Day Cabbie

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

At the risk of sounding like The Bitch, I will call him The Asshole

It was an obscure street, somewhere in the foothills of Twin Peaks. I had never heard of this street, much less been on it.

I arrived a little bit early. When I pulled up in front of the address, I saw somebody through the window. Cool, I thought. They can see me. They know their cab is here.

I waited for about a minute but nobody came out. I was only mildly annoyed by this. I was early after all.

I got out of the cab and knocked on the door. The Asshole opened the door, chewing and holding a plate of spaghetti.

"Did you call a cab?"

"Green Cab?"


"I'll be out in a sec."

You better, I thought. And you better not finish that plate of spaghetti before you come out.

As I got back into the cab, a Yellow Cab tried to squeeze by me on the narrow road. He slowed down to almost a stop and looked at me suspiciously.

The Asshole came out shortly thereafter. I don't think he had finished the spaghetti. I heard him have a conversation with the Yellow Cab driver. I didn't hear the words that were exchanged, but as he got into my cab, I heard The Asshole dismissively say "Sorry!"

"Did you call two cabs?" I asked.

"Me? No."

"Was that driver here for 112 Teslin*?"

"That's my address."

"What did the driver say to you?"

"He asked if I called two cabs but I didn't."

I knew he was lying. He had so called two cabs. He had called Green Cab and he had Yellow Cab, and he didn't want to admit it. But I could see right through him.

He had to go to Chestnut and Sansome. I didn't talk to him for the whole ride because I was mad, less for calling two cabs but for lying about it. Our eyes met in the rear view mirror once, on Larkin near Eddy, and at that moment I knew that he knew that I knew he was lying. Liar.

When we got to his destination, the meter was at $16.60.

"Here you go." He handed me a twenty.

"Thanks," I said. Then, after a beat: "Do you need any change?"

"Uh. Yeah. Give me a buck."

After he left my cab, I kept shaking with disgust that The Asshole had asked for one dollar back. That's just petty. To me, it put the icing on The Asshole. But maybe I was just mad at myself for asking if he needed change. I think he had originally intended for me to keep the change, but since I asked, he decided to take a dollar. I don't always want to assume that all the change is for me, so I ask. In this case though, I wish I had assumed.

I got on the phone to the dispatcher.

"That 112 Teslin*? He called two cabs."

"Really? Did you get him though?"

"Yes, I got him, but he called Yellow too."

"Okay. I'm putting him on our blacklist."

"Thank you."

*Address made up to protect The Asshole.


At 12/13/2007 08:53:00 AM, Blogger Frank said...

A question: When someone is blacklisted and they call back for a cab at a later date, are they informed that they are blacklisted or just told that there are no cabs available?

And yeah, that guy totally deserved blacklisting.

At 12/21/2007 06:09:00 PM, Blogger Leeann said...

This might be a dumb question, but I didn't grow up in a city & have only taken cabs a few times in my life...why on earth would someone call two?!

At 12/22/2007 09:15:00 AM, Blogger Frank said...

People sometimes call two and take whichever one arrives first, usually because they are impatient or have had an experience with a late cab in the past.

At 3/28/2008 06:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why call two cabs? Because cab's in SF suck. Especially Yellow Cab. I'd say Yellow Cab shows up about 50% of the time when you call them.

One night a friend and I flagged down a cab. We got in. The cabbie said "I was on my way to pick someone up but saw you and decided to pick you up instead... that's why nobody ever gets their cab when they call for one."

So yeah, I'm calling two cabs... I've called four before. My roommate was home after I left. He said only the cab that picked me up showed up (after I had to call back 2 times).

At 3/28/2008 07:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yikes, this post makes me never want to call Green Cab again.

There was a night in SF when I needed a cab badly (cold, rainy, late night) in Chinatown and I called one. When after 20 minutes it didn't come, I called another one; when that one didn't come after 15, I called a third one, called back the 1st and 2nd, and they told me they were working on it! I am a girl and hadn't had anything to drink that night, not to mention that Chinatown is no Hunter's Point.

Finally I called back Desoto again (1st or 2nd company I tried), actually crying, because it had been well over an hour of waiting on a cold, rainy street at this point and they did finally come. Desoto, which had been on my personal ban list, because a few years ago they would pick up and tell me "Hey, sorry, you're out of area" and rudely hang up on my cellphone before I could get a word in, if I called after 9pm, assuming that my out of State area code implied I wasn't actually in San Francisco. Desoto were my heroes that night. Do customers have any way of getting back into your good graces like cab companies do for customers?

So what is a customer to do when THEY get screwed over by cab companies? Did you consider that maybe "The Asshole" called Yellow Cab like hours ago and they just happened to show up when you did? Yellow Cab is NOTORIOUSLY unreliable.

At 3/29/2008 02:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too have had the experience, several times, of calling a cab in San Francisco and not having it come. I'm sure "The Asshole" who gave you a two dollar tip, which seems more than reasonable on top of the ludicrous rates one must pay for a cab in this city, had had that experience too and decided to call two cabs. Maybe if cabbies would stop fighting adding additional cabs to this city, cabs would actually show up when you call one.

At 3/29/2008 05:08:00 PM, Blogger Vera said...

Like I said, I wasn't that upset about him calling two cabs. What bothered me was so much that he lied about it to my face when it was so obvious that that's exactly what he had done. If he had called Yellow Cab an hour again, he could have told me that and I would have understood.

If you want to get a cab in SF, don't call Yellow. Call Green Cab or DeSoto or Luxor. I can vouch for the reliability of all three.

At 3/29/2008 06:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

National/Veteran's is reliable for me. Luxor has trouble in the "hills" someimes.

At 3/29/2008 07:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every time I call Green Cab (which I do first because I want to support them) I am told there are no cabs available and to call back later... which obviously is useless to me.

I even tried calling well in advance so I could schedule a cab to show up in an hour or so and I'm told to call back when I actually need the cab.

This isn't one or two times... I've tried calling Green Cab 10-15 times... and I have yet to see the inside of a Green Cab.

I try, believe me.


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