Bolaris: End taxicab nightmares now!

john bolaris
Metro columnist John Bolaris

Word to taxi and limousine companies in the city. Do something about the condition and proper supervision of the so-called taxis in the city of Philadelphia. It’s an embarrassment!

For most of the past two decades, I have lived in town. And my main mode of transportation was and still is those whacked out taxis. I’m sure those of you reading this have your very own taxicab nightmares, not to mention any tourists who are greeted to a unique Philadelphia taxicab experience.

I’m sure those tourists who are visiting our city for the first time are in for a rude awakening. Imagine a tourist arriving for the first time in the middle of a sweltering summer day taking a cab ride, eyes bugging out, sweating profusely, begging for air conditioning, weird smells emanating throughout the cab, checking arm pits for faulty deodorant (Nope, not me), dehydrating, screaming to the hack, but he can’t hear you because he is plugged into his smart phone yapping away. Welcome to the city of taxicab nightmares.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a cab and the driver has absolutely zero clue to where the heck he is going. So a normal $5 cab ride will triple to 15 bucks. And I know the city. Imagine a visitor.

During one recent cab ride, I asked the driver to turn on the air. You ask again and the cabbie yells that it’s on. He points to a tube sticking out from under the driver’s seat. As I put my hand down, I feel a trickle of air seeping out. So instead of a stifling 105 degrees, it has cooled to about 100. Thank God for AC.

Forget about using your credit card for a ride. Nine out of 10 times they say “Sorry, doesn’t work.” Now they need to drive you to the nearest ATM, meter running, and bingo, you’re ripped off again.

I’ve witnessed screaming matches, smoking, doors that don’t open, windows jammed, pedestrians in the cross hairs of some reckless driving.

Now, not all the cab drivers fall into this category. And when you find a good one, you want to take him or her home to meet your family, or at least give a good tip. Hey, I know it’s not an easy job, and you’re grossly underpaid, and I’m sure you have your own customer nightmares, and I’m not blaming you personally.

Most of the blame goes to the companies who run the taxi and limo services. Your taxes hard at work. Clean up the mess.

If you have had taxi cab nightmares, send them to letters@metro.us.


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