Think before you hail.

If you hire a taxi it’s assumed that you can sit back and relax while the driver fastidiously maneuvers through traffic en route to the correct destination. You might even go as far as saying that you trust that taxi drivers must pass some kind of test to become certified. They have to know their way about town, right? You wouldn’t actually pay someone to drive you around and then expect to give them directions, would you? Last night, all of these assumptions were squashed.

My boyfriend and I hailed a cab. We were going across the river, which by train is probably a 20 minute ride. We were running late and mistakenly thought that a taxi would get us to our destination almost on time. But what occurred in transit was reprehensible.

As we relayed our destination to the driver, he asked, “You know how to get there right?” (Shit, this was a mistake).

My boyfriend responded, “No. Don’t you know how to get there?”

“Oh, yes, yes, I know how to get there . . . what is the ZIP code?”

As we sat in the backseat, mouths gaping in disbelief, my boyfriend offered, “Should we just get another cab that knows where to go?”

This apparently upset the cabbie because he gruffly muttered, “No! I will drive you!” Either a) He was insulted, or b) He was greedy and wasn’t going to lose a fare — at least he didn’t lock the doors.

He had a GPS navigation system plugged into the console, which to no avail he had fervently been typing ZIP codes into since we got into the cab. Then, like most on-the-job cabbies, he got on his cell phone. From what I could make out from the conversation — he was speaking in a foreign language — he asked the person on the other end for directions. They must not have been very helpful because he proceeded to unplug the GPS system and, yes, actually hand it to my boyfriend to use, while instructing him on how to attach the power cord. We were beyond annoyed. We were paying this man to take us somewhere and here was handing over his high-tech gadget so that we could navigate ourselves! What the hell?

We did eventually arrived at our destination, but this and many other cab rides have given me a foul impression regarding the capabilities of the people we hire to drive us around. Half the time they’re on their cell phones, and if that’s not the case, then they have no clue where they’re headed! As a paying customer, I have service expectations, one of which is that I will not be expected to provide directions. That’s why I’m taking a cab! I don’t know how to get to where I want to go!

Bottom line: When in doubt, take the train.

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