Tag Archives: shitty passengers

My worst passenger

freeway-sign-101-highway

During the three-and-a-half years I’ve been driving for hire, I’ve had my share of unruly passengers: fist-fighting coeds, racist frat boys, pukers, techie thugs, bossy old folks and grown-ass adults so wasted they couldn’t remember where they lived. But none were as disagreeable as my 9-month-old daughter during a road trip to Los Angeles last week.

Now that was a hell ride from the get go.

Read the column here.

 

 

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The Scourge of Outside Lands

outside-lands-sf-examiner-Jessica-Christian

Part One

It never fails.

Whenever I work large events like Outside Lands, I always end up with a pack of drunken millennials in my taxi who are so accustomed to geographically-challenged Uber/Lyft drivers that they will try, despite the haze of alcohol, weed and molly, to micromanage my attempt to navigate the congestion.

Of all the tragedies that have resulted from the rise of Uber and Lyft, this assumption that a driver for hire has no clue how to reach the simplest destinations is really, as our commander-in-chief would put it, sad.

The other day, I pick up this guy at the Grand Hyatt. As he tips the doorman for flagging him a cab, I hear the guy say his phone had died and he wasn’t able to order an Uber.

“Where to?” I ask.

“Pac Heights.”

Okay. “Where in Pac Heights?”

“Geary and Laguna.”

“What?” I respond, somewhat confused.

“Lower Pac Heights. Close to Japantown.”

Brother, there is no Lower Pac Heights, I want to say. Geary and Laguna is Japantown. But I let it go. He’s either a tourist or has just moved here.

As I’m about to cross Van Ness, I ask where he’s going at Laguna and Geary.

He leans forward and says, “Oh, uhh, keep going two more blocks.”

“I know where Laguna is,” I reply. “Where are you going at Geary and Laguna? Are you on Geary? Laguna? Am I going right or left? It’s a big street with lots of turn restrictions.”

“Left on Laguna,” he says. “You’ll uhhh… probably have to make a U-turn.”

“Yeah, at Webster,” I mumble. So his cross streets are actually Ellis and Laguna, which would enable me to access the street he actually lives on: Cleary Court.

And regardless of what his real estate agent told him, he lives in motherfucking Western Addition!

It’s always the clueless passengers who tell you how to get somewhere, and they usually end up lost or going the longest route possible…

Anyway, this is my fourth year working Outside Lands. And even though I’m steeling myself for the inevitable shit show, I am hopeful this year might be different…

An unforeseen benefit of Uber and Lyft is that the number of millennials I pick up has dwindled to the point that, when they do end up in my cab, it’s usually memorable.

Like the four bros who surprised me at Davies Symphony Hall a few months back…

Drunk off their asses and wearing white tuxedos, they pile into my cab and demand to be taken to Emperor Norton’s.

“Do you know where that is?” one asks.

I respond affirmatively several times over the next few blocks, while the three guys in back continue to question whether I’m going the right way since I didn’t put the location into my phone and the guy up front incessantly nags me about playing the radio.

“Look!” I finally snap. “The bar is only five blocks away. I think you can go that long without music. Don’t you?”

*

On Friday, the first night of Outside Lands, things were astonishingly calm and uneventful.

That is, free of millennials.

I take two guys to Brass Tacks.

“Do you mind if we do garbage cocaine?” the one on the right asks me.

After several key bumps, the guy spends the rest of the ride complaining about the shitty blow in San Francisco.

My second ride is a young couple who’d just met. They spend the ride to Club Deluxe bonding over their pets. When I pull up to the bar, the guy hands me a $20 bill and refuses change on the $12.30 fare.

“For going out of your way to pick us up,” he says, exiting curbside.

Day two starts out smooth enough.

Since I stopped working Saturday nights, I don’t have my regular cab. So I’m driving Veterans 327. Late Night Larry’s cab.

As I venture out to the park on Fulton while the sun is still in the sky, I’m impressed with how the PCOs are controlling the streets and making sure all vehicles are able to get through the area. That same is true on Lincoln. Even though the SFMTA had promised us taxi stands, there are no designated staging areas. But it isn’t that much of a hassle.

When Metallica stops playing later that night, though, there’s little chance for any kind order in the ensuing chaos…

Read Part Two here.

[photo by Jessica Christian]

White Privilege and the Rise of Uber and Lyft

desoto-cab-taxi-san-francisco-vintage

From my latest jeremiad:

The Children are Running the Nursery

Only a person with boundless privilege would expect their own personal driver to come to their exact location (however erratically), and wait there for an indeterminate time, regardless of how much it may inconvenience the driver or other drivers on the road, since they’re most likely double-parked, until the whim strikes him or her to mosey on down and get into the vehicle they requested.

Only a spoiled brat who’s had mommy and daddy wiping their asses their entire lives would lord a draconian rating system, that’s completely arbitrary, over another human being, like a manacle around their neck, to make sure their needs are properly serviced in a timely fashion, and in a way that fully pleases them… otherwise, it’s one less star.

Only someone with absolutely no sense of personal responsibility would pay someone to resolve their problems at highest standards, but at the lowest cost possible, and not even once consider the possibility the deal they’re getting is negatively impacting the one performing said task.

And yet, these are the new city-dwellers who’ve taken over San Francisco…

Read the entire article…