Saturday, December 5, 2009

Signs of Infant Hack Infiltration

I hate to be that cranky veteran worker complaining about newbies saturating the field. I don't want to sound like an intolerant 'native' whining about minorities stealing employment. I happen to be Colombian and Jewish myself. The fact of the matter is that I've only been a cabdriver for 3 years. Still, I feel as though the Taxi and Limo Commission should be more careful in its campaign to exterminate experienced drivers to make room for unemployed newcomers and their application fees. It's no wonder that after Parking Violations, the TLC rakes in the most revenue. And do they not see that by doing this they further disintegrate our already abhorrent reputation on the streets?

How can you be proud of your city when its taxicabs are more lost and clueless than its tourists?
Here are two memorable examples out of dozens I've witnessed lately:

#1) I was at a red light on Houston and Chrystie. A minivan cabdriver with a family of petrified Asian out-of-towners looked over and asked if I knew where Allen was. "Allen and what?" I asked, with a hint of irritation in my voice.
"Canal," he responded, with a more petrified look than his passengers'.
"Make a right at the next light, that's Allen. Go 4 or 5 lights down and you'll see Canal."
His trajectory should have been an absolute no-brainer to any professional driver in NYC.
It's like a cabbie on Great Smith and Victoria Streets in London asking for directions to Buckingham Palace Road. Or a cabbie on the corner of Paseo de La Reforma and Insurgentes in Mexico City asking for directions to Chapultepec and Sonora. Or a cabbie at the intersection of Ramses and Kobry Ghamra in Cairo asking for directions to Maamal Eltakrir and Elsaboun.

#2) At a red light on Eighth and 34th a woman with two big suitcases approached a vacant taxi. The driver sprang into action, which was nice to see, but it became apparent immediately that this was probably his first day on the job. He gave the entire surface area of his cockpit an agitated massage, but could not find the trunk release. He turned over to see a half dozen of us seasoned hacks watching intently. His hands flew into the air, begging for help. A cacophony of voices spewed out instructions from all around him, and the trunk door popped open just as the light turned green. Sure enough, he was in the second lane from the curb and set to disturb the flow of traffic. I felt bad for the guy, but I also felt embarrassed on behalf of the "world's greatest city."

And how exactly are they getting rid of veteran drivers to make room for new applicants, you ask? Well, by handing out as many traffic violation points as possible for the silliest, most unimportant infractions. The police are shown below twice, busy chipping away at our livelihoods with their cheap shot jackhammers.

Left off 42nd onto Third: too wide a turn for this cop's liking. She proceeded to give him two extra tickets- one of which was for not being able to find the vehicle's registration. That would be the garage's fault, certainly not the fault of the hard working driver who leases the piece of shift from them.

Not coming to a complete stop at Greenwich and Gansevoort. They pack all kinds of meat in this district. Not just cows. Cabdrivers too! We taste good, don't we dear mayor and chairman? Just sprinkle some Cayenne Pepper on us. Red and yellow go good together.


  1. Anonymous12/05/2009

    You are right. TLC is racking so much revenue from all these new drivers and renewal fees. The TLC is handing out licenses left and right. Then they say drivers need to be more professional. Level of professionalism is going to be achieved only by right kind of training and by giving licenses to qualified people.

  2. Its the same here, word is that 200 drivers were caught speeding by a mobile speed trap last Tuesday.
    With this rate of revenue colecting the national debt will be paid back by Christmas.

  3. Thanks for the comment John. They don't call us hackneys for nothing. We bear the brunt of many loads, including civic economics.

  4. Noah Forman12/05/2009

    "tis ashame, but a seasoned one hopefully does avoid all of that. on the plus side they're doing more of the tlc secret rider things, and they may be more lenient on the veteran drivers, if they forget something perhaps. atleast the secret rider program puts tlc agents into a more one on one human level understanding with the driver and you'd hope that they'd really only give summons' to the rude drivers and the reckless."

  5. I was in TLC court and Traffic court last week, even in traffic court at Rector street majority tickets were issued to cabbies than to regular drivers.
    I once saw some one from canal street turned south on church street, as there is police precinct at west broadway, police car just turned his lights on, stopped the upcoming traffic, helped the guy to make a u-turn and let him go, just imagine if there were a cabbie, he would have been issued a criminal ticket for the same thing.


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