Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Athens Taxi Dilemma

This is bullshit. All of it should have been in place years ago. Of course a fucking convicted felon shouldn't be driving around strangers, much less drunk teenagers and college kids. A "first in first out" policy shouldn't have to be enacted by the government. The cab drivers should be doing that ridiculousness out of policy and good business practices.

It's the typical dog and pony show that Athens-Clarke County engages in when there's a problem and the government wants to look like it's doing something without actually doing anything.

The real problems are numerous. Cab drivers over-charging and taking advantage of their fares is one. The solution? Require every cab to have a dash-mounted fare system that digitally shows its passengers the running tab to bring them from one location to another. It's harder to screw over your passengers when there's an electronically run fare system in place.

Unruly passengers are a common problem. Consider this story. Did they do it? Did they not? A lengthy and very public investigation that tarnished UGA's football program temporarily (although other players, the former Athletic Director, and mediocre coaching has essentially screwed our program as of now) ended up being unfounded, but could have been avoided had taxi companies had cameras installed in their taxis.

And the most public problem? Girls getting picked up downtown, driven out into the middle of nowhere, and raped under the initial assumption that they were getting into what they thought was a cab. The solution? There are several, in my opinion. The first is more markings on the taxi. A simple magnetic sign on the side and a barely-lit "Taxi" slapped on the top are easy enough for your local white-van rapist to get his hands on. We should require more. More permanent markings. More lit signs. Perhaps even a standard multi color-scheme for all cabs that isn't in line with any Joe-Schmo who owns a big white cargo van and a tendancy to pick up drunk college girls downtown and rape them.

Another solution? Fucking taxi stands. Marked taxi stands around downtown. Throw a police officer or two in the mix and not only will your typical, retarded intoxicated college kid know where to go to get a legitimate taxi, but there will be supervision, accountability, and keep those goddamn giant white taxis out of the middle of Clayton street blocking traffic, keep drunk pedestrians from running in front of moving vehicles, & generally make things safer.

Until the government actually suggests and implements actual solutions for the problems that have been plaguing the taxi system for years, then you're going to have the same problems that we've been having for such a long time. Kids will continue to get ripped off from dishonest cab drivers. Bad shit will happen in cabs to passengers and cabbies alike without some in-cab accountability. I've been in a cab alone before, and had the driver show me his pistol. What the fuck? Who does that?

And worst of all, girls will continue to get raped. How long until one is murdered? Mothers and fathers of college kids will have to get the phone call from the police that their daughter has been taken advantage of. Lives will be forever changed.

So Athens-Clarke County...get up off of your ass and fucking do something about it!


At 3:07 PM, Blogger d p said...

a meter system will never work in athens due to the sheer volume of people wanting to go home after the bars close on weekends, especially gameday weekends. plus, the average fare would probably double with a metered system. have you ever taken a cab in a major city before? to go half a mile in atlanta would cost you $10-15 which is a lot more than the five bucks it typically takes to get home in athens. cameras are a good idea, but who's going to pay for them? have you seen how many cabs are out there on an average friday night? hundreds. to put cameras in each cab would cost tens of thousands of dollars if not more. the cab companies don't make enough to cover that. their business comes from the football season, the rest of the year is not enough to keep their businesses afloat.

At 9:32 PM, Anonymous RP said...

I disagree d_p

1) I don't see what having a meter has to do with passenger volume.

2) a. The fare doesn't have to increase with meters.
b. Even if the meters do cost more than the legitimate rate you're usually being overcharged anyway so it isn't going to make that much of a difference

3) a. No, it would not cost that much unless they insisted on buying the fancy equipment. How many cabs do any of these companies even have anyway?

b. If they do want the fancy tech then they can outfit their cars in stages. They don't have to have the really good equipment in all the cars right away as long as there's something in there.

c. You can make this argument about anything: They can't afford the licenses, the paint, the gas, etc.

If you can't afford the cost of doing business then you shouldn't be doing business. Period. If some of the cab companies fail because they can't afford the necessary measures to keep their passengers safe then the few who can will get their customers and survive.

Had they made their vehicles easily and obviously identifiable as cabs and hired people who wouldn't attack their passengers then we wouldn't even be talking about putting cameras in the cabs. They made this mess and they can't expect us to pity them just because it's going to cost them money to clean it up.

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At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you say Athens, are you talking Athens, Georgia; Athens, Greece; Athens, Alabama; Athens, Tennessee? I have taken taxis in various cities. A meter offers a solution from being over charged. I was just trying to calculate what the fare would in Athens, Georgia, nothing is on internet for the charge say for a 5.7 mile one way trip should cost. Does anybody know?

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