Wednesday, April 23, 2008

LVCC gets published. Kind of.

They're invited to every restaurant opening, pick up at every bar and they talk to everyone. Wherever you are in the world, the person who knows best is sat upfront, behind the wheel. We asked cabbies around the globe for tips on the best venues their city has to offer.

Earlier this year I was contacted by The Guardian, the leading news publication in London. Freelance writer Paul Smith sent an email requesting an interview. Smith was amidst a piece entitled "The Knowledge", a reference to the training Cabbies in London must complete prior to obtaining their permits. "The Knowledge", focuses on the idea that Cabbies are the best people to ask for recommendations regarding food & beverage, regardless of the city or even continent for that matter. Naturally while attempting an article on this topic, he knew Las Vegas was a city he should attempt to include.

After a few brief email exchanges, I ultimately conducted a phone interview with Smith in the wee hours, business hours London time. Here are the fruits of Smiths' efforts. I like the idea for the story and it ended up being pretty good I thought, albeit containing an unusually large amount of typographical errors. For what it's worth, I've since learned that The Guardian seems to have a reputation in this regard. Sure I've had my share of fuckups so I'm not trying to go there, but I don't have the backing of a global newspaper or even college degree so I think I'm alright if a few slip threw the cracks.

Why did I not share this with you before you ask? Well, my full name appears in the published piece, misspelled mind you, and at the time I was still interested in remaining largely anonymous.

The Knowledge

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Cabbies in the news.

A well organized demonstration against the constant influx of medallions the Taxicab Authority grants (and its subsequent negative impact on drivers' income) took place yesterday. Drivers numbering in the hundreds wished to be heard and parked their cabs blocking lanes of traffic on Las Vegas Blvd and Fashion Show Lane in front of the old Frontier site.

Generally, these movements don't really get very far. To call it an uphill battle would be the biggest understatement of the year. Drivers are just pawns in a much bigger money game that stretches from the Governors office to the TaxiCab Authority. From the Don to the soldier. With odds like these stacked against you, you'd be a fool for taking the flag and running with it. I mean talk about all time wastes of time. However if drivers do decide to take on the powers that be with the limited resources that they have, it requires a little bit of gorilla warfare. One Battle of Puebla at a time.

However I for one, did not participate in the demonstration.

I've actually never participated in such an event. My problem is with the unions as much as it is with the TA and the medallion owners. The owners want more cabs...Of course. That's their best interest. Obviously, that's exactly the opposite of what the drivers want to see happen. More cabs + same number of passengers = less rides per cab. But the unions, who claim to represent the drivers and speak on their behalf at the medallion allocation hearings (and other pertinent TA/Drivers meetings), actually have a glaring conflict of interest in my mind....

Like anything of the sort, unions simply want your money. Their loyalty towards you runs dry quickly thereafter. Religion, government...unions. Realize that the union, who supposedly is arguing for you against more medallions, actually stands to benefit from the opposite. You read that right. Think about it. More medallions for the owners means more drivers they have to staff, the more drivers they have to staff means the MORE POTENTIAL UNION MEMBERS there are. I find it really hard to believe that an origination who purchased a billboard in town to encourage (more)membership, as well as other advertising methods with the same purpose, are really speaking as loudly as they should against more medallions.

We're actually paying these people to fuck us. Am I the only one that sees this? Pay those dues buddy, and don't drop the soap.

That said, kudos to the drivers that did take the time out of their night to stand up for all of us. You were as undermanned as you were underfunded but perhaps you've helped us to fend off those French bastards for one more night.

CABBY RALLY: Cabbies say tips dwindling