Wednesday, August 13, 2008

LESSON LEARNED IN PETWORTH

Petworth is a part of northwest section of DC which is struggling to create it's own identity. It has been labeled the "up and coming" neighborhood for the last ten years or so but there is nothing going up or anything coming yet in my opinion. The only difference I noticed is I see a few whitties brave enough to walk their dogs on Georgia avenue but that doesn't change the fact that Petworth is still a shady-ass place to live, and with a depressed real estate market and tight available cash it may stay that way for a while.

"Mad, that guy Prince of Petworth is going to bitch-slap your ass for badmouthing his hood so you better watch your back cabbie!"

Tell the Prince to calm down man! I am lover not a fighter and I always give good service to the people of Petworth until this small incident that took place around 4am this morning.

James the "Black Right Wing Conservative" dispatcher assigned me a job to pick up a passenger at 4am somewhere near Grant Circle and take her to Union Station. It worked out well because I was dropping off a brother just a few blocks away on Illinois Avenue so I got to the pickup address about ten minutes early. When I arrived in front of the house there was a Yellow Cab sitting and waiting for the same passenger but for a 3:45am pick up! So I was a back-up plan in case Yellow Cab didn't show up. It's the old "Let's call multiple cab companies and we will take the first one that shows" trick. But there is unwritten rule among veteran cabbies like Yellow 767 and myself that if you try to pull off some shit like that on us, you are ass would be left on the street and we'll move on to the next pick-up.

A young chic with a suitcase and a laptop came out and she was surprised to see two cabs in front of her door. Her sorry ass plan didn't work because I got there early. I started yelling why she called for two cabs but instead of being apologetic about it, she lied about canceling my order at the office and ignored me and tried to get in to the Yellow Cab, but his door was locked! He said "You can't do this to us, gas costs $4 a gallon! Have a nice day!" and my man pulled off without picking her up. I wasn't nice like him, I said a few more things on my mind and left her skinny ass behind.

I saw her dragging her suitcase on New Hampshire Avenue walking towards Georgia Avenue (about ten blocks) so she can flag a cab off the street. By the way, they sell some good crack-cocaine at that corner of Georgia Avenue! And good luck getting a cab and catching that 5am train.

Please don't forget the homeless,

Mad Cabbie.

19 comments:

Thruhike98 said...

Justice! I love your posts Mad. You need to write a book. I'll buy a copy.

Annie Boyd said...

Hell Yes!

Peggy said...

Somehow I don't think that STUPID woman will be doing that to you ever again. Do you guys have a shit list of people you won't pick up?

Mad Cabbie said...

Thanks Thruhike98, but between you and my mother I will probably ending up selling just two books!

That's right Annie Boyd, JUSTICE could be a bitch sometimes!

Peggy, I think most Cab companies do have a No-Send list, but here at Diamond cab they are not good at it because we don't have a computerized system! You damn right Peggy, that bitch won't pull off that kind of shit again!

Anonymous said...

Wtg Mad, been there etc.Pouring rain,real muddy yard and 2 cabs parked about 30 feet from the front of a house.We look at each other and and nod.Guy comes out and gets about 3 feet from a cab and we both back up and take off leaving him standing there....June in Florida.

Philip said...

SHITTY PAPER often refers to it as 'Not Yet-Worth'.

I hate those double calls. Since Diamond does not have a computer, it takes a hip dispatcher to remember those things. You only have one dispatcher there who is worth anything, and HINT: it ain't James (whassamatter, there, Madmeister, ya' doan' like the Local Reactionnary Hour on DC Public Access?). Ya' had two, but your Prezzuhdint decided that he only wanted one with any experience. That and he was sure that King Jive and the Perfesser were going to be his starZZZZ. He got burned on both of those. King Jive wronged him multiple times, yet he encouraged him to keep it up. I never did anything wrong.

Anyhow, Schaeffer has a computer, but it is not often that Management there is willing to block out someone. Schaeffer is pretty much the only thing that comes close to reliable in the ghetto. Yellow does have business there, but they are not the most reliable. I do not know what Yellow does. They do have a computer, but I do not know if they block out people who do double calls.

The idea is that if you call two cabs, you take one and pay a dismissal to the other, but I checked with a few people at the Commission, and they told me that you could get a Refusal to Haul if you tried to push that.

I had an incident one time, in, of all places, Petworth. It was Sunday afternoon, I had a call at a storefront church on Kennedy Street. I got there, and an elderly black American woman approached the cab. As she opened the door, a Yellow Cab pulled up. She admitted that she called two cabs. The Yellow driver was making a big stink about a dismissal, but she would not pay him.

I took her, which made him angry, but, as I told him, I was not risking a Refusal to Haul for him. You know me, Madster, and you can picture the situation: elderly black lady, white cab driver at a storefront church with an congregation that is mostly black American. If that got down to King Avenue, they would not just revoke my face, they would reinstate it just so that they could revoke it a second time.

Sometimes we would get away with just pulling off as they came out the door, but my usual reaction if I see another cab there is just to drive away. If there is a Virginia or Maryland cab, I will argue about it, but if it is Yellow or Schaeffer, I just move on.

Anonymous said...

As a former resident of a formerly shady DC neighborhood, I understand where this woman is coming from with her strategy. Half the time when you call a taxi, the damn thing never shows up. (This might not be true for the more well-known companies, namely Yellow and Diamond.) But the woman probably figured that there was a good chance that her called-for taxi would NEVER show up, so she figured she should call two different companies.

Philip said...

Attitudes similar to that of the above anonymous poster are part of the reason that the riding public does, at times, experience difficulty with Washington cab drivers.

Your time is worth something, correct? You HAVE had a job that pays by the hour, correct? That would mean that your time is worth something. If your time is worth something, what makes you think that a cab driver's time is not?

pe said...

the only cab company i ever call is diamond, and they arrive in a flash--in fact, i know that once i call i have just barely enough time to lock the doors and get me and my suitcase out front before the cab arrives. there won't even be enough time to grab a glass of water.

it's another story on the street, it's anybody's guess which company will stop if i try to flag down a cab. usually it is NOT diamond or yellow. i have always assumed that probably the nonstoppers are already on a call. makes no difference to me if they don't stop, because i know diamond is 100% reliable and prompt if i do call.

peggy's mom

Shawn said...

Fuck you guys...dc cabbies are crooks. Maybe people wouldn't have to pull this trick if you guys actually SHOWED UP ON TIME once in a while. In the dozen or so times I've called a cab, not once has it been on time. Then they try to overcharge the shit out of me (or act like they don't have any change) until they find out I'm not a tourist. You guys can't hold a candle to NY cabbies.

Taylor Wray said...

If you get into a cab expecting the driver to act crooked, and treating him like you already know he's some criminal, take a guess at what kind of treatment you'll likely receive. DC cabbies are no worse than any others, although the damn Ethiopian music can get pretty grating...

Peggy said...

Ethiopian Music is great! I'd call a cab just to listen to it!

taxigrrrl said...

great! i understand the customer's desperation, but i have to side with the cabbies.

King of New York Hacks said...

The Yellow Brotherhood lives !!! As long as we stick together We can train the customer on how to behave like a civil human being....at least for the duration of a cab ride.

Patricia said...

I've made double calls before and will again. It's been when I call Diamond and wait and wait and wait. You'd think I'd learn. But I wait mostly because the nice lady who answers the phone always says that the cab will be right there. After 30 minutes I called yellow and they've shown up. Once a neighbor told me that a Diamond cab showed up at my place about an hour after I left, she told the driver that I'd left an hour earlier.

diamond #888 said...

Mad I was at that amature gig Sunday night, I was impressed with your bass skill! I think you should take it seriously and form a local band or something.

Diamond 888

Philip said...

Yeah, keep it up, there, Patricia, Shawn and anonymous. You are fortunate that most of the old, good, dispatchers are dead or retired or simply quit because the cab companies are too cheap to pay us what we are worth. There are a few of us who manage to get something out of them that approaches our value, and those few of us still work.

Then there is Yellow, that has its computer, but, judging from what their drivers tell me, no one bothers to put problem customers into the computer so that it can kick them out.

There are some customers with whom you simply can not deal, but mostly those are the ones who absolutely refuse to pay. Yes, you lose when you write them off, but if they do not pay, I can not help them. As for the double-callers, I have ways of dealing with them. See, I am one of those few good dispatchers left, so I remember those people.

One way works like this. There is this guy at 13XX Columbia Road who works at the MacArthur Safeway. He calls all three companies. I simply announce "pick 'em up at
13XX Columbia for the guy going to MacArthur Safeway, he calls all the companies and never comes out'. If a guy is close, he will do a drive-by. Sometimes a driver will tell me 'Hey! I'm close, call him and see if he will come out'. So I will. Sometimes we get him, sometimes we do not. If we do get him, he will pay.

Then, there are those at private homes that are not close to a main street where you can hail, as is the above referenced gentleman (and I use the term LOOSELY). Again, I will not deny a cab, if I have one, for anyone who will pay. I might call, say, 'Michigan Park'. If I get one bid, I will advise the driver that this person calls more than one company and give him the option of going. If he takes it, I send him and hold anything else that is close, if it comes in subsequently.

If he declines, I understand.

Either that, or, I might have another job close-by, but he is closer to the double caller, so I will tell him to drive by the double caller, and if he does not get them, I give him the back-up.


If I hear numerous responses, I let the fleet know that it is for a double caller. That usually thins down the responses.

Now here is where Karma bites, in more ways than one.

It is Thursday afternoon, a major business travel day for Washington. There is a convention breaking at the Kellogg Centre, and there are numerous departures from there. There are also two other conventions in town. It is also raining. Here you are, Lady Double-Caller of Michigan Park with your train to make. You call my company. You also call Yellow and Diamond. Diamond does not have many cabs there, and fewer still when it is raining and there are conventions breaking. Yellow, who knows what they are doing, but guess what, it is raining and their guys are working the street, too. So, Lady Double-C of MP, no cab shows up, from ANY company. I see your call on my board and it goes to LOWEST priority. I send everything else in the area before I even think of sending a cab to your address. Of course, I have few cabs in Michigan Park OR Brookland, as all of those drivers are working Kellogg.

You call my Company in tears, you MUST make that train. Boo-hoo-BLEEPing-hoo!!!!!! I do not manage to get you a cab and neither do the other two. You miss the train, you lose your job, your home goes into foreclosure and PRESTO! You are sleeping under the Michigan Avenue railroad bridge.

Trust me, I HAVE made it happen.

Doesn't Karma bite?

Diamond 888 said...

Phil we miss you here at Diamond!

Diamond Cab 888

Dianne Tamuk said...

Ok Mad, maybe you can help me. I hailed a taxi last Friday morning at 9:45 a.m. because I just missed a 3-bus caravan at the corner of
16th and Columbia and I was running late for a meeting. The cab was a light silver, no writing on the trunk. I had a suitcase that I put in the trunk (with no help from the driver other than the flip of the trunk release). When I arrived at my destination 10 minutes later (816 16th Street - I work for the AFL-CIO) I paid the driver $8.00 for a $6.75 fare and asked for a receipt. The driver handed me the little blank slip with a sketch of the Capitol on it. I asked him for a meter receipt and he told me he hadn't loaded his tape yet that day. Well, to make a short story long, no flip of the trunk release and I forgot the suitcase. I had a luggage tag with my business card on it so I figured he would bring it back as soon as he discovered it - No Sweat! Well, it's now Tuesday. After 10 phone calls to the DC Taxi Commission and a trip to the DC police station on V Street, I still have no suitcase. I'm using a ratty old computer to finish my work representing child laborers forced by the government to pick cotton in Uzbekistan in order to support a corrupt authoritarian regime. I need my computer (the rest was dirty laundry and a jacket my teenage daughter left in my apartment the last time she was in DC). What should I do?????? Thanks, Desperate Union Commuter