Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Taxi Universe

Thanks to the Second Avenue Sagas blog for leading me to these videos:

Taxi! from Juan Francisco Saldarriaga on Vimeo.

This video brings to mind things about the world of taxi that I cannot explain. Being behind the wheel made me feel like I was a part of some greater natural being. And I knew that no matter how much I tried to make my own plan the natural powers of this world; powers like gravity and other things we don't understand, were sending every yellow missile into a certain cycle. I hope tourists get a sense of this enlarged display of natural movement when they see them from rooftops and busses. I feel taxicabs, if doing their job correctly are akin to blood cells within the human nervous system. Although I suppose our human systems are much more efficient due to our brains performing flawless dispatching. Alas, New York City has no yellow cabs on call so sometimes we are the most uncoordinated blood cells in the whole body of New York. But at other times the organized chaos can be seen for the beauty it is.


The video below shows that the density of trips is much greater in the evening than in the morning. Second Avenue Sagas points out that if taxicabs are often used only in one direction, then it stands to reason that the same customers are using busses and subways to commute in the morning. Taxicabs are often ignored when people think of public mass transit, but this model below suggests that taxis are part of the cohesive transit structure. If people take taxis oneway, they are reducing traffic congestion in most cases by leaving their cars at home.

New York City Taxi Activity from Juan Francisco Saldarriaga on Vimeo.

While being an astounding model of the natural flow of human beings use of taxicabs, the video model also makes one thing obvious, Manhattan is the mecca for taxicabs, short rides, and lots of rides exist there. There isn't as much of a demand for taxis in the other boroughs, but that demand is increasing, and that demand would increase 3-fold if there were more yellow cabs available in those boroughs.

I wish there were a solution for everybody, but as the people who call this to attention are politicians only pandering to voters, they don't actually come up with solutions that solve everybody's problems. More yellow cabs means a lower wage in a career that is already sinking below the poverty line. I suppose the best solution would be to create a second tier of medallions for legal pick-ups by car service cars with meters, after-all they already do it illegally anyway, having meters in them and higher regulation would stop them from price gouging. Of course, the idea that the Taxi and Limousine Commission establishing and maintaining a good set of regulations on both yellow cabs and car service vehicles is laughable.

No comments: