols, the knowledge that more calls are coming in might help.

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to the wonderful world of the DTX!

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So when does Uber get into this space and finally make the operators have accountability for their assholish behavior via a rating system?

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... would NEVER do such a thing?

Or is it because we expect it of them?

BTW, pedicab drivers work for tips, because the paid driver lobby gamed the system and the city won't let them actually work for wages, so such inappropriate behavior might have a direct cost.

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that the inappropriate behavior is the direct cost of not getting regular wages?

I would agree with you that they should get wages, but I fail to see how that's at all related to what appears to be possibly dangerous, obstructive behavior from someone tasked with using public thoroughfares in a responsible manner.

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Not getting paid is a cost of inappropriate behavior when you work for tips.

I'm wondering why there were no pictures of said pedicab? Especially since the reporting citizen seems to have followed it for a good distance? I also wonder, given that these cabs are numbered and prominently labeled, if the ambulance driver in the story reported it?

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Not everyone carries a camera with them at all times, or has the mentality that they have to take pictures of everything.

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I'm sure there exist cab drivers who have done things like this. But it's not *news*.

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There are CHILDREN in DTX!!!!!! PLEASE think of the children! Won't somebody please think of the children!?

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are from whom the pedicab driver learned all those words.

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the worst thing that happened in DTX that day. Or even at that exact moment.

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I have noticed a huge jump in foot traffic since the Roche Bros opened. Seems to be a huge draw so far.

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getting better. But still has a very long way to go and is generally sketchy as hell, especially after the 9-5 crowd leaves.

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As Grandpa used to say, "This is not a competition to see who's the worst." The fact that there's a worse asshole down the street doesn't excuse the asshole right here from being called out.

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You misinterpreted the general disdain for that part of the city that I was trying to convey.

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You misinterpreted the general disdain for that part of the city that I was trying to convey.

You weren't exactly subtle, and I got you loud and clear. You're clearly the type who enjoys pissing in the punch bowl. Enjoy your recreational disdain elsewhere; the more you fester in your little cabbage patch, the less your disdain is relevant or based on reality, but don't let that stop you. It's a lame way to have fun, but if it's all you got...

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you've peered right through my screen, and into my soul.

Seriously though, is everything ok? I simply made a snide comment about how sketchy DTX is, while admitting it has come a long way and is still improving, and you go and get all borderline wax poetic on me.

Also, for what it's worth regarding the "reality" piece, with the exception of homicide, all crimes in A-1 are outpacing last year's rates through 5/10, according to BPD news. I did a quick search to try to find DTX specific rates but to no avail.

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Now which part of Downtown crossing is so impossibly narrow that a small pedicab could actually manage to block the ENTIRE street and prevent an ambulance driver – presumably well experienced – from driving around?

Even if there was such a vile human who would actually cause his cab to block an ambulance and then belligerently scold that ambulance (while I imagine such a person exists, I find it incredible that he works pedicab, where you are mainly tipped for graciousness and courtesy), I meanwhile can't think of too many places in Downtown Crossing that an ambulance couldn't get through. nor are there many places in DTX where there aren't about 15 foot police just WAITING for these moments to happen so that they have something to do.

So much of this sounds like such a lovely fairy tale. Was there a mean dragon fighting a warlock too in front of Payless Shoes?

The only believable part of this imaginary story is that there is clearly a troll in the scenario. And he managed to get published on the Hub.

But hey, making up stories to troll for time on Hub is the American way, right!

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I can think of quite a few, unless the ambulance driver went up on the sidewalk. All you have to do is block the center of the street and there isn't room to get around and clear the sidewalk.

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Anyone who can't imagine where a pedicab could block an ambulance has never been to DTX, despite what they claim. That area in particular on the map. Winter Street is the widest street in the area, and the occasional car who drives down there is usually hindered by pedestrians and delivery trucks.

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As a pedicab driver, this driver is a jerk (if this is account is true) and none of us would argue with that. But also, as a pedicab driver, the only road we would take through DTX (as you so lovingly describe this wonderful slice of Boston) is Washington Street. There is no point on going up Winter Street (it is a hill that puts you on a one way back from where you came) or down Winter Street (crowded with pedestrians, useless addition of miles to your day if you are trying to make it to Faneuil). The rest of this area is no parking and the roads are more than clear to pass an ambulance by a pedicab.

So yeah, all pedicabbers have been to "DTX" but they only travel on Washington through the area, which is plenty wide.
Again, as someone who has been doing this for 8 years, both sides seem fishy. If this occurred as described, the person is a crappy pedicab driver and will not last long in this job. We are here to please the public as it is our job and this runs counter to our job, our financial interests, and our love of the city.

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