I’m inbound on Market. At Guerrero, a Luxor, a Citywide and a Vina are already waiting at the signal. Toplights blazing. When I roll up, two girls charge across the street from the Orbit Room and jump into my cab.
“We’ll be right there,” one screams into her phone. “We just got in an Uber.”
Later, outside the W hotel, I pull up next to a Citywide. Out of nowhere, a guy makes a beeline for my cab.
“I’m not going far,” he says. “Do you know the Mint Plaza?”
I might feel bad about sideloading if the fares weren’t all crap.
After a futile loop through the Financial, I’m outbound on Sutter. There’s a Flywheel cab in front of me. Toplight on. Which doesn’t mean shit anymore. Even though their fancy new TaxiOS meters are supposed to revolutionize the taxi industry, they still haven’t figured out how to make the toplight go out automatically when they have a fare.
As we approach Stockton, the Flywheel moves to the center lane. I pull up next to him at the light. When the doorman at the Grand Hyatt blows his whistle, my Pavlovian response is to inch forward. I look over at the Flywheel driver. He’s actually empty, glaring at me. I can tell he’s salivating, too.
He may have been in pole position, but he changed lanes. That fare is mine. He’d have to do something cra—. What? He’s got his left turn indicator on? Oh, hell no! I inch forward. He inches forward. I inch forward a little more.
When the light turns green, I gun it and pull up to the hotel with the Flywheel hot on my tail. Sorry, Charlie. I avoid eye contact as he drives away.
Read the rest here.
[photo by Christian Lewis]