What happens when the public transit company puts money before safety? In big cities it is very necessary to get around but not always as necessary to have a car. This is where public transportation comes in. Thousands of people take buses everyday to get to work or for other more fun things. Another form of public transportation is the dreaded taxi cab. Cabs are dangerous and more worried about getting to the next fare rather than not cutting people off or parking their car in the middle of a one way street. As a seasoned bus rider, cabs were never much of a hassle for me. However, now that my fiancé and I share a car I have realized that cabs are the worst.
If one has ever driven through or around the plaza, they know how horrid traffic can be. But has anyone noticed how much of the traffic hold up is caused by cabs waiting in the middle of the street to pick up a fare from a restaurant? I would say at least half of it. They park, taking up almost both lanes of the street, idling near the bars or restaurants and just sit there as people try to park around them but instead end up taking up more space in the street and causing an even bigger traffic jam. Most of the accidents that I have narrowly escaped have been caused by cabs, and, like almost any driver will say, none of them were my fault.
Driving north on Madison, a cab flying westward on a residential street stopped halfway into the lane and proceeded to glare at me while I blared my horn and yelled obscenities at him as if it’s my fault his has car nearly t-boned mine. Headed westward on Ward Parkway, I almost got hit by a cab careening its way through a narrow alley. Again on Ward Parkway, I nearly rear-ended a cab because the driver slammed on their brakes trying to catch a fare outside of Kona Grill. I once saw a cab cut off two lanes of traffic to sit and wait for three people to cram into it. My favorite example: I almost got hit by a cab while riding in a cab.
I don’t have an issue with taxis themselves. As a means of transportation, they are a good way to get a couple drunken friends home or to get to or from the airport. My problem lies with the drivers and the companies that hire them. A lot of the cab drivers I see just plain don’t know how to drive safely. I have witnessed many cabbies narrowly missing wrecks and holding up traffic just to pick up more people quickly. Here, the business model set for cabs is to get as many fares as possible in as short of an amount of time to make the most money. This can get very dangerous because it’s no longer about, “How can I get from A to B without getting into a wreck” but rather, “How fast can I get to A so that I can very circuitously get to B and then race to C?” It’s no longer about being cautious of other drivers on the road but rather shoving everyone out of the way because the driver is getting paid to do so.
I Now, this is not all of them, just a lot of them. And, after the conversation I had with the cabbie who I was riding with the night we almost got hit by another cab, I am pretty sure I will never ride in another cab. It’s all buses for me.