Nobody knows the streets of San Francisco like cab drivers. Not the cops, the firemen, the bus drivers… Only cab drivers traverse every inch of The City.
Sure, Uber and Lyft drivers cover almost as much ground (save the transit lanes), but with their faces constantly in their phones, following a line in a navigation app, what do they really see? Judging by how most drive, they certainly aren’t looking at the road.
After a year of working the cabstands outside Mighty and Public Works, I’ve carved particular routes through The City that are, in my mind, efficient, both time-wise and cost-wise.
Since there is little traffic at 3 a.m., I drive as the bird flies, following the map of San Francisco imprinted in my brain and try to hit the timed lights.
When I get a fare out of Public Works, say, going to the Sunset District, I take Fifteenth to Castro, which becomes Divisadero, and turn left on Fell.
This path also works for the Richmond District, except, instead of continuing through the park, I take a right on Stanyan to Fulton.
Out of curiosity, I followed the directions from Public Works to the Sunset District according to Google Maps: Mission to Van Ness, turn left on Hayes, another left at Gough and then a right onto Fell. In the end, this path cost over two dollars more and wasted several minutes.
So fuck you and your GPS, right?
Well, not so fast…
My column in the S.F. Examiner this week is about some of the most annoying passengers: directionally challenged backseat drivers.
Read it here.
(screenshot of the MacArthur Maze from Google Maps)
And now this, from Jimmy the Cab Driver: