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Monday, June 30, 2014

The county taxi cabs are unsafe and dirty

I was writing recently about the difference between Lyft and Uber, the two new car services trying to make their way in Miami-Dade County and our current taxi cab companies. The truth is probably that if the yellow cabs, which are mostly controlled by a handful of medallion holders who don't care about service or safety, were to upgrade their service, there would be no need for Lyft or Uber.

Case in point; I took a taxi cab to the airport this past weekend. As you can see here, the driver is texting while driving. And he was speeding like a mad man and at this actual moment of texting, he was taking that sharp hairpin turn where I-95 turns onto SR826. I suppose I should have been shouting at the guy, but I was taking pictures from the back seat. And he must have been texting for a long time (maybe two, three minutes) because it took me awhile to get the photo, I was hesitant at first, then I had to get the camera out of my pocket, put the app on, I was thinking it would be too late, but no, after all that time, he was still texting away, giving me enough time to do all that maneuvering to get the picture.

When he first picked me up, he start racing through the neighborhood like a bat out of hell. I asked him why he was speeding, practically taking turns on two wheels, his response was, "Well, we have to get to the airport." I told him I had plenty of time, there was no rush, but that didn't stop him, he was in some sort of race.

When he wasn't texting, which was the one time only, he was on the phone for 80% of the rest of the time, not handless, but with one hand on the wheel and one on the phone to his ear, he was lining up future fares, at least he wasn't making personal calls which is the case with most of the other cab drivers I have encountered. 

The car must have smelled, as they usually do, because he said to me, "I'm sorry for the smell," and he proceeded to open the window, which in Miami in summer, isn't pleasant either. I didn't smell anything, but I've been having a stuffed nose lately, probably sinuses. But for him to smell the smell, it must have really been something because they usually don't smell anything or they just ignore it. I imagined it as the original cab smell when hansom cabs were drawn by horses, can you imagine that smell? A cab I took last July smelled like that, I had to jump out and run to another less smelly cab before we left the airport.

Now while I don't have experience (yet) with Lyft or Uber, I am assuming that since people are driving their own vehicles, and not shilling for someone holding a medallion, their cars are clean and decent and they are driving like normal people. Only a guess, but I think the odds are probably better to take a Lyft or Uber on your next trip. The county needs to grow with the times. Yellow cabs stink, literally; they are unsafe and they don't take credit cards, which is a big convenience when traveling.

Question: Does anyone regulate these yellow cabs or does the county just go through the motions and say that they do? 

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

These cab drivers are the worst. I'm not surprised that they are texting and driving. They are some of the worst drivers in Miami and you know you have to be pretty bad if that's the case. They always cut you off without using their signals.

I don't usually take cabs, but it nice that I have the option to use Uber if I need too.

June 30, 2014 7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cabs around town are downright filthy. Thankfully I only ever use them when I am too blasted to mind, because you've got to blind drunk to sit in them.

June 30, 2014 7:43 AM  
Anonymous Dexter said...

You are lucky he spoke English and actually knew his way around.
They should bring in stricter requirements, like they have in London.
A London Cabbie has to know every street without the aid of a GPS, and typically takes them 2 to 4 years to learn "The Knowledge" before they can even apply for a licence. http://www.theknowledgetaxi.co.uk/

June 30, 2014 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not that his cab smelled, it's that he probably did not want to use his A/C to save 5 cents on the whole ride. By law they have to have the A/C on but if the cab smells and he opens the window, then no A/C. They are terrible and a mess, full off food and junk in the front seat. I have a cab that is great, a yellow cab and at least to go to the airport I can give him a call the day before and he comes in his very clean car. Let me know if you want his number.

June 30, 2014 5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow some pictures and totally illegal ! Scary if you had been in accident while he was texting then what. In California last summer we had a private driver pick us up at the airport and take us 2 hours south. She was great , car clean she brought us water and snacks included in the fare as she knew it was a long flight. Great service !!! Next time you go to the airport I will drive you !!!

June 30, 2014 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last cab I took had a broken rear seat. I felt something metal pushing into my rump the entire ride to MIA. Disgusting. Why do County Commissioners protect these cab companies?

July 01, 2014 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Took a yellow cab home from MIA as we have done for years. Told the driver to take Exit 1 to the end of 37th Ave. (Douglas Rd.) as that is where we live. He did not stay in the correct lane, so we reminded him again. As he exited towards LeJeune, he said that is the route he is "required to take"!! Meter was basically the same amount, but his tip was not.

July 01, 2014 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cab drivers in Miami are the worst I have ever experienced anywhere, and I am an extensive traveler worldwide.

After arguing and almost getting into yelling matches with the last few cab drivers, I refuse to ever use them again. It's just not worth it.

Bring on Uber and Lyft!

July 01, 2014 5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every cab I ever use has the red service light on. Why? It always makes me nervous thinking some important part has not been serviced.

July 02, 2014 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a long time ago, but I wouldn't give the cabbie a tip because he tried to take the long way to my home and I instructed him on how to get to my home the easy short route - - - - so he took off before I exited his cab and tried to drop me off 5 blocks from my home while yelling & screaming and got so ensnarled mentally into a fit of rage I locked the doors, we were both stranded, he called the cops and got himself arrested, his cab was towed and I walked back to my home. Business as usual in Miami, Florida USA.

July 02, 2014 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Astrid Artho said...

Your statements are so true! I took a cab on Tuesday afternoon, July 1st, from Coconut Grove to MIA. The car had a transmission problem and was "jumping" while driving. I really felt uncomfortable and unsafe. The driver said: "I have no money to buy a new one". The inside of the vehicle was not clean. It had bread pieces between the driver's seat and the middle console. I took a picutre and wrote down the driver's name and ID number.

July 03, 2014 7:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, welcome to the Banana Republic - - - - at one level, and then welcome to Miami, Florida, USA, the gateway [literally] to Central & South America, Europe, Africa and all points anywhere & everywhere and don't forget Asia. Open the door, look, smell & if U don't like then close the door and bring the next cab up, do it again until your are pleased. Jobie Steppe P.S. And don't get stressed, enjoy!

July 03, 2014 7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taxis are terrible. I had to rush to the airport, so I called and asked for one which accepts credit card since I had no cash on me (that alone makes me shake my head that in a city like Miami, you have ask for that). While we were on the way to the airport, I asked the driver again to make sure. With a big attitude he told me "no credit card, machine broken". He drove me to the next ATM to pull cash. Of course, the meter was running. Lucky I didn't miss my flight. What a service!!

July 06, 2014 12:46 AM  

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