People often complain to me how hard it is to get a cab on Friday and Saturday nights. I drive during the day on Mondays and Thursdays so I can't really help with that.
The problem is that the same number of cabs, i.e. all cabs in the city, are out at any given time. That's because it is in the cab companies' interest to have all cabs out all the time because that way they get paid for every cab for every minute of the day. This is a problem for customers because it means that during the really busy times it's hard to find a cab. And it's a problem for drivers because during the really slow times it's hard to find a fare. But that's the way the system works right now, and there is nothing I can do about it, and I have come to accept it as a driver and also as a passenger. On a recent New Year's Eve, for example, I would have liked a cab home but ended up walking the whole way because all the cabs that passed me were unavailable. That's just what happens sometimes, and it didn't make sense for me to get upset about it, especially since I have a perspective from the inside of the system and know how it works.
But I understand that it is frustrating for people who really need a cab at a busy time and can't get one. I got to experience that first-hand last Saturday.
It was about 9pm, and my boyfriend and I were on our way to the Mission from Cole Valley. We started walking down the hill of 17th Street, trying to flag down every cab that passed us. They all, well, passed us.
"Nobody is stopping for us," he said.
"Well, they are all taken."
"I don't think so."
"Yes, they are. I looked inside of every single one, and there was always somebody in the backseat."
We ended up walking all the way home, but not before my boyfriend said it well in behalf of all San Franciscans who have ever had a hard time getting a cab.
"They are all poopie cabs."