A section of Cosmic Cabdrivers' Guide to the
NEWS AND FACTS ABOUT CABS AND DRIVING IN THE
AREA, OR ANYWHERE, FOR THAT MATTER; ALL DRIVERS WITH INPUT ARE INVITED
EMAIL: YOUR COMMENTS AND FACTS WILL BE INCLUDED
YOU AGREE WITH ME OR NOT
Who Really Owns AAA and Yellow?
In 2003, according to reports, Yellow, Checker and Courier, formerly
owned by Arnett, were purchased by AAA Full Transportation, an Arab-owned
taxi company that had previously concentrated mostly on servicing
corporate accounts in plain white taxis. It was somewhat surprising,
although Arnett himself was aging, his son of doubtful competence, and
the company likely in financial trouble due to multiple lawsuits.
A major lawsuit over the workman's compensation issue had finally been
whon on appeal, since in fact drivers are independent contractors, not
employees, but the years of litigation was no doubt draining.
DOWN ON SUNRISE
A driver describes his experience with a small Phoenix cab company
I needed to do some extra work, and not being a big fan of the standard thieves of the industry ie: AAA/ Discount, I asked around and heard that Bud at Sunrise was OK . Wrong. After 6 days of working the low end of his favorites line and paying a 65.00 lease for a 35 .00 rate 1.20 and with gas. Not to mention a guy held up a bank from the cab on my first shift. I finally had all I could take and bowed out after about 6 hours into my 7th Shift having net after gas about 12.00 dollars. I had paid all previous leases and went home with about 120.00 for 6 12-hour shifts. So I pretty much figured this was my 12.00 dollars. and dropped the cab clean with gas and notified the dispatcher that there were no hard feelings but this wasn't what I had in mind when I set out to make some extra money. This Bud guy calls me and goes ballistic I tried to explain and he hung up after saying such moronic shit as He knew where I lived and don't bother to hide I wrote him a decent letter and dropped it at his office. This only made him worse. Tell readers that it is bad enough out there so avoid this asshole at all cost. ThanksDanny Wilson
Thanks for the contribution, Danny! If anyone else has an opinion on Sunrise, or another company you've worked for, feel free to email.--captain rat
NEW AZ TAXI LAW BEING CHANGED
Just as small taxi companies and owner-ops were preparing for the
worst, which was scheduled to begin July 1, 2004, it seems the AZ
Legislature is ammending the law, possibly softening the blow a bit.
CINCINATTI CABDRIVER PICKS UP LION
Mark Kronner, a taxi owner-operator in
Cincinatti for 19 years,
picked up a passenger with an unusual pet. He describes the
incident as follows:
ARIZONA! Let's Join the 21st Century!
And then invite everyone over
Arizona politicians really should try to stop shooting themselves in the foot. We have a state full of natural beauty, great winter weather, excellent resorts, hotels, golf courses, and, thanks to the enterprise of Native American tribes, we even have gambling. yet we are losing convention and tourism business to Nevada and other places.
Although the people of Arizona are as sophisticated and cosmopolitan as any, we have developed a reputation as regressive, restrictive, and prudish; a state to avoid if you want to have fun. It is our so-called LEADERS (actually they are about a century behind us) who make us appear dull and reactionary.
Still, it is our own fault. Instead of speaking up and demanding progress, we remain silent while the ultraconservatives and religious fanatics make all the noise.
Evan Meecham, for example, made the entire state appear both racist and stupid. Fortunately he was removed from office before the impression could become permanant. However, we still have politicians who make such bigoted and pointless proposals as a constitutional ammendment banning gay marriage. Perhaps if gays were not allowed to marry, more of them would become priests instead.
Seriously, the effect of such public
will be to alienate a significant proportion of the population,
of them to choose other states for vacations or business
One of Arizona's major handicaps is our set of archaic liquor laws. Our 1:00 am end to alcohol sales amazes and frustrates most visitors from elsewhere. Those here for conventions and business meetings are especially disappointed. The night life is an important part of a visitor's experience. Vacationers, by definition, have time off from work, and many of them want to have a good time. But Arizona only offers them half a night to enjoy.
Early bar closing does not make people drink less. It only insures that nearly all of them will be leaving the bar at about the same time. Many will hurry to finish a last drink before they go. Of those who call a taxi, some may have to wait awhile during 'bar rush, when a large number want service at the same time. A later last call would help reduce the hurried drinking. Bars should be encouraged to stay open at least an hour after last call, giving people time to wait for a ride and/or leave without a rush.
There is now an initiative being started to extend last call. Check out the link below for petition information.
Finally, it should go without saying that banning smoking in bars and restaurants is senseless and mean-spirited. Arizona should stand for individual liberty, not paternalistic prohibition. Let's make this state one we can be proud of; progressive, free, and economically strong!
AZ Legislature Blunders in Taxi Regulation
Currently, taxicabs are permitted to charge by odometer; however, several factors can influence odometer accuracy including tire inflation, tire size, and the accuracy of the odometer. If a smaller tire is used or the tire is under-inflated after the annual inspection, the taxicab company will be overcharging its customer. The DWM recommends that taxicabs, as defined in ARS 41-2092G; licensing fees; definitions, be required to have and use a certified taximeter for computing taxicab fare.
This statement is so absurd that even someone unfamiliar with taxicabs should see the flaw in the argument.
HOW DO YOU THINK A TAXIMETER MEASURES DISTANCE?
It is, of course, connected to the same cable, either electrically or mechanically, that turns the odometer and the speedometer. It is subject to exactly the same causes of inaccuracy as the odometer, including tire size and inflation. Unless it is being suggested that meters use a global-positioning system device to measure distance, (this is being developed but is not yet in production), then we must still count miles by the turning of the wheels on the road.
If a taxi owner or driver wants to cheat his customer, having a meter is to his advantage. The meter LOOKS more official and authoritative, and is less likely to be questioned.
Adding the factor of traffic delay time can effectively mask a distance inaccuracy. In addition, adjusting the minimum speed used to determine traffic delay time can increase the total fare considerably, yet this setting is not a required part of the rate-posting.
Requiring meters does nothing to insure the honesty of a taxicab or sedan. It only increases the operating cost, which will result in higher fare rates for the customer. The margin of profit for a small company or an independant owner-driver is already quite slim.
The meter requirement will only help
large taxi companies who already use meters, by reducing the
from small companies and independants.
TLC goes 10-7
TLC Transportation, a small
transportation service located in Glendale, came to an untimely end on
To its drivers and its customers, TLC had
more than just job or a ride: it was like a family and a friend you
At the end of the day, on 10-7-2003, that
dissolved, sadly, each of us feeling a profound sense of loss.
Although AAA Cab has purchased TLC's phone
and name, and will use some of TLC's former drivers, it will not be
Customers of TLC tended to be very loyal.
and phone operators often knew them by their voices or recognized
immediately. There was no caller-id on the phone--it was
Although TLC had its ups and downs over the
and no doubt struggled to make a profit, especially during this
recession, the reasons given for the close were not financial, but
that two tragic
deaths had occured in the owner's family, back in Ohio. Laura,
the owner, was needed back there, and could no longer run the company
Now that TLC is no more (the AAA simulation only uses the name and the phone numbers), I have heard from individuals who were formerly with the company, who have provided some information, which I am piecing together in an attempt to tell a more complete story.
It seems that some inaccurate tales may have been spread, and some events overdramatized, while other more significant details were undisclosed. Sorting out the complete truth may be difficult or impossible, but the confusion and conflicts of information may paradoxically provide a deeper insight and understanding.
The details I have received so far are far from complete, and I encourage any and all who know relevant facts to contribute. News can only be as accurate as its sources, and the more different viewpoints contributed, the more likely the story to be complete and balanced. Contributions have always been invited.
DECEIT IN THE DESERT
THREE RUTHLESS CONSPIRATORS PLOT TO RUIN THE SMALL TAXI COMPANY THAT EMPLOYED THEM
But when your business partners. who pretended to be your friends as well, sneak off into the night to surreptitiously sell out to a larger company, stealing your hard-won accounts and many of your drivers by spreading vicious lies, even stealing your office rolidex., fraudulently having not only your office phones turned off., but your homephone as well, then things can get pretty tough.
Ruthless tactics in business
nothing new. Neither are murder, robbery,and rape. No one is
at the daily news reports. complete with victim interviews.
I dispatched for the EAGLE LIVERY, the company to which this happened.
can it escape its
Legacy, begun as a rip-off of Eagle (see DECEIT IN THE DESERT), is no longer a part of Yellow's Arnett Transportation. A former Eagle driver, Tone (pronounced TONY), had been driving independantly and quietly acquiring a fleet of Towncars, which he leased to drivers.
Tired of seeing Arnett/Legacy rip off drivers and mismanage the company, Tony bought Legacy.
Then, he did a very wise thing: he hired me.
PERHAPS AN ENTERPRISE THAT IS CONCEIVED IN EVIL RETAINS ITS BAD KARMA, DESPITE A NEW OWNER'S GOOD INTENT.
The evil Don, who is now dead, missed by no one who ever worked with him, and the thieving con-man Jed, started Legacy by ripping off Eagle Livery.
Tone' Hermiz, who drove a sedan with Eagle, and who had been building a fleet of towncars to lease to drivers, bought the company from Arnett Transportation, owner of Yellow, Checker, and Courier Cabs of Phoenix and Tucson. There were high hopes of turning it into a first-class Sedan company, and, in fact, much progress was being made.
Three thousand taxis with special head lamps marking quality services have taken to the streets of Beijing. The taxis belong to five taxi companies including Capital Taxi Company and Beijing Taxi Company, which have promised that their drivers will not refuse to take passengers, nor overcharge.
Currently, Beijing has 1,008 taxi companies with 67,000 cars and over 90,000 drivers. Taxis shoulder 12 percent of Beijing's transportation volume.
TAXI TERROR, DESTRUCTION, AND ROMANCE ON THE STREETS OF PHOENIX
DECEMBER 3, 1999
august 23, 2000
Today your rodent reporter learned that the driver
Lincoln was towncarjacked
He began telling the story as we sat in the dispatch office, and I suddenly realized that it was the same story I reported months ago.
That gunshot that broke the windshield, I learned today, barely missed the side of the driver's head, coming close enough to shave a swath of his hair.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SEDAN AND A TAXI IS TECHNICALLY ONLY THAT A TAXI CAN BE FLAGGED (WILL STOP FOR SOMEONE WAVING FROM THE CURB). A SEDAN IS SUPPOSED TO BE EXCLUSIVELY ORDERED OR RESERVED IN ADVANCE.
THE CITY OF PHOENIX STILL RETAINS AN ORDINANCE REQUIRING THAT ACCURATE RATES BE POSTED ON THE SIDE OF THE VEHICLE. THEIR LAW DEFINES A NON-TAXI HIRED TRANSPORTATION VEHICLE AS A 'LIMOUSINE'. IT DOES NOT SPECIFY THE STYLE OR SIZE CAR IT MUST BE. 'LIMOUSINES' ARE NOT REQUIRED TO POST RATES OR DISPLAY ANY KIND OF SIGN.
THIS USUALLY RESULTS IN A QUALITATIVE DIFFERENCE AS WELL.WHILE THE TAXI IS USUALLY PAINTED AN IDENTIFYING COLOR OR DESIGN, SEDANS RETAIN THEIR FACTORY PAINT, MAY BE UNMARKED OR IDENTIFIED WITH MORE SEDATE LOGOS OR SIGNS. MOST SEDANS DON'T USE METERS, RELYING ON THE ODOMETER OR PRECALCULATED FLAT RATES.
MANY SEDAN COMPANIES USE LINCOLN TOWNCARS OR OTHER LUXURY VEHICLES, AND CHARGE RATES OF $2.00 A MILE AND UP.
THOUGH PRICED HIGHER PER MILE, THERE IS NO TRAFFIC DELAY CHARGE,SO ON MANY TRIPS THE END COST WILL BE LITTLE MORE THAN A METERED TAXI WITH A LOWER RATE.
SUCH SEDANS APPEAL TO CUSTOMERS DESIRING MORE PERSONALIZED AND HIGHER QUALITY SERVICE, AS WELL AS THE MORE LUXURIOUS CARS.
SEDANS NEED NOT BE LARGE LUXURY CARS, HOWEVER. TLC, FOR EXAMPLE, USES MOSTLY COMPACT ECONOMY CARS WHICH, THOUGH SMALLER, ARE FAIRLY NEW, CLEAN, AND PLEASANT TO RIDE IN.
THIS ALLOWS THEM TO KEEP LOWER RATES, WHILE EMPHASIZING COURTEOUS AND FRIENDLY SERVICE.
MARKET IS SATURATED WITH LOW AND MEDIUM PRICED TAXICABS. SINCE
IT HAS BECOME INCREASINGLY HARDER TO MAKE DECENT MONEY IN A
CAB. LEASE RATES HAVE DOUBLED IN THE LAST 15 YEARS, WHILE FARE
ROSE ONLY 25% OR LESS.
PRICED SEDANS MAY HAVE FEWER CALLS PER HOUR, BUT THEY AVERAGE
MONEY PER CALL, AND THE TIPS ARE BETTER. THE DISADVANTAGE WITH
SERVICES IS THE DRESS CODE.
THE TOWNCAR SEDAN COMPANIES GET MOST OF THEIR BUSINESS BY OBTAINING CONTRACTS AT SOME OF THE MEDIUM TO HIGHER-PRICED HOTELS. IT IS AN ORGANIZED FORM OF BRIBING THE BELLHOP. THEY ALSO CONTRACT WITH CORPORATE OFFICES TO TRANSPORT THEIR FREQUENT-TRAVELING EXECUTIVES. THE LUXURY CARS ATTRACT SOME RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS AS WELL, MOSTLY IN THE HIGHER INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS.
WONDER WHERE THE YELLOW WENT?
squeaky wheels at the oily canary
YELLOW, CHECKER, AND COURIER drivers, all part of Arnett Transportation, the biggest in the Phoenix area, are concerned about their dispatching system. some time ago the company installed MDT's, presumably to increase dispatching efficiency. But Yellow, which once had the quickest average response time in the Valley, has gotten slower. Drivers are getting cancellations on calls that were not cancelled. Two or more cabs are getting dispatched to the same call. Business is way down.
Obviously, computerized dispatching solves no problems when run by underpaid, undercompetent, undertrained, and undermotivated dispatchers and phone operators. in fact, it only serves to make errors and dishonesty harder to trace.
owner of YELLOW, CHECKER, AND COURIER cab companies, may be in
LEGAL TROUBLE for systematically overcharging its voucher
account clients. It may be in more trouble for attempting to
checks that were
Overnight, the balance of power in Phoenix taxicabs has changed drastically.
Until now, it was The Big Three:
Arnett Transportation: Yellow
and Checker ($1.50/mile), Courier $1.60/mile and Courier VIP
($2.00/mile) All use MDT's for
Arnett's fleet of white cars uses hourly-paid drivers and runs
of the voucher calls. The regular cab drivers will end up with
of the twinkie vouchers, though. Arnett also owns Yellow of
NOW IT'S THE BIG TWO!
AAA was easy to underestimate as a company. Though numerous, their cabs are plain, white, and rather ugly. Apparantly, however, it has amassed enough of a fortune for its Arab owner to enable him to pay a reported $6 million for Arnett's entire operation.
Independant-minded entrepenuers can join the countless one-car owner-operators who prowl the streets with a cellphone. Anyone with the right toys can play, though not all will win.
will you ever get them back? a common cab-company scam
As an independant contracting cab driver, you have little or no real protectionfrom an unscrupulous cab company, unless you can afford a good lawyer and have plenty of time.
A good example is the driver deposit.
rationale for the deposit,which is usually collected as an
$5 per shift, is that it will cover the deductible in case of
at-fault accident, the unpaid lease if you quit without paying
the end of your shift, or the cost of a missing radio or
Anyone with new or corrected info about Phoenix area cabs is asked to contribute.
CONTRIBUTION ARE INVITED. ~~captain rat --your rodent reporter
THIS PAGE OF CAB NEWS, THOUGH BEGUN TO REPORT THE STORY ABOVE,
IS OPEN TO ANYONE WITH FACTS AND OPINIONS RELEVANT TO DRIVERS
AND TAXI CUSTOMERS IN GREATER PHOENIX.
~~captain rat --your rodent reporter
Driver's Guide to Phoenix
World Taxi Links