Archive Page 2

18
Sep
12

Beg to DK. BEG!

Driving a cab, you are obvious prey.  These beggars know that you have money in your hand and they will make a concerted effort to try and coerce you to give them some of it.  It’s to the point where even though a piece of me feels bad, another piece knows that this can also be for show.  Hard to tell who is faking the funk these days versus the authentic ones.

The typical beggars aren’t too bad, I’ll just roll up my window and act hella oblivious.  The squeegee men though are a bit more aggressive, you gotta wave them off real quick or they’ll start working right away.  A few months ago I was driving down Nostrand Avenue and at a red light when suddenly I see a dude walk up to my car.  Then he starts wiping down my window and I tell him to stop, but he ain’t listening.  You’re in no-mans land now and you’re gonna feel like an ass if you don’t give them something…so begrugedly  I gave him a dollar.  But this one takes the cake:

Ending my shift, I’m at a Mobil station near my house and about to fill up my tank for the night.  I typically use my debit card to purchase gas, but for whatever reason it was telling me to see the attendant.  The attendant wasn’t there and I see some dude walking up with a bag (presumably on lunch break) so I’m thinking maybe it’s him?  Nope not at all.

Him: Are you Muslim?
Me: Um…nah why?
Him: You African?
Me: No.
Him: *shakes hand* how are you brother?
Me: Well…I’m good, do you work here or no?
Him: No, but is that your car right there (points to my cab)
Me: Yeah it is.
Him: I need a ride to Jersey…I need to get there because I am having surgery tomorrow
Me: Nah that’s not happening at all.
DK’s Brain: Are you outta your frickin mind bruh?  
Him: I only have sixty-three dollars.
(honestly that’s what I THINK he said but lord knows, no way I was taking any random fuck anywhere anyway…much less to Jersey and not for $63)
Him: I’m getting surgery on my pancreas tomorrow please brother can you help me?  I don’t know where I am and I need to get to Jersey.
Me: Umm.
DK’s Brain: Then how on Earth did you find this gas station and then actually find something to drink (presumably).  Plus, if you got surgery tomorrow, I wouldn’t be walking around like an imbecile.
Him: I’m from Nigeria.
DK’s Brain: No you ain’t “bruddah” you got the ill Indian accent AND that’s a cool story bro.
Him: Please brother I need about $8 to get to Jersey help me please, please. (sad puffy face)
(I am feeling bad at this point and he’s being uber-aggressive, pissing me the fuck off)

I pull out what I presume is a $1 bill and I’m about to hand it to him, but it actually is a $5 and in my head I go “noooo way am I giving this dude that much money”.  Now mind you, it’s one thing to beg for money but then to target a specific person and them try to use some type of race card thinking it’ll automatically give you pity…nothing agitates me more.  I don’t know you, B.  Plus, your whole “pancreas surgery” thing sounds like a bunch of BS.  How on earth are you standing, much less walking around?  I pull back and he looks upset and I literally tell him “nah that’s too much”.  So I give him a $1.  He reluctantly takes it and goes “please, brotha please help?”  I tell him that this is all I will do and best of luck to you.  He says nothing and walks off somewhere.  Who knows?  Literally just disappeared from my view.

Welcome to…the Twilight Zone.  And so on.

01
Sep
12

DK’s Rare Geography Fail.

As the self-proclaimed “Best Cab Driver in the World”, I take pride in knowing that I am getting someone to their destination as quickly & efficiently as possible.  But man…I tried to outsmart my GPS on this one and that is never a good idea.

Last night was a fairly slow night (particularly for a Friday) so I spent a majority of the time at JFK.  I picked up an Asian girl at Terminal 4 and she asked me if I had GPS to take her to her location out in Rego Park.  I did, so I typed the address onto my iPhone (like I always do these days when I’m not 100% sure where I’m going) and took off.  I trust my iPhone GPS as much if not more than my regular Garmin one but there are times in which I feel like the GPS takes a longer route…so thinking I knew my way better, I got out an exit early.

NOT A GOOD MOVE DK.  I ended up going north of my destination as opposed to south so there goes U-Turn #1.  I wasn’t far at all from where I had to go, but why I did that was beyond me.  My GPS told me to get out at Woodhaven Blvd but I got out at Queens Blvd because she did say she was behind Queens Center Mall.  She actually wasn’t though but I thought getting off at Queens Blvd would get me closer.  FOR WHATEVER REASON.  Maybe I spent a few seconds too long smelling fumes that fucked with my head, I dunno.

I rectify the situation though and I’m on Woodhaven.  It tells me to not stay there too long and to make a U-Turn at Eliot Avenue.  Alright cool, make the U-Turn, make a quick right and then you’re basically there.  What does DK do?  Makes the U-Turn and misses the avenue that he was supposed to turn on.  Now to be fair, my GPS told me I was supposed to make the U-Turn sooner…but you can’t make it from there.  Hence the confusion.  But damn it, as a former Geography Bee champion I should be able to read a map!

“U missed de avenue”
AGHHHHH.

Lemme make this U-Turn and get back to making that U-Turn.  Makes sense?  No?  Yeah that’s what I thought.  It’s bad enough when you get lost somewhere but it’s even more embarrassing when you’re lost but you know how close you are to where you’re actually supposed to be.  I think what had me even more flustered though was that I KNEW I wasn’t lost, but in fact driving incompetent in my own borough.  Not in Las Vegas or in Dallas or in Shanghai…but in QUEENS!  DAMN IT DK GET IT TOGETHER!

Alright, so in take 2 in fear of fucking up again, I actually make a left instead of a U-Turn.  FAIL AGAIN!  Now I have to go around to 63rd road, make a left, make another left 2 lights later, make a right and then another right.  WHAT IN GOD’S NAME AM I DOING?  Man, if this chick had any sense of direction I would’ve been chewed and spat out.  She didn’t really though.  I still feel bad but it’s primarily because if I just knew my role, I would’ve dropped her off already and been on my way back to JFK.  Now I’m just wasting time doing my faux Carmen SanDiego bullshit.  After my forearms worked themselves out more than they should have (turning the wheel you potential sickos), I got to the house.  She tipped me $3.33.  I honestly deserved $0.00 ha.  My personal pride took a hit.

The Struggle Part 2: My next fare finally took me into the city…and this chick gave me $52.
Her- The fare’s $45 right?
Me- Yep.  I had to take a toll though (because she was staying at 45th street btw 5th and 6th.  Took the Midtown Tunnel).
Her- Oh…well I was gonna give you a $7 tip but this is all I have cash-wise.
Me- I see.  Okay then.
DK’s Brain (mocking voice)- Oh…well I was gonna be cheap but at least now I can be cheaper HOLLA!
Her- Well thank you.
Me- (looks more defeated than in a best abs competition).

And so on.

28
Aug
12

Heart Attack? Not Exactly, Buddy.

Given the stereotype that “all cabbies in NYC drive crazy”, I can understand people’s concerns when a driver brakes or swerves unexpectedly.  Truth of the matter is, I have the mentality that most people in the city cannot drive because they don’t want to keep it moving.  

Anyhow, I was taking a passenger from JFK into Clinton Hill.  With the Belt up to its usual shenanigans (being packed), I stayed on North Conduit and was cruising down it.  Seemingly out of nowhere though I heard sirens to my left…a cop car traveling at a high rate of speed coming down 130th street expecting cars that were traveling around 40mph to all stop and let it through.  What in God’s name?  Since I noticed him fairly early I was able to press my brakes with enough time so that the car behind me didn’t hit me…nor have the cop car collide into us either.  My passenger though got SHOOK.

Him: YO YOU GOOD MAN??
Me: Yeah I’m fine, thanks for asking.
Him: Damn, I thought you were having a heart attack or something….I was wonderin why you broke so suddenly.
Me: I know, the cop car came outta nowhere but fortunately I had my eyes open.  I was chillin though.  No worries, I’m not gonna die on you.
Him: Where the hell did they come from though to just stop traffic like that?
Me: Shit.
Me: Besides, you’d probably be more shook if I actually yelled than if I didn’t say anything.

I did hear about a cab driver dying of a heart attack not too long ago near the Holland Tunnel so yeah when he said this, it got my mind going a bit.  But, I’m doing everything in my power to ensure that I’ll never be one of those people by eating consciously and keeping to a workout routine.  There aren’t many jobs out there that are more sedentary than driving a cab.  The height of any athletic activity you may do is walking a few steps to a store to grab something to eat…then you eat and sit again.  Sit.  Eat.  Stand.  Sleep.  Repeat.  Fuck all that noise.

And so on.

24
Aug
12

Bloomberg, You Can’t Win Them All.

The monarch of the great city of New York, Mike Bloomberg, tried to shit on yellow cab drivers & medallion owners yet again. His plan was to institute an outer-boro taxi system by which livery cabs could legally pick up street hails in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, The Bronx and in Manhattan north of 96th street. Sounds great right? An additional 18,000 permits to be sold, more transportation options for people.

No.

Had this plan gone into effect, yeah Monarch Bloomberg would have gotten his money and supposedly this would bring $1.4 Billion into the city. The hypocrisy in all of this though is comical. You’re talking about making the city more green, yet that would have added 18,000 more cars. More cars = more traffic = more pollution. Yeah so there’s that. Then, this would have severely hampered the yellow cab industry. Why bother saving up all your money to potentially be able to get a medallion one day when you could get a livery permit for a fraction of the cost? Most importantly though, cab drivers would have been even more hesitant to go outside of Manhattan. You think it’s tough getting a cabbie to take you to Park Slope on a Friday night at 1am? Had this rule gone into effect, cabbies wouldn’t have seen a point to go there at all when they’d have to deal with double the competition upon arrival to Brooklyn. Passengers wouldn’t care if it was the yellow cab or the green cab…both would have been legal and they would’ve taken the first available option.

The biggest irony? People in the outer boros don’t mind the current livery cab/gypsy cab system as it is now. Wait outside, hail for them, negotiate a price on the spot and off you go. Yellow cabs are rarely in the Bronx and certain parts of BK & Queens because there’s no need for them already. It’s illegal but if that means they’re getting home, the cops don’t really care. Maybe once in a while you’ll see a livery/gyspy cab get pulled over in Manhattan for an illegal pick up. But hell, I’ve seen cars with out-of-state license plates driving around attempting to pick up passengers when it’s really busy out.

Your charade to fuck up the yellow cab industry failed this time, Monarch. Better luck next time. Not.

And so on.

12
Aug
12

Smart Alec.

You know there are certain bars that people get more trashy at than others. Pourhouse in the East Village is certainly one of these spots. I’ve been there a few times, it’s a fun spot to go to if you’re in a group and want to go dance…but it’s not really my scene. But that’s all besides the point.

I pick up these two dudes and they say they want to go over to Hoboken. Alright, fine. Knowing Hoboken is a 15 min drive away, easy money. They ask me how much it’s gonna be and I tell them it’s gonna be $30 plus toll. One of the guys is incredulous “THIRTY PLUS TOLL??” Yes, $30 plus toll. How much did you think it’d cost, $20? Fuck outta here ha. When it comes to Jersey, Connecticut or Suffolk County fares, you can negotiate the price so even though the book says it’s $28, you don’t have to charge that. Most cab drivers charge $45 plus toll to go out there and I may have to get up on that wave. Besides, if they don’t wanna do it then they can politely leave the cab. But that’s fine, they’re gonna pay in cash so there’s no need for me to even turn on my meter.

The dudes don’t know the intersection and simply tell me to get to Jackson Street, fortunately my iPhone’s GPS doesn’t have a problem finding that. Since I’m downtown and closer to the Holland Tunnel, the GPS points me in that general direction. Cruising right along on the tunnel, all of a sudden one of the dudes has a titty attack:

Him- WHY ARE YOU TAKING THE HOLLAND TUNNEL? I’M NOT PAYING FOR THIS SHIT!
Me- What on earth are you talking about.
Him- YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO TAKE THE LINCOLN, YOU FUCKED UP
Me- Actually, no I didn’t.
Him- YES YOU DID YES YOU DID I’M NOT PAYING FOR THIS
Me- You actually think I’m taking the long way (laughs) are you out of your mind? Plus, did you give me directions? No, so unless you do you can’t tell me shit.
Him- EXACTLY I’M SUPPOSED TO TELL YOU WHERE TO GO
Me- Yeah, but you didn’t.
Me- You DO realize that you have to pay for toll regardless of what tunnel you take right? Doesn’t matter if it’s the Lincoln or Holland it’s still the same shit.
Him- I’M NOT PAYING FOR THIS. HOW MUCH IS THE TOLL?
Me- $9.50 and that would have been the case if I took the Lincoln, Holland, OR GW Bridge. AND it’s a flat rate so why in God’s name would I take the slowest route
His boy- Yo chill.

Who the fuck are you to question my GPS though? I don’t think people realize how close the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels are in regards to getting to Hoboken. I get to Jackson street in about 3 minutes and all you hear in the back is dead silence. I shut the kid up. I know he felt like an ass because whilst I was expecting an apology for acting developmentally delayed…I also knew it wasn’t coming. Ultimately I get $42 after everything and he thanks me.

I feel like this is the perfect segue for DK’s 8 Cab Commandments:

1- Don’t touch my radio under any circumstances. The last thing I need is a faux DJ Pauly D pressing the wrong buttons on a radio you’ve likely never seen before.
2- If you give me an intersection, unless you are directing me I will go whichever way I want.
3- Backseat driving is NOT permitted. If you feel so inclined to be one, become a Driver’s Ed Teacher. I don’t know how well they pay though.
4- I’m not taking 5 passengers UNLESS one of them is a young kid that can sit on someone’s lap. It’s in the rules. I’m not running the risk of getting fined $50 just because yall are trying to save a buck or two. Plus, it’s an insurance policy issue. Worst case scenario- if I get into an accident, I’d be unable to claim it.
5- Leave my partition the way it is. Stop pushing it forward. I’m not anti-social or anything but just cautious. I don’t want a dude sticking his foot through it trying to caress my face again.
6- Cash is king whenever possible. Don’t give the credit card vendor my hard earned money (100% > 95%).
7- Cigarette smoke doesn’t bother me, but at least ask first before you light up. Some pendejo thought it was all good to just light up a couple of cigs in my cab like he owned the joint a few weeks back…then didn’t even tip me. I had to chastise him on that one.
8- Never thank me if you are a cheap tipper.

And so on.

11
Aug
12

My Initial Thoughts on the “Zab Kab” App.

A few days ago, the smartphone app “Zab Kab” was lauched for the iPhone and Android. The premise behind it is to make it easier for not only passengers, but for cab drivers to find fares. This sounds like a brilliant idea on the surface and it will work in certain instances…but I’m very skeptical about it in general.

The app will be free for the general public, but will cost either $9.95 or $14.95 per month for drivers (once the trial period ends). That in itself is suspect to me because I don’t know if drivers will want to spend that much on an app that MIGHT help them find a couple of more fares per month. For cabbies who work the morning shift, they’ll generally work in Manhattan from 4-9a and then strictly do JFK or LGA trips the rest of the time because that’s where the best money is. I have a tough time believing that this app will improve a driver’s shift if the passengers who’d also use the app are also at work. Also, this application doesn’t work if you’re driving at more than 10mph (which I suppose is a good thing because you don’t wanna be actively looking at your phone whilst driving ha). It’ll only detect a passenger if you’re stopped at a red light for instance. That’s cool and all too, but what happens if there’s a passenger 3 blocks away and then you get there, only to see that they’re gone? For a cabbie, this app will likely work best if you’re in Brooklyn or Queens…but a more seasoned cabbie/a cabbie more comfortable working in those areas & knows where the hot spots are won’t even have a need for it. I know for the most part what streets to go to in BK if I happen to drop off someone there & are looking for fares back.

As far as for passengers, this app will be more beneficial for them than drivers. For instance, instead of having to go on one of the major avenues to look for a cab, you may just be able to find a passing cab going across town and hail it right then and there. Plus, knowing where vacant cabs are when you’re out of Manhattan will be to their advantage. HOWEVER, what good will this app do if for example a cab is supposedly vacant, then it approaches you only to flip its off-duty lights on? This happens often especially in BK with cabbies who hate working outside of Manhattan and/or late at night. Not to mention if you’re hanging out on the Lower East Side or Meatpacking District for instance, you’ll naturally have a harder time finding a vacant cab on weekends, app or no app.

Overall, this app will be most beneficial for cabbies who work day shifts and for passengers who are either outside of Manhattan or are looking for cabs during rush hour. However, because so much of this is predicated on whether either party has the app on their respective phones, this whole schlep will be inconsistent. I don’t know if cabbies will be able to declare when they’re off-duty, occupied or vacant all the time…nor will this help matters much if you find someone on your GPS, only for them to disappear. I have the app downloaded onto my phone and I played around with it last night whilst in Park Slope. Found absolutely nothing. Maybe as the app becomes more popular, it will have some success…but there’s too many variables whilst on a shift for this app to be worth spending money on as a driver. If I were downloading this app as a passenger though, it wouldn’t hurt.

And so on.

19
Jul
12

Are You Smarter Than A Cabbie?

I can understand the concerns of passengers when it comes to directions.  Some cab drivers (who ruin it for everyone else) have no problem taking their customers for a ride, squeezing extra money out of them.  Personally, I want the passenger out of my cab as quickly as possible (without being reckless of course).  But some passengers have an obsession with certain roads which are unnecessary.

Example 1: Pick up a couple of black dudes on Flatbush Avenue and they want to go to 5th avenue and 39th street in Manhattan.  It was around 2am at the time so there’s no chance that I’m gonna end up getting stuck in traffic on the local.  What I would usually do is take the Manhattan Bridge, go up Bowery to 6th street, then go up 4th avenue (turns into Park Avenue South), turn left on 27th street to go up Madison Ave to 39th street and make that left.  Yeah I know it sounds like a lot, but it wouldn’t take me that much time late at night.  I could also take Canal Street all the way down to 6th avenue, take that to 40th street and come around to 5th.  Either way it makes more sense than them telling me to get onto the FDR.

You sure??  They tell me yes like I’m the one that has 3 heads.  You DO realize that now, I’ll have to go east on Houston Street all the way towards the water…take that overrated highway to 34th street, STILL have to go up 5 blocks and then go BACK across town.  It’s a complete waste of time and effort.  More money in my pocket yes (it came out to $28 when it should have been no more than $24, IMO)…but took a good 10-15 minutes more than it should have.  They don’t tip either, so it was even more worthless (fortunately they paid in cash so I don’t get jerked out of an additional 5%). 

Example 2: Heading east on West 4th street, I pick up a spanish dude and he’s trying to head to 102nd street and Central Park West.  Now, I’ll be heading up 6th avenue and the standard procedure is to take that all the way to 59th street, make a left and go straight til you hit Central Park West, and take that bad boy to the finish line.  

“You’re gonna take the West Side Highway right??” 
No.  Gonna take 6th all the way up.
“NO WEST SIDE HIGHWAY IS QUICKER TRUST ME, YOU JUST GO BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM NO LIGHTS NOTHING!”
(wait…wtf ha?  that shit has lights until 57th street)
You realize that I’d have to go crosstown twice right?  And it’s gonna cost you more money and it won’t be as quick trust me.
“I don’t care about the cost I’ve done this before it’s faster.”
(laughs) Well then…if you say so….
“No no, go whichever way you wanna go”

I was riled up because I’m trying to help this dude out but he thinks because he’s always gone one particular direction that I’m steering him the wrong way.  It was more heated than you’d think.  I actually bumped into another cab because I was tight…but no damage.  Flying up 6th avenue he tries to get smart with me…or was he?

“We would’ve BEEN THERE if we took the highway.”
(I laugh incessantly)
(He laughs nervously) “What’s so funny?!”
Yeah, no we would have been nowhere close right now.
“No I was just fucking with you, this way is pretty good.”

Oh.  Then he tried making small talk because he shares the same middle name as my last name…but I wasn’t having any of that ha.  He’d later apologize, surprised how quickly he got home.

And so on.