Wednesday, July 09, 2008

CALL 911

One of my readers asked this question:

MC -

Why is it that cab rooftop lights say CAll 911? Instead of CALL 911? or Call 911? Or leave it off? Has anybody called 911 because of the sign?

Great blog.


DC Taxicab Commission enforces all DC cabs to have that system installed otherwise the cab won't pass inspection or we can be ticketed if it's not working properly. It's supposed to be "A cab driver in distress" sign when you see the "CALL 911" blinking. Drivers have a switch that they can turn on whenever they are in danger and the public must call police and inform the location of the cab when they see that emergency light.

In my opinion it's a waste of time and money, very few people know about it and folks don't give a shit. In most cases people ask me why they should call 911 for a taxi service and I have to explain this shit over and over again.

When I was robbed at gun-point few years ago, I didn't have time to flip that stupid "call 911" switch, I was busy shitting in my pants!

Please don't forget the homeless,

Mad Cabbie.


Anonymous said...

I hope you didn't hang this pant on the wall also?

Dylan Greene said...

Thanks MC - but you didn't answer the first part of my question. Why is spelled "CAll" on many cabs?

See this picture:

Dylan Greene said...

Oops link didn't work, trying again: CAll 911 Image.

Philip said...

What Our Nanny The Gubbamint did was mandate one of these so-called 'security devices'. After all, Our Nanny The Gubbamint knows so much better than we do how to provide for our security.

It was in Sullivan's last months as Commission Chairman that the whole row started. He was crying about refusal to haul. The drivers told him that the crime problem was what was at work, here. Even the Schaeffer and Capitol (this was before Schaeffer got hold of Capitol's radio room) drivers were complaining about the crime, and they worked (and still work) those areas heavily. Anyhow, in the true spirit of a Gubbamint where the Demokratik People's Progressive Authoritarian Party is the majority, they came up with a feel-good non-solution. They proposed that cab drivers could pick from one of these three so-called 'security devices'.

1. 'CALL 911" light (you can also have a light that says 'HELP' or similar).

2. Video camera

3. Partition

Later they added the two-way radio.

At any rate, then-Mayor A. Williams bounced Sullivan and deisgnated Crawford (the General Counsel) to serve as Acting Chair. Crawford pushed through with this and held hearings, then the Commission voted to mandate these 'security devices'. The People's Demokratik Progressive Authoritarian Party of the Demokratik People's Republik of New Kolumbia then proclaimed 'mission accomplished!' on the eradication of crime against cab drivers (and you thought that it was just reactionnaries who made such baseless claims). Suffice it to say that the mission under discussion is about as accomplished as the more famous one is.

I did testify that the only security device that would make me feel comfortable was one manufactured by a Springfield, Massachusetts Firm of long standing and that I did not want to hear any nonsense about when I decided to use that device.

That was not going to happen, because the People's Demokratik Progressive Authoritarian Party of the Demokratik People's Republik of New Kolumbia believes that only those who mean me harm should be allowed to use such devices. And since the People's Demokratik Progressive Authoritarian Party controls the Gubbamint in the People's Demokratik Republik of New Kolumbia, it is likely to stay that way for some time, Supreme Court Ruling or no; U. S. Constitution or no.

The Police will confirm that more than a few people think that the light means that if they call 911, they can get a taxi.

I have a partition in my cab. In the interest of brevity to this already long post, I will use another post to discuss partitions and why I chose one.

If the Police would concentrate less on picking on legitimate cab drivers and writing seat belt summonses and spend more time carting thugs off to jail, this would be less of a problem. But you must remember, thugs carry guns, cab drivers do not.

thruhike98 said...

Wow, I can't top Philip's comment. (Might wanna check on when to use a "K" and when to use a "C," though, Phil.) ;)

I saw one of these flashing one night near the 14th street bridge. I called the Po Po and they had no idea what I was talking about.

Red said...

Ahhh good one! The Polish side of my brain used to get very confused on this.

I think Mr. Phillip needs a blog. I'd read. Help the man out MC or add him to your list of writers.

Lugosi said...

Dylan: Just a guess, but the reason for spelling it "CAll" instead of "CALL" is that two upper case L's would take up more room on the sign.
Now stop obsessing on this and worry about something important, like whether Britney Spears wearing underwear.

Lucky said...

yes, these blinking lights, no matter what they say, won't do much good, people are stupid, and more than stupid, people are unwilling to make a difference, or be a hero.

what we really need is a switch for the police to be called and track the cab, like lojack, and the partition, and the camera.

Anonymous said...

I called 911 for a bus that was flashing its "Call 911" in Bethesda. Never found out what happened though. I always hoped the driver was ok.

Philip said...

Ya' know, there, RedSter, every time someone mentions calling 911 for a Taxi, I think of the 'YIMCA Hotel' joke. It starts out that a new arrival from a certain predominantly Catholic Eastern European Nation gets into a cab at National Airport. Are you familiar with this joke?

And thruhike, the use of the 'k' is deliberate..............

Anonymous said...

@ lucky: You're right about the unwillingness thing. I think it's the bystander effect, like the Kitty Genovese stabbing or the single random Air Traffic Controller calling NORAD on his cellphone - their only source of info from the FAA while the 9/11 action was playing out. (Read that in a book, can't find the site.)
@ philip: Just messing with you. :)

Philip said...

New York already has Big Brother in the cab, thanks to the Nanny State Republican Bloomberg (Nanny Staters are usually Democrats, but Bloomberg, Huckabee and Romney are amoung the exceptions). The so-called 'Taxi Technology' sends messages to a central computer, so NYC can know if and when your taximeter is running, when you are OFF DUTY (you must light an OFF DUTY sign on your cruising light in New York when you are not working) and the like........... And, that jerk Bloomberg made the drivers pay for all of it. Just think, the gubbamint gets to stick its nose into your business and you get to buy the equipment for them to do it. What a joy! Soon we Washington drivers will have the privelege of paying for the gubbamint to spy on us, as Dear Revered Leader Kim il-Fenty is an admirer of Bloomberg.

The upside of Big Brother, and the ONLY up side from the drivers' point of view, is that it does have a GPS and Panic Button feature, so if you do hit the Panic Button, the fuzz does know where you are. Not that such would help in Washington, the rollers here are afraid of real criminals. They would wait a while after you had hit the Panic Button to make sure that the thugs had left the scene. The only time that a cab driver sees the Police here is when they give him a summons, and only the licenced drivers, at that. The Police and Hack Inspectors here do not bother unlicenced drivers.

Stephen's Pictures said...

Glad you are back with your great stories. Next time you take a break tell us-some worry and wonder-you having been sick awhile back.

roy said...

I think I'd like a call 112 light on my cab, sorry 911 don't get you nada here!

Anonymous said...

Hey Mad, great site. Question for you: what are the rules under the meter system for multiple trips, i.e., when a taxi picks up a group of passengers who get off at 2 or more stops, can the driver restart the meter at each stop? I don't believe he can -- it should be one fare for the entire ride -- but several cabbies have insisted that's not the case. Can you provide us some insight?

Lucky said...

bullshit philip, maybe you can tell me where my fucking panic button is?

the one that doesn't light up that stupid yellow light on the car.

the only people that know where you are, are the tlc, and they are just using it for research. i actually don't care, 'cause i don't rip people off.

Anonymous said...

To the cabbie that drove the drunk chick back to her apartment. It's
a miracle she made it out of your
cab before she Hurled/"Puked". A
friend of mine wasn't so lucky. a
woman he took home one night,
hurled all over the floor of his cab.

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Matt C said...

HI Mad Cabbie. I use to be a Cab Driver as well (2 years in Denver). I live in DC now and am making a short film about this 911 Cab light issue. I'd like to interview you for this project but couldn't find any contact info for you? Please contact me at mrmattcarl @


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