Tag Archives: taxis

You Are the Master of Your Taxi Domain

Filed under living in new york sucks so hard, stuff i hate
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I don’t take a lot of taxis. Not only am I usually unwilling to pay the initial pick-up fee of $3 when I can travel as far as I want on the subway for $2.25, but I also feel a moral obligation to embargo them because of the awful way so many cabbies drive.

I’ll admit that the idea of quietly relaxing in the back of a taxi really appeals to me some mornings, though. And this morning in particular, I was really dreading my commute to work because of the bag of clothes accompanying me for my trip to Ohio tonight. I could take the bus, which is right outside Kamran’s apartment, but aisle space is limited on those things, and jockeying the bag around at each stop would be a nightmare. I could take the subway, which affords much more aisle space, but it’s a couple of avenue blocks away from Kamran’s, and lugging my bag there in the 90+-degree heat and then sweating it out on the platform sounded almost worse than just walking all the way to work.

Manhattanhenge 2011
from the back of a cab on Manhattanhenge 2011

So I decided to take a taxi. It’s about $20 from Kamran’s apartment in Midtown to my office at the tip of the island, but what won’t I spend $20 on?, and this was a legitimate need. Kamran walked me outside (wearing a sweater vest on a 90+-degree day, because he suffers for fashion), but there weren’t any cabs waiting in front of his building, so I trekked down the street an avenue block and waved down the first guy I saw.

All of his windows were down, which didn’t work for my still-wet curly hair, so I rolled both of the rear ones up immediately. And then traffic stopped, and I sat boiling. I could feel the little sweat droplets bead up on my nose. I could feel a layer of wetness forming between the vinyl seat and my bare arm. I thought about asking the driver to turn on the air conditioning, but I felt guilty. I was going to pay by credit card, which eats into his profit, and then I was going to waste his gas, too?

But I was for-real sweating at that point, and since my best friend, Tracey, is kind enough to let me keep my toiletries at her house throughout the year for use during my visits to Ohio, I didn’t even have any deodorant in my bag. It was then that I realized I would’ve been cooler had I just taken the bus or subway, and here I was, paying $20 for the pleasure of moistening my pants.

So in desperation, I reached down and flipped the little A/C on/off switch on the vent near my feet, figuring there was no way I could turn on the whole system myself. BUT I DID! I could control my own fate! And swamp crotch! The fan started roaring, and hot air blasted my face for a second before becoming sweet, sweet cold air. My sweat dried right up, my cab driver suddenly seemed like an okay guy, and instead of typing 15% into the credit card tip screen like I usually do because all of the preset amounts are 20% and up, I just selected the 20% button like a normal human being.

Still learning, six years in.

The Case Against Cars (Especially Taxis)

Filed under living in new york sucks so hard, my uber-confrontational personality, stuff i hate
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I hate taxis.

I don’t think cars belong in New York City in general.

I think people who think they need to drive or taxi everywhere when there’s a perfectly awesome subway and train system are dumb.

I think if people didn’t take cabs everywhere after 11 p.m., the MTA would be forced to provide better after-hours service.

I’ll admit that I’ve enjoyed a ride home in my friend Beth’s car from time to time. I’ll admit that after a 5-hour dinner with Kamran, it feels good to be dropped off at his doorstep and rolled inside. And I’ll admit that our trip to the Hamptons last weekend might not have even been possible if my group of friends didn’t have four cars. But for the most part, I’d love to see cars banned in the city, and I’d happily give up my quick trips home from late-night karaoke if it meant there weren’t any taxis on the road.

More than cabs themselves, I hate the people who drive them. I really do. They’re generally smelly, generally unfriendly, and generally the worst drivers you’ve ever seen.

They cut each other off.

They nearly run over pedestrians at every turn.

They drive infinitely faster than the streets allow, leaving their passengers bumped and bruised.

It costs $2.50 to $3 just to sit down in one, which is already more than it costs to go as far as you want in the subway, and then you have getting charged for standing in traffic to look forward to. They expect to be tipped for their awful service and will grunt at you no matter how much extra you give. Hilariously, the default tip on the touchscreen payment system in the back of every cab is 20%, and it only goes up from there.

And my absolute biggest cab peeve is the way some of the drivers will cut across four lanes of traffic to pick you up. I understand that this sort of service should please me, but they inevitably have to drive an extra half-block to make it all the way over, and no, I’m not taking a walk down the street just for the pleasure of watching you almost cause three accidents, thanks.

Yet on my way home from the Hamptons on Sunday, I broke down and took a cab. My friends Ash and Michael had dropped me off near the 7 train in Queens with even more stuff than I’d left with: my purse, a bag of clothes, a bag of leftover food, a bag of my Rollerblading gear, and my Rollerblades themselves. That coupled with the fact that it was approximately 4000 degrees had left me more in the mood to eat the cold tails off a glass of disgusting cocktail shrimp than walk to Kamran’s apartment.

Oh, also? I had fallen down and hit my head on the asphalt on Friday while trying to learn to Rollerblade with the help of my friend Christine, so there was a searing headache to help me along. Oh, and also, I was stupid and got ridiculously sunburnt on my back and shoulders, so carrying anything on them was out of the question.

So I stood on the street outside of Grand Central, and I let a cab driver make a U-turn on 42nd Street to pick me up, and I paid him $5 to drive me a mere 2 avenue blocks and 1 street block, and I felt like it was worth every penny, even when he grunted at me.

Not only because I couldn’t hold on to those skates for another minute, but because while I’d been waiting outside of Grand Central, I’d tried to flag down a previous cab, but he’d been cruising at approximately 90 MPH and had whipped past me before slamming on his brakes. I knew he was waiting for me just a little way down the street, but my bags were on the ground, and there was no way I was going to pick them back up and walk with them. He eventually started honking at me, and you can bet I didn’t so much as look his way until he sped off again.

I win!