Thursday, March 26, 2009

Taxi Relateds-

Here's the news-

Local tragedy, and a mysterious political figure-
There is a touching article about A livery cab driver and his wife killed by a drunk driver in Staten Island. Their children are now being raised by the nearest relatives. The president of The New York Federation of Taxi Drivers is asking all the taxi drivers of New York State to donate a day's tips to a foundation for the twins. I've felt guilty that I hadn't donated to the cause yet, but I haven't found anything further than the articles to direct me where to contribute, nothing. If anybody has information, or opinions on either the tragedy, or The federation don't hesitate to comment. Here is a snippet on Fernando Mateo, the president of the federation: 
"In 1998, Mateo founded the New York State Federation Of Taxi Drivers, a lobbying group and union of sorts comprised primarily of livery cab drivers. He states his intention was to solve the persistent problem of what had become an increasing number of, and escalation in brutality of, attacks on its membership. The history of the organization's founding, and how Mateo came to be the chairman and spokesperson is unclear. The organization deals mainly with New York City driver-related issues, rather than New York State as a whole."
The livery-cab verse yellow-cab is a very tricky subject to approach explaining to people outside of the city. Basically the livery driver caters to the customer who lives in the boroughs outside of Manhattan and certain Manhattan neighborhoods such as Inwood Park, Washington Heights, Harlem, and the Lower East Side. It is illegal for any car other than a yellow-cab to be hailed off the street. So these car services are licensed to operate only on calls, but in all these outer neighborhoods (except the Lower East Side), the authorities look the other way when the cars are hailed on the street. The chances of a yellow-cab being in these parts of the city is rare, and even when a yellow-cab is present, it often doesn't provide service. So what the city has essentially created is a loop-hole, a two wrongs make a right situation rather than finding other ways to solve it. There is also a level of livery car that mostly caters to business men who make reservations as well, a limo service in laymen's terms. And these limos will also cruise the streets looking for customers yellow-cab drivers either haven't found yet, or have refused. They will role down the window and offer a ridiculous premium for their illegal services. It is harder to identify all the characteristics of both the car and the driver as certified and legally licensed. plenty of people just buy a black lincoln town car and perform the service without even so much as a chauffeur's license.

This all said, I feel extremely sad of this news. It is hard to think of a more dangerous job in the city than the livery cab driver, they risk their life everyday, and in this case, he wasn't even working. Staten Island has such empty streets at night, and so many residents who I imagine have some sort of get out of jail free pass, that Staten Island and the night time combined, make for a very dangerous combination.

Local issue of  drivers forced into a less respectful position, becomes international- 
When cabbies were faced with the intimidating prospect of dealing with new GPS systems dedicated to monitoring the drivers profits and locations, Bharavi Desai of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, gathered strong support for our yellow cabbie brethren. Fernando Mateo was on the other side of the issue and there is little information given as to why he supported the systems, so I assume it has to do with his members being mostly livery cab drivers and not yellow cabbies. Ironically enough, a recent New York Times article relying on information from the Taxi and Limousine commission, says that the presence of the new credit card readers in cabs are taking business away from limousine services. Businesses are sending out memos to their employees to take the less expensive yellow cabs to the airport rather than spend the extra company cash on the Black Lincoln.

And so we go oversees to Ireland, where the commissioner is only making laws in favor of short term government profit, as one driver after another becomes a registered cab driver. The blog: Dublin Taxi, says it right below the title: The city has more taxis than New York. Both Dublin Taxi and Irish Taxi, have been very diligent with their blogs. And Roy's Irish Taxi has been on the issue, on the protests, day after day. Roy also has another Forum he just created, where all the taxibloggers and drivers of the world can promote their blogs. And taxi-riders are free to express themselves on the forum as well.

Broadway is closing down-
Back to New York for probably the lightest news on this post. We all know that driving around town was getting just a little too easy. With the downfall of the economy came a lighter traffic density. sure it was still annoying at all the proper times. But it wasn't as bad, was it? Well prepare yourselves, because come summer, not only will we have street closings for construction, the street fairs, and the movies, but get this... are you sitting down.. Okay, Broadway will be closed. Broadway will be closed through Times Square and Herald Square. Sounds crazy, but the theory is that it will clear a larger and clearer flowing path down the Avenues of 7th and 6th, hmmm, interesting. Now they've failed to explain how they will clear up all the diverted traffic every time it has to leave Broadway.

A Discussion of the street closure: 



Here's my opinion/plan: from Columbus Circle we must head down Central Park South to 7th Avenue to avoid the increasing in congestion further down towards Times Square. But what if one is driving up 8th Avenue at 46th Street, and a passenger needs to get to Broadway and 35th street? 

According to my sources, you'd cut across 46th to 7th Avenue but at Broadway all the traffic would be also forced to this street as well! What a nightmare! 7th Avenue would be totally smooth, but you'd have to drop the fare off at 36th and Broadway, as Broadway again shuts down, and you have to face this redirecting of traffic all over again. You could offer to your fare to drop them off at 34th instead, which will be free of turning traffic, but 34th Street going east has already been remapped to two lanes going west and only one going east. 

The sound clip offers some very informative opinions. The cabbie was very correct about the 30th street problem at 9th Avenue. It was always a problem, but I imagine it is worse now. And the representative is correct about the Meatpacking District, it has actually gotten better, certainly not worse, since it's redirection of traffic.

Send your support to Wil-
On yet another not so sunny note for this post: Paradise Driver, one of the taxibloggers who's blog goes back more then just this past year, has come on some hard luck and is diagnosed with an unidentifiable form of cancer. Wil has been blogging from Hawaii for some time, and always found the time to comment on all of our blogs, quick to welcome us all to the taxiblog community, but it seems as though it has been tough for him lately to put in his weekly posts. Roy suggested he put up a Paypal donate button, as all taxi drivers know, this business doesn't do any help with our hospital bills. So check in with the Paradise Driver and see what's up.

1 comment:

mint said...

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