It's hard to believe sometimes, but cabdrivers have to have a chauffeur's license to run through all those lights, cut people off, and weave in and out of traffic. Despite the perils, I usually call our local suburban cab company to take me to the airport, ever since they started offering a really cheap rate. To feel safer, I just put on my Princess Diana memorial seatbelt for people sitting in the backseat, and close my eyes for the fifteen minute ride.
Before the lower airport cab ride
prices, I always took a limo because there wasn't much difference in
the cost, maybe one or two dollars. Now it's almost ten dollars.
That's a big difference for such a short ride.
On the other hand, the difference
between riding in a swank and roomy limo and a-neither-one-of-those cab is also considerable. You don't see
many cabs with a free newspaper, crystal decanters with matching glasses or wood
paneling. Also the limo drivers all speak English, know where they are
going, and drive impeccably.
The difference in the quality of driving is what is starting to bug me.
My last trip to the airport was
pretty harrowing. The cabbie drove right in front of another car and
never noticed the guy honking his horn at him. He also drove in the
left lane on the highway right at the speed limit, with little regard
for the lane markers, often getting pretty close to people trying to
pass him on the right as they were flying by at seventy mph.
Yesterday I left my car with my
Korean mechanic who bows when he presents me with his bill. I'm a sucker for people who bow. But
he didn't have anyone who could pick me up when the car was ready.
That meant I needed to call a cab.
So I called the company that's been driving me to the airport these days. Mainly because they're the only
cab in town.
The foreign driver had to call my cell phone because he got lost
driving the eight blocks from the cab stand at the train station to my
house. I guess the straight line confused him. Somehow we managed
to communicate even though he barely spoke English.
On the short ride back to the car place he managed to run two stop signs and drive
in a manner that can only be described as casual, settling into the
middle of the road unless there was traffic coming directly at him.
He then stopped in the center of
the street at my destination. I opened the door and I was about ten
feet from the curb. I asked him why we were stopped there and he told
me that's where I could get out. Nope.
I made him drive into the driveway of the lot so that I didn't get hit
by oncoming traffic, which had to stop anyway because the cab had been
blocking everyone coming from either direction.
After noting the cab number, I
called the police to ask what they did to check whether or not a
cabdriver has the proper driver's license. They do keep a record. But
it was after hours so I have to call back next week to confirm.
The dispatcher laughed and said I would be surprised at how bad some of
the drivers are who get a chauffeur's license. Our former governor is
on trial because of incompetent truck drivers bribing people to get
their licenses. So the cat's out of the bag.
Same with checking things out at the cab company. I can only complain between eight and four.
I'm going to do two things the next
time I am not happy with a ride. Aside from not tipping, I think I
might ask the driver to take me to a different address -- the police
station, since isn't that far from my house. I'll have the driver wait
while I go in and get a police officer to come out and check his
Or I may just ask the cab company when I call for a ride to confirm the
name of the driver and that he has his chauffeur's license. Before he
picks me up.
There are no female cabdrivers where I live by the way.
The real problem is that in my
suburban area a driver doesn't have to have his name and picture posted
in the cab like they do in the city. There's nothing except the cab
number to go by, which means any mope could be driving.
I'm starting to think that they're all driving me.