Angst of the Taximeter


Originally published in the S.F. Examiner
on June 19, 2019.

The Central Freeway is like a noose. If you get on the elevated roadway when traffic is backed up on the bridge and/or at the Hospital Curve, you’re gonna be hanging around until you feel like dying.

Last Saturday night, as events at all the venues in Civic Center begin breaking one after another, the demand for transportation is intense.

Outside the Orpheum, a family gets in my cab heading to the Fairmont.

Along the way, the mother asks me, “So what’s the deal with Uber and Lyft?”

I can’t help but laugh. At least once a shift, usually more, a passenger brings up Uber and Lyft. A subject I avoid at all costs.

“Well, that’s a loaded question,” I say.

“Is it? I’m just curious what makes them different from taxis.”

Since she seems earnest, I give her a quick rundown.

“I like the sound of taxis better,” she says as I pull into the hotel driveway. She hands me a $20 bill folded in half. Tells me to keep it.

I race back to Civic Center just as the Opera is breaking. Before I can turn onto Grove from Van Ness, people jump in front of my cab. I try to direct an older couple out of the crosswalk but the man opens my back door. A mass of angry pedestrians maneuvers around us.

“Do you know Executive Park Boulevard?” he asks.

“Out by Candlestick Point?” I reply.

“Yeah, take 101 south.”

I head down Van Ness towards the Central Freeway.

“We were just about to order an Uber when you showed up,” the woman tells me.


Read the rest here.

[photo by Trevor Johnson]

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