Chicago Sun-Times

Your cab confessions

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Because of an increase in rider complaints, city cab drivers are getting more citations this year for everything from unclean or damaged vehicles to reckless driving, abusive behavior and talking on cell phones.

What kinds of experiences have you had with Chicago cabbies? Good or bad.

Do you think cabbies get a bad rep, or are too many of them violating the rules of the road?

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9 Comments

I've lived in Chicago for 6 months and I've taken a cab once. I don't drive either, so I walk or take CTA to wherever I need to go. This includes grocery shopping and being the full-time working parent of a 3 year old child. If less people took cabs the drivers might work a bit harder for their money.
As for customer's actions - the cabs I did take in the suburbs (since there was no public transportation) were shocking, the exact same ride would cost twice as much on days when the driver would fix the meter. Drivers would purposely take longer routes thinking a foreigner wouldn't know the way. Some of them were not fit to ride in full stop. When you call the taxi dispatch you expect them to send a car and a driver who are both up to the job. Customers have every right to expect a basic standard.

I don't think that ALL taxi drivers are bad, but in comparison to non-taxi drivers they are definitely less law-abiding. I've been riding to work everyday--from Logan Square to downtown--and have learned to be extra cautious if a taxi is near me on the road. They are much more likely to ride or park in the bike lane, cut my off, speed, drive through a red light, etc.

If they are truly driving recklessly because making a decent wage depends on it, perhaps the solution is some type of taxi drivers' union rather than more stringent enforcement? (Forgive me if they are already unionized. I haven't heard any mention of a union yet.)

most of the comments on this forum only focus on cabbies & their sins but no mention of how ppl treat cabbies,pedestrians jay walking while talking on their cell phones,customers arguing that cabbies r fixing the meters, this self righteous behavior can not help, unless ppl start looking at their own actions b4 critcizing cabbies nothing will change, after all cabbies r reflection of the society they operate in,i advice ignoramuses on this forum to check schiller consulting's website for more facts about cabs

I was in a cab once that was pulled over for reckless driving. He was going about 60 in Lincoln Park. In the park, not in the neighborhood. He almost took out a couple of brides and a horse and carriage. He promptly insulted the police officer's toupee and was cuffed and put in the back of the police car. I turned the cab off and locked it up, I didn't know what else to do. This was pre-cell phone days, so I couldn't call the company and tell them where their cab was.

The upside was I was almost where I was going and didn't have to pay for it.

Ummm... what is a cab?

Posted by: B K Ray | July 6, 2007 10:49 AM

Cab - Have you seen one?
We must live in the same neighborhood....Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

Ummm... what is a cab?

When I am in a cab, I usually feel like we are going to crash (ran into a car once). When I am a pedestrian, I feel like I am going to be hit by a cab (have been clipped). And, when I am driving, I feel like a collision is imminent (been sideswiped twice). I'm a cautious person, and have a perfect driving record, so I can only imagine the horror stories some people have. Its just a matter of time before another person is killed by these lunatics behind the wheel. Since when has a person's life become less important than saving 30 seconds at a red light?

It would be a good idea for the City to post a number to send text messages to report on a reckless driver or one who is talking on his cell phone. That way I could get the taxi cab number right and the driver wouldn't know that I was making a report so he couldn't retaliate against me while I'm trapped in the cab.

Also, riders in this city should just start a policy of refusing to give a tip to any driver who talks on a cell phone during a ride.

A few months ago I encountered an elderly black taxi driver who was not talking on a cellphone, whose cab was spotless, and who was friendly and courteous. I meant to report him--for excellence. He's one in thousands. I live on the Near North Side, have business throughout the Loop, and, on average, I ride in 4-5 taxis a day. Fed up with their cellphone use, I started monitoring at the beginning of the year. The man I refer to is the ONLY cabdriver I've encountered not talking on his cellphone
during the period 1 January to 30 June 2007. Repeat: the ONLY one. The most extraordinary discourtesy is involved: does anyone else really care about taxidriver X's lousy relationship with his girlfriend. But there's a larger issue: cellphones divert attention: I'm now accustomed, when riding in taxis, to going through stop signs, failing to see stop signs, sideswiping cars, several times almost killing pedestrians who were following the rules.

What amazes me about this phenomenon is that friends tell me that they dare not drive with talking on a cellphone because the police are very vigilant. Yet, taxi drivers talk constantly on their cellphones: the number of citations mentioned in the accompanying article is ludicrously small. I suggest that our police, in plain clothes, start riding in a few cabs.

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