Day Cabbie

San Francisco taxi stories from one of the very rare female drivers

Feeling competitive towards a machine

I picked up a couple at the airport, probably in their 60's. They were from Maine.

"Where are you going?"

"The Suites at Fisherman's Wharf."

"The Suites?"

"Yes. It's on Hyde Street." Even though I hadn't heard of The Suites, I knew where I was going now. There is only really one block of Hyde Street that has stuff on it and that can be considered "at Fisherman's Wharf", and that's the block between Bay and North Point.


"I have a GPS system if you need help."

"Oh. I don't think so."

When we were on the freeway, I heard a mechanical voice coming from the backseat. The guy had turned on his GPS device.

"Continue. on. Airport. Boulevard," the voice said.

"Are we on Airport Boulevard?" the guy asked.

"No. We're on the freeway."


"Continue. for. two. point. one. miles," the voice said.

"Continue. going. on. Bayshore. Boulevard."

"It says Bayshore Boulevard," the guy said.

"Bayshore Boulevard?" the woman asked.

"Well, we're on the freeway," I said. It seems his GPS device was mapping out the route without freeways. There was no way I was going to not take the freeway into the city. Nobody would ever do that, unless the traffic on the freeway had come to a complete stop, which was not the case now. It was 2pm.

"Continue. for. four. point. six. miles," the voice said.

"It says four point six miles," the woman informed me. I tried hard not to laugh.

"We're on the 101!" the guy said proudly after consulting his device.

"Yes, we are," I said.

"Is that a rainbow right there?" The guy pointed to the right. There was a rainbow floating above the bay water, very low, with Monster Park right behind it.

"Oh yes, it is! How cool," I said.

"It's right in the hah-buh," he said with his East Coast accent.

"It's beautiful," I said.

"Don't take your eyes off the road though," the guy recommended.

I merged onto 280 to continue into the city. I was going to exit King Street and take the Embarcardero all the way up to Fisherman's Wharf.

"Are we on 280 now?" the guy asked.

"Yes, we are."

"You really need one of these," he said about his GPS device. "Maybe I'll get you one for your birthday."

I laughed a genuine laugh. I thought that was a sweet and funny thing to say.

"Keep. left," the voice said when we were coming up on the 6th Street exit.

I passed the exit and merged onto King Street. I was really annoyed about the GPS device in the backseat and the fact that it was still. turned. on. I imagined the couple proudly telling their children later: "It helped the cab driver in San Francisco find our hotel!"

"This thing thinks you're all right now," the guy said.

"Oh, good." I faked a smile.

"I mean, I knew that all along.."

Sure you did, I thought to myself.

Eventually, I made a left on Bay and then a right on Hyde, and wouldn't you know it, The Suites were right there.

A note to all my future passengers: I am a cabbie. I know this city. Your GPS device doesn't know shit compared to what I know, and it does not belong in my car, especially not when it's turned on. Yes, I have issues with GPS devices, and I have issues with you suggesting that it might know a better route to where we are going than I do. Did I mention that I'm a cab driver? I fully admit that this is cabbie-ego and pride talking but just listen to me and do not turn on your GPS device in my cab. Thank you.


At 10/15/2007 11:33:00 PM, Blogger Oak said...

Probably that guy's GPS is programmed to avoid Freeway.
The GPS normally gives the shortest distance route but sometimes,it is not the same as shortest time since it will also take busiest and crowded roads. The driver knows better.

At 10/16/2007 11:50:00 AM, Blogger 4min said...

I've been thinking about getting GPS, but i'm afriad it'll introduce a whole new set of worries.

will it know about traffic?
will it be able to figure out which route is cheapest?
will it be easy to use?

seems all this one new about was being easy, it done f'd up the rest.

Mainahd's are usually pretty behind the times, they got like one road that takes them everywhere.

not all east coasters talk like that, that's a New England accent.

great post, ruffles my feathers.

At 10/18/2007 05:01:00 PM, Anonymous Jessica said...

Did you see the new episode of The Office where Michael got a rental car with GPS in it? Ah... so funny, he drives right into a lake because it tells him to turn right.

At 11/20/2007 09:57:00 PM, Anonymous Michelle said...

I love this post. I love your blog. Great meeting you tonight at Misty's. I admit I have a GPS, but I'd never, ever, turn it on in a cab. I only turn it on when I'm desperate, which is actually pretty often.


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