Tag Archives: cab drivers

The Top Light’s On, But I’m Not

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If you told me three years ago that I’d be eating fried chicken from a gas station, I would have laughed like a rooster. But here I am, starving to death at two in the morning with very few options.

I don’t want to sit down in a restaurant, so that rules out late night places like Grubstake, It’s Tops and the 24-hour diners in Union Square.

I don’t want fast food. I already had Burger King last week. (Again, if you told me three years ago that I’d be eating Burger King…)

While it’s loaded in calories and cholesterol, the fried chicken from that place on 17th and South Van Ness is pretty damn good… 

This week’s column is about finding fares and finding food, but not necessarily in that order… 

Read it here.

 

Photo by Christian Lewis.

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Take This App and Shove It: On Flywheel’s TaxiOS

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So Flywheel (the app, not the taxi company, though is there really a difference?) has developed a backend app for drivers called TaxiOS, or, what we call a “soft meter.”

Flywheel wants to push the SFMTA to replace traditional taximeters with this app. So instead of the taximeter, hardwired to the tires to determine distance, we would use GPS, which sees the city of San Francisco, based on a map, as flat, when is is anything but.

I cry foul. I’ve worked for app companies before (Uber and Lyft) and prefer the traditional taximeter. I don’t trust apps. Sure, for social media like Facebook or Twitter, but to determine what are essentially my living wages, which are a bare minimum at best?

No thanks.

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Don’t get me wrong, Flywheel, the app, which allows anyone to hail a cap instantly through their phone, is great. If only they’d advertise more so we’d get more business. But no… instead of focusing on getting more users, they are trying to take over the SF taxi industry.

This is the subject of my column this week.

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I Drive a Taxi So You Don’t Have to

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This week’s column is about growing weary of the taxi conversation, creating confusion by driving a clean cab, exhaustion from working long shifts and unconsciously eating yoghurt naked due to said exhaustion… But not necessarily in that order…

There are days when I don’t even want to think about driving a taxi. Days when I’d just as soon contemplate anything but what goes on behind the wheel of a cab at night in The City.

Today is one of those days.

Given the option, I’d rather discuss this psychotic election cycle, the hunger strike outside the Mission Police Station, the fate of Syrian refugees or even my fucked up life. Anything but taxis. But this is supposed to be a column about driving a taxi … so taxis it is. 

Read the rest here.

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Photo by Christian Lewis.

Taxi vs. Uber: How to Level the Playing Field

top-light-taxi-crusty-ragged-christian-lewisJohn Han recently interviewed several San Francisco taxi industry leaders and taxi drivers about how to level the playing field with Uber and compiled the video below.

Of course it all comes down to regulation.

The fact is, taxi drivers CHOOSE to follow the rules, even though there is no one to enforce the laws.

TNC drivers, on the other hand, are encouraged by the Uber and Lyft to embrace the arrogance of “disruptive” culture and break the law. While they may actually think they are doing something worthwhile, they are nothing but scofflaws.

If TNCs were to compete with taxis on the same playing field, the results would be embarrassing and they would expose Uber and Lyft users as the hypocritical assholes they are.

[top image by Christian Lewis]

Maxie the Taxi on The Green Pea in Winter

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Maxie the Taxi was a comic strip in The New Deep City Press, a magazine published by San Francisco cab drivers in the 70s.

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I knew when I started driving a cab I was stepping into deep waters…

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What It’s Like Driving for Uber & Lyft

The Drivers Panel at Next:Economy 2015

The full video of the driver panel at the Next:Economy conference on November 12, 2015. Courtesy of O’Reilly Media.

Read my coverage of the event here.