Ahh, the New York cab driver. Catching a cab in New York can be quite the experience. I have my moments when I feel so Sex and the City, holding out my arm Carrie Bradshaw style, breezing into the taxi as it pulls up to the curb, closing the door and telling the driver matter-of-factly where I want to go. Unfortunately, that’s where the cosmopolitan tv show likeness ends and I often find myself in heated debates with the taxi driver. Here are the questions I most often find myself hurling at them:
1. What do you mean you need directions? Aren’t you a cab driver?
I always thought part of a cab driver’s job was to know the city in and out–intersections, highways, or at least the general neighborhoods. So why are you asking ME, the passenger, how to get there?
2. What do you mean you aren’t going in that direction? Your light is on…aren’t you supposed to take passengers where they need to go?
I actually looked this up, and it’s illegal to refuse a passenger due to their destination in the city. So why do I frequently find myself back out on the curb after telling a driver where I need to go and him mumbling that he’s not going in that direction and speeding off?
3. Where is your sign saying that you only take cash? And if you don’t take cards, why is there a credit card machine right here?
As of the last few years, pretty much all cabs have credit card machines. So when I am in a rush to get somewhere and don’t have time to stop and get cash, I’ll just hop in a cab knowing that I can use a card. But inevitably, whenever I go to use my card, the driver tells me he will only take cash. Meanwhile, the credit card machine is working just fine, I go ahead and swipe, and the driver rolls his eyes and moans about credit card fees. Sorry, dude, not my problem!
4. Can you PLEASE slow down and/or pay attention to the road?
Ok, Mr. Cab Driver. I know NY drivers in general suck. And I know you are in a rush to get me to my destination so you can pick up your next job and make more money. But I really should not spend the entire length of my ride white-knuckled holding on for dear life. Don’t believe me that cabbies have no regard for the road and safety? Yesterday I witnessed this driver not paying attention and completely missing the fact that there was a red light, which resulted in him hitting this innocent man on a bike in front of him:
As you can see, the man here seems to be trying to calm himself down by ignoring the cab driver, who is trying to act like he cares about the fact that he almost killed this man. If it was me on the bike, I guarantee this picture would have looked waayyy different…
Anyway, folks, the moral of this story is: just take the subway.