Monday, September 07, 2015

Why Taxi's Are Better Than Uber

@VeronicaBelmont ( +Veronica Belmont ) tweeted:

which reminded me of my own favorite taxi story (narrowly beating out the Korean taxi driver who engaged in the death race with the train) - back in the summer of 1984 I was going thru Hospital Corps 'A' School in San Diego. This was pre-Horton Plaza / pre-Gaslamp District when Downtown was nothing but bar, strip clubs, hookers, and sailors. Locker Clubs still lined the streets. It was kind of like how I picture Chiba City only bright and sunny instead of dark, gloomy, and rainy. Nobody in A school owned a car so you walked, took a bus, or took the trolley down to Tijuana. The most numerous taxi's at the time were these ugly orange things and the company may have even been called Orange Cab, and they used to line up outside the gate of the hospital and wait for passengers.

That kind of sets the stage for this little adventure.

We started school towards the end of May so this would have been sometime in June. It was hot, it was sunny and I think we were either headed to Sea World or the Beach. Normally if we were going to take a cab we tried to take one driven by this woman that someone had met the first couple nights there because she was never seemed like she was out to rip us off and didn't seem like she was coming down off a 3 day Meth and LSD high. That put her head and shoulders above the rest of the cab drivers that we encountered. Unfortunately she wasn't around and when we called the dispatcher he told us she wasn't going to be available for 2 or 3 hours so we chose the least scummy looking of the bunch and got in that cab.

 The trip immediately went to hell.

 First the guy started off in the wrong direction. None of us knew the area well but we knew it well enough to know that we weren't headed where we wanted. We started shouting at the guy and he pulled over and apologized and said he thought we wanted to go to 32nd ST Naval Station. Then he tried to sell us a bag of weed. If we had been smart we would have gotten out of the cab then.

 We weren't, and we didn't.

 At this point we are by San Diego City College, like Park and C street I think and our driver convinces us that he will cut thru downtown and past the airport and that will be faster than getting on I-5. Like idiots we agree. He gets head towards downtown cutting in and out of traffic almost getting in a bunch of accidents until we get up to around the Armed Service YMCA and the he starts cutting down towards Broadway. Now as I remember it this was a one way street with cars parked on both sides, very narrow, and lots of pedestrian traffic and he is barreling down this street honking and hollering at people. Suddenly a car pulls out from the curb and this guy hits it. It wasn't real bad considering how fast he had been going but you definitely heard the metal crunch. The driver is pissed and he looks back and tells us to wait the he jumps out of his seat and starts screaming at the other guy, also a disco era scumbag.

 Again we should have gotten out of the cab. Again we didn't.

 So we are sitting there these two guys are arguing, the meter is ticking away and all of a sudden our driver pulls something out of his pocket, there is a pop and the other guy is screaming.
 Our driver shot the guy.

 He hops back in the cab and tries to take off but he can't get past the car he hit and there is traffic behind us so he can't back out. It takes about 30 seconds and the cops are there and the guy just goes with them. The cops takes our names and SSNs and makes us write down what happened. Meanwhile the meter is still going. After 30 minutes or so they tell us we can go, with the admonition to be careful what cab we get into. One of the guys I was with (I think his last name was Patches, I have a couple more stories about him) asks the cop. Do we have to pay for this ride. The cop looks at him like he is retarded and tells him he can if he wants but if was him he would just walk away and call it a day. We took his advice and walked the 10 blocks or so to the Tokyo Club and spent out taxi money on tequila and beer.

 I don't think I have ever ridden another cab in San Diego.

 Try that in an Uber.
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