Sunday, July 26, 2009

T.A.X....I Screw you You screw me

Photo By Bryan Birtles
My first fare was from the Ramada. Next to the Indy Race track. She was one of those women that liked to hang around the track watching all the guys strut their stuff without their shirts on. She was a hot chick. Tipped really well. After that nothing. Well I got a delivery from a continuing care center. Nutrient or something for older folks that can't chew. When I got to the Nursing home the delivery turned sour. I went Voice to try to get the number of the center to call because there was no one who answered the door bell. I rang it a few times then realized that it was late enough to possibly be disturbing an older persons sleep. I went back to the car. Still no answer from dispatch. I got frustrated about five minutes into the wait. I called Barrel, I was put on hold for another four or five minutes. The Nutrient was sitting in front of the door next to the door bell. A call taker answered my call. I asked her what was going on. I interrogated her. I wanted her to tell me why the dispatch unit isn't answering my voice requests, why I couldn't hear them over the Radio. I wanted to know why I was put on hold for five minutes but I'm averaging six or seven calls a Night. I wanted her to answer. If I was up in that office I'd fucking know everything. No one there "knows" anything about the fact that money is non existent. She hung up on me. Two minutes later a Continuing care lady took the Nutrient in through the doors. I ran up to meet her. I'd been there for a long time. Right as I got through the door though I got a call from the dispatcher. He was pissed with me. Said I was hassling the call taker, he was right. The guy yelling at me was my favorite dispatcher. They fucked up tonight. Not the call taker. Tonight I had a ride along. A dude from the View Magazine. We more or less drove around trying to find a flag. They were non existent. The Indy wasn't what it was panned out to be but there was definitely some cool shit. Unfortunately no one needed a taxi. I bitched about my Love for the taxi and how I was having trouble giving it up. I'm addicted you know. FUck! We found a few fares. Three I think and I made 60$ in those three hours. Last night was one of the busiest nights of the year and it died before it was born. What a bastard. We did have this one fare. A bunch of Quebecois. Crazy. They were with this chick. Well Nirvana started playing on the radio and we all had a crazy sing along. It was spectacular. I've kinda of given up hope of continuing driving, but like I said I'm addicted.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Happy to have had a few good Fares

The night was eventful. Not financially but it was a fantastic night. Warm and all that junk. I miss making a living. I can't support myself as a cabby. I don't make enough cash to pay rent anymore. I'm using my savings this month. There goes the Camera I've been saving for. Who cares? I can do anything I want with the equipment I got. The fares? oh yeah. Tonight I had this bitchy teacher. She teaches kindergarten kids in Hobbema. Hard core hey? She was mean, I liked her. You could tell she was a good teacher. There was a few guys who liked me so much they said "You should manage my brothers band, he lives in Calgary." They were serious. I told them to give me a call. The drunk drivers were out in full force. One after another just cruising around not a cop in site to stop them. Oh I did see a bunch off EPS investigating a crash where a tiny car hit a Grey Hound. Everyone lived. I drove a band The Apresnos, they were the nicest kids I could have had in the Taxi. God bless you bastard musicians. I only say this because I also trapped a member of Ten Second Epic in the back of the cab. I locked him in and tried to close the window but the mother fucker was to strong and he clawed his way through the window. The only way I was able to stop him was through his stomach. I threw a box of Taquitos at him and by the time he was done we were at his house. Where he got out and announced to the world "it's my twenty fifth birthday." Getting a rock star at the end of a slow night is exhilarating. God Bless that animal. God Bless the world, man we need it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Blow it bitch.

I work in an industry that involves sex. Yes Sex! Last night as I was dutifully making my awful rounds around the dead city of Edmonton I stumbled upon a group of two. They were a couple, the girl was wearing a bra and the guy looked like the average thug rig pig. The girls clothing was provocative but she looked kept. Like she wasn't a street walker. She was actually very attractive. When they got in the car I mentioned how lucky I was to get the half naked woman. The guy wasn't in the mood to chat he said "Sherwood Park, take Baseline!" and then the two started humping. Dry at first but it progressed into intercourse I'm pretty sure. I was trying to keep to myself even though the cab ride was gonna last at least 20minutes. The girl was already half naked when she got in. The two went at it hard, I just kept the music loud. At a certain point (Baseline and 17st) I believe the girl went down on the guy for a good skull fucking. Couldn't see anything because of the shield but I could tell because of the repetitive knocking against the metal wall that stands between me and the fare. When we entered Sherwood Park I asked for a more specific address. I got no answer so I just kept going , until Sherwood Park ran out. Then the guy told me where to go. I asked "did you guys make a mess." The girl said "we didn't even do anything. Got a lighter?" I had matches. They both sat there and smoked. I made 60$ off that ride whatever they did in the back seat was worth it cause 60$ is a very good rate in these times. One of my last fares was this girl, 18. Young and dumb. About half way through the ride she realized I'm a cool guy and she doesn't want to run on me but she has no money. She was going to party with some guys . I said "the guys will give you cash, you're the only girl at the party right?" She said " I am the only girl at the party, do you think they'll give me cash." I said "Yes." I also thought to myself "you're gonna have to suck some cock for it." She was kind of that type of person. The type that ends up on the curb at the end of the night because she sucked the guys off to keep her at the party, not for the cash to go home. Harsh....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Law Enforcement at it's best

Law Enforcment at it's best


The designer is ready to move the fuck on. Just get his shit together and eat lunch. La Shish did it. 118st and Jasper ave. Try it. I picked up a couple of people. Four fares. Two were Philipinos, Great fares. Chilling night, literally cold. Yeah the high light was Lebanese food, rice, chicken, humus, garlic dip, pitas Salad and HotPepers for a reasonable price. I treated myself, I shouldn't have. The job isn't letting me. I'm so broke ass. I did it to myself, I fell in love with Taxi. A dead beat job in a bunk economy, but fuck when times were good the machine could bring in the income. Nothing Glamorise, but it was a flexible job. You're your own boss. I'm going back to school. School is awesome. I can't wait. I wonder if it's going to rejuvenate my appreciation of existence. I know it's all about jumping through hoops. Like a dog. I hear the Fashion industry feels a lot like... Fashion photography would be cool. All you need is a massive flash. Life is good though, real nice, you know like when you can put your hand outside the window of you speeding car. The feeling of the wind through your finger wind running up your arm and onto your face and shoulders. Nice. Edmonton is great right now. God gave this city a little slap in the face with that storm. Yes sir, but the city is great, the trees ah. Music and all that shit. Nothing beats it. Oh other then the open highway. Who dosen't love the highway.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Baseball talk is cheap. lets talk Sex

Last night there was an incredible storm. A storm like I've never seen in Edmonton. Tornado style but without the tornado. Almost the entire city was blacked out. The whole east side was black. Creepy but cool. At a certain point during the storm the taxi was being pelted by hail so big I thought the widows were going to burst. The night was filled with spectacularly massive lightning bolts ripping through the air. Trees were smashing to the ground all over the place. No joke. Trees were breaking in half. Bus stops were thrown into the middle of the street. People were forced to seek cover, people managed to get into my taxi. I managed to make a few bucks last night. Nothing incredible but enough to at least pay rent for another week of taxi driving. Sonic 102.9 has been playing the 90's weekend so all the music on the radio is awesome. I had a couple of dudes in my car that were ticketed for jay walking. They said "oil city was starting to get violent. We needed to move away from the chaos. So we crossed the road." the guy told me that the female officers stole everything in his wallet while looking for his ID. The storm kinda screwed up one of my photo shoots. All of Whyte ave was blacked out for the whole night. Police were forced to control traffic. They were pretty good at it. They had their hands full with lutters. The night went by fast, I think it's because I really like taking the photos. I had to go to a huge club in West ed. The place was big. The decor was very nice, but the patrons were snobs. Many of the boys in that club were jealous I was taking pictures of hot chicks. Next week is going to be good I think, there are so many fucking festivals going on. Oh and next Wednesday a reporter from View magazine is going to interview me. I can't wait to speak my mind. Rock on kids.
Wardrobe provided by

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mark. has hit his spot HARD

O.k guys I don't have the job yet because the company hasn't created the position. I wish I had the job. I need it. I made 105$ tonight. So thus far I've made 305$ since Wednesday. Meaning that I still have 65$ left to make before I break even. Remember I need 370$ just to rent the cab. So tomorrow if I make 100$ I'll be up 30$ for myself. Making 30$ in four days of work is like being a slave. I might as well be unemployed. Last night I got a call to Riverbend. A very rich area. The house was so hard to find, when I found it no one was home. I called dispatch to bitch. The dispatcher said he just spoke with the girl and she accidentally gave the company her old address. I told the dispatcher to black list her. He told me to go pick her up at her new address. You know kids with money don't care about much. They certainly didn't care that wasting my time like that kept me from making a living. Nether did the dispatcher. No one cares. I witnessed drama tonight I don't even want to talk about. It scared me and it wasted my time. None of the cabbies made any money last night. Who cares? Fuck I'm gonna eat shit and die. Poor. Oh but I did get to take some photos for a local bar. It rocked because I began to experiment with human subjects. Even though I don't have the best equipment, I'm going to become the best photographer in the city. People are gonna pay me to do what I love. I just know it. I just fucking know it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I might have a new job

So I went to see the boss about the deactivation of my account. The boss took a look at my file and said "your record is clean. No client has ever complained, but dispatch has asked me to tell you to stop telling them how you feel about their work" I went nuts. I couldn't believe that I was called into the office because I speak my mind to the dispatchers. I tell them what's going on on the streets. If I get a call to a public place I tell them that I won't even try to get the person unless the call taker included the clients phone number. "No number then I'm not going" I say. The boss liked what I was saying. I told him bout the blog. I even mentioned the CBC bit I produced with Scott Fralik. The boss was happy to hear I was so passionate about the job. Then I told him about the speech and the Vehicle for hire commission. I told him about how I use my camera to protect myself. I told him about the cops and how they jerk off. I told him all this in a frenzy. I went to visit him yesterday morning. Right after I came back from the hospital. I told him about the girl I drove on Thursday morning. He had no idea about most of my issues. He had no Idea that the drivers at night can's survive. He listened to me. Then he offered me a new position. A position that would let me use all my angry revenge talents. He told me that the company is trying to put eight more positions in the budget. He said "we want supervisors, we want someone like you."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I might get fired

So what happened. Well as I tried to log onto the system in the taxi I got a message saying this ID is inactive. I thought for sure I wasn't going to work. Right as I was going to drive my own car home the owner of the taxi pulled up. I told him "if I don't work tonight, I won't pay rent." He called management and Bam! I was back. The night was empty. Rotten, slow, awful. I resent life on these recession streets. I'm broke. I have no money. I have been paying to drive a taxi. I work to work. My life is as of right now officially over. Well I love to drive so I keep it up. I kept it up until 3:30 am. that's when I got a flag. My third fare of the night. As she got closer I saw the tears flowing down her face. She was scared, she was beaten, and as she sat down in the seat next to me I knew she had been raped. I asked "were you assaulted?" She just kept crying. She cried and cried. Her face was a mess. Tears, snot spite and pain were all I could see. She was raped. I'd seen this before. She kept saying it was her fault, she's twenty five she should know better. I knew how she was going to react to my next question but I asked anyway "we going to the hospital?" She just put her head in her lap and cried harder. She said "take me home, I have money, please just take me home." I said I would. On the way to her place I stopped and bought her a pack of smokes. She wanted to smoke. Even though I'm flat broke I took care of her. I wanted her to go to the hospital. She was raped. She insisted I drive her home. I knew from past experience that the police weren't even an option. Victims in her position never want to be violated by pigs. Somehow I convinced her to go to the hospital. She said"I'll go but come with me." I promised her I would stay as long as she wanted me to stay. I sat in the waiting room with her. The nurses thought it was strange. We talked about our lives in that room. She calmed down in that room. She kept insisting there was nothing that could be done. I just stared at her. I knew this would make both of us feel better. The first time a girl got in my cab after being raped I fucked up I said "lets go to the police, lets get the predator." She said "take me home.' The police are intimidating the hospital is safe. When the special nurse came to preform the "Rape kit" I stepped out. The girl wanted me to stay in the waiting room. I stayed. Security thought that was strange, the guards even asked me to leave. I told them i promised her I'd stay, they said "It's gonna take hours, you should go home." I told them I was going to stay. When they finished the tests and stuff she was given pills and sent on her marry way. The police were not called. She decided that it wasn't worth it. She was scared and I bet she felt guilty. Scary. There is a rapist sleeping in the Days Inn downtown drunk and ready to rape tomorrow. I hope he dies. After the hospital I took her to McDonald's to get some liquid to swallow the pills. They were big. I bought her breakfast and drove her home. She gave me her number I gave her the blog URL. I hope we see each other again because we had a strange connection, and we both lived through some serious trauma together. I was scared too. I don't want to drive cab anymore.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Staby staby

Tonight was crazy. While sitting outside the 711 on Stony plain road and 154st I watched a man jump over my hood. The man had just run across the street, he had been stabbed by a group of gang members that were hot on his trail. The victim ran into the 711. The gangsters followed him inside and stabbed him. On security camera I guess. I called 911 because as I watched the incident unfold the clerk in the 711 just kept cashing. Customers service is more important to the Filipino clerk then a man dying on his stores floor. As I talked to 911 I explained where the gangsters were going, I tried to give the dispatcher a description of the assailant but the guy on the other end of the line hung up on me. The cops showed up about 10minutes later. There were several women cops and I noticed lots of pettign and giggling betweent the the boy cops and the girl cops while they waited for the wounded mans ambulance. I don't think female cops can do what a man can do. Just like I don't think a women could drive a cab in Edmonton at night. There isin't any women driving cab at night in Edmonton because it's just something that a man should do. Jesus knows how dangerous these jobs are. I also had a young woman offer to smoke a joint with me. I said "no" but sure did appreciate the offer she paid me way to well. Here is a video about hating the corporate pig.

and here is the link to the photos I shot this weekend ClubZone

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bigger then it should be on me

Tonight was another photo night. I drove the taxi from 7pm till 9pm. In those two hours I made 20$. Jack shit. After that I drove myself down to Woolly Bullies. There I shot the party. UFC was on pay per view. Everyone in the city was interested in it. I don't like watching the fights, it's just not my thing. After that I proceeded to two other clubs, also to shot photos. It was great. As soon as I got back in my taxi I got a call from an old regular. She lives on the north side. I'm not sure why, but she gave me a tremendous tip. The type of tip you thank God for, but this girl is kind of a Satanist. Cool chick. She knows who she is and she know I owe her. Doing the photo shoots is risky. I might be loosing out on business. Well thanks to the huge tip I didn't have to worry. Thank you Vicky you are a very awesome human being. Then I had a flag, this Mexican woman. I pulled over for her cause she was gorgeous and her husband looked alright. Well as soon as they got in they called over two other couples. I told them "No". That's just too many. the guys kept pressing. I said "No" then pointed at the ten cops standing around jerking off while watching the road. The three couples were saying "don't worry they don't care, we'll give you an extra 20$." I said "No." Then they offered 40$ extra. I still said "no." Then they offered an extra 60$ on top of the fare. I was seduced by the cash. I let all six in. The big tip was nice but it wasn't enough to feed the family forever. I got the three couples home, it was a risk but it paid of. I got 100$ from the six people in the car. If I was caught doing that I would have lost my job. I don't care anymore I need to take some risks to survive in this economy. The vehicle for hire commission can suck my dick. They don't know about the blog. If they did they wouldn't have the heart to read it anyway. They're probably spending all the money they get from bribes, those asshole politicians. My last fare was a guy I think was gay. Maybe still in the closet. He told me about his old roommate. His roommate was 5.2ft, my fare said "I used to make fun of his tiny ass. Until one day he came out of the shower with this huge erection. His dick was massive. So big I wasn't able to wrap my hand around it." Then the fare showed me the size of his hand. The conversation started because the fare realized I was short. He said "you're the smallest cabbie I've ever had." I said "But I ain't scared of shit." Then he told me bout his old roommate and said "never underestimate someone who isn't so tall cause you never know how big they really are." I agreed.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

It can't always feel that way

Tonight was unreal!. You see I got a job photographing club goers. No not people going to the club in the taxi but people in the clubs. I was hired to go to a club and take pictures of the patrons. It's a promotional thing. I hope I get paid. Well one of the club owners saw me and asked if I would come back tomorrow and photograph the UFC audience. We negotiated a deal 40pics for a bunch of cash and a bar tab. Score! I don't drink. It's funny how things are working out. I started my shift at 6pm last night. I drove 100Km before I was suppose to go to the bar and take pictures. Within that 100Km time frame I made 16$ + a 4$ tip. From 6pm till 10pm I made 20 bucks. Who cares! I'm a fucking professional photographer. I even used my G10 I can't afford a SLR on my current income. If things continue the way they have I'm gonna kick ass. Photography! fuck imaging if I got to make films, man that would be sweet. See I figured out that I'm a storyteller. I was nervous last night but once I got into it people were approaching me to have their pictures taken. Like it mattered or something. A safe ride home is more important, but less fun. I'm lucky. The change in my earnings is forcing me to change. If I kept making money driving taxi I would stay a taxi driver. There is more to me then Taxi Talk. That's something I almost forgot about driving around a dead end career. Taxi Talk is a good friend of mine but she needs tweaking. Change. It's coming. Not just the blog, my life. I'm going back to school. I want a different story to tell. I just have to look at school as a taxi ride. I wonder..........What's the back seat? I know, the other students maybe. What's the road? Well that's easy the God Damn curriculum. The teacher are the law enforcers, they have the potential to make or brake you. I'm just a bum who thinks he knows everything. A guy who knows he doesn't but he thinks he does. My first fare after the photo session was a personal. As fate would have it he called me the moment I was passing him on Whyte Ave. He was a Hoolioes Bario. The weather had turned and the rain was falling heavily. He wanted to go to londonderry mall I told him that that's where hookers go to buy crack. I was exaggerating. It's been a long time since I've seen any body picking up hookers. Most people can't afford the luxury. Crack! I haven't really dealt with any in a while either. It's the economy. Tightened everything up. It's strangling some. I'm not letting that noose choke me but I can feel it. Fuck. That first fare, that guy that I so fatefully picked up, he gave me 60$. Thank God. It was one o clock and I able to pay for Gas. I drove on. I made some money last night. I had a girl try to fit through the window in the shield. She almost made it. I drove Shaun Bogner to and from the bar last night. Always a little bit of good luck out of that. Man tonight felt good.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dersert Eagle dipped in chrome,

So tonight Kenny Chesney was in town. Probably the only country western mother fucker who decided to leave Calgary. The guy filled the Stadium. That's so many fucking people. His concert was the only place to find people to drive. Most of the audience was from out of town because I drove almost everyone I picked up at that concert to a Hotel/Motel. One of the women in the back seat was a correctional officer at a federal prison for men. I asked her why she didn't work with the women. She said "could you imagine a whole prison full of women PMSing at the same time.?" I said "No." What's up with women all getting their periods at the same time? Did you guys know that girls mature faster closer to the equator? Last night I had a fare to Sherwood park, one of the three dudes threw up on the car. I got lucky because one of the guys in the back seat had a garden hose at his house. He got to wash the old boat down. My last fare was a girl who works at lucky13. She told me that a Spanish looking girl did not want her to serve her drinks because she (the waitress) was white. How often do you hear about that? Reverse racism. It has happened to me. Some Punjabi guy harassed me for no apparent reason, I told him to get out. Yesterday I watched a movie about Def Leppard and I fell in love with the group. Come on, a one handed drummer. God I wish I was a rock star. I would act responsibly and buy aaaaa an army of soldiers to back me the fuck up. I drove a soldier tonight. Like always a fine young gentleman. He told me that before he gets to go to Afghanistan he is going to work the 2010 winter Olympics. He said "the government doesn't want civilians to know that we're out there because Canada is suppose to be known as a perfect place without any real violence." He laughed out loud after saying that. He told me that Canadians aren't just peace keepers anymore. He also told me that a soldier who doesn't get to go to war is like a lawyer who has never seen the inside of a court room. Fuck I want a gun.

The real deal

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009

100-150mm of rain over the bulls boys the bulls

Sunday is my kinda day. It's relaxed. My Saturday night was so stressful I was furious. I kept talking shit to the only thing that would listed to my rant, God! I was alone in the cab yelling at the almighty. Cursing, calling the big guy upstairs every name I could think of. I slammed a door on my chest last night, that wasn't Gods fault neither was my bad night. So this Sunday morning I went to church. Not! Screw church for me driving the taxi is church. Tonight was slow. I think I had four fares and three were my own clients. One of the kids in the car tonight was drunk. He needed to take a leak, I stopped and waited for the guy to get out and pee. Well when he came back there was a stink. The mother fucked stepped in dog shit. The worst part was he couldn't smell it. Fuck! I parked that stinky car and went home. What a night. It rained.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Really I hope she is OK

Smile like a doughnut cause that's a good way to make a living

It was so dead last night that when I was asked by a fare to go to Beaumont I said to the group of young adults "I don't want any cash up front, but if you guys rip me off my kid won't eat." They all laughed thinking I was joking. Then one of them said "dude you're not Taliban, we'll pay good just go." I went. They were one of my only fares last night. I wonder if the guys that look like members of Al-Qaeda made any money tonight. I drove this girl just as the sun was setting. I took her down town. She said she was meeting a military guy. "He's an old friend" she said, "he drinks a lot, but he's a nice guy." I told her to stay safe. So at three in the morning I get a call from her. She sounded funny, like she was scared. I told her I would go out of my way to pick her up at the bass. The military barracks are as far north as you can go. On the way there she sent me a text that she had no cash. I called her and asked "Are you OK?" She said "No." I asked "are you safe?" She said "no." I said "you can pay me back the cash I'll be there in five minutes." When I got there she was no longer answering her phone. I wonder if she was getting rapped. Over the phone she gave me the impression that her soldier buddy wasn't such a nice guy. She never answered my calls when I got there. I hope something happened to her because that call wasted any chance I had at maybe making enough money to survive. So Kira I hope he did something to you. Cause you worked me, you probably lied to me and I wanted to help you. Next time you cry wolf I hope the monsters you hang out with give you what you deserve. The last fare I had that actually paid took me to Millwoods. One of the two guys in the back seat was east Indian. He was kinda in a weird mood. I took them to his place first. He wanted me to keep driving. He directed me to a tree with flowers hanging in it. He introduced me to his brother, a kid who was shot dead right at that spot. The east Indian dude was in a strange place so his buddy paid me and told me to go. He said (not the east Indian) "I'm gonna walk him home" you could tell they were friends. I left the two guys standing next to a tree looking up to the leftover pieces of the shrine. I wasn't sure what to think other then RIP. Tonight was so bad. All I can say is that in the past 40 hours of work I brought home 200$. I am officially a crappy provider for my family and the corporate pig is definitely winning. If you are a part of the plastic world go fuck yourself in the face.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Lawyer, Lawyer pants on fire

Tonight one of my fares told me how he lost his virginity. He said "once when I was eighteen I was moping around a 711. Looking for some candy or something. When this chic came up to me and invited me over to her house. She was kinda scraggly but I went. Well we drank some beer and we fucked. That's how I lost my virginity." I looked at him and said "wow special." He laughed and screamed "that's not it, there is more!" he paused took a breath and spoke "I never told anyone this story, I didn't want people to know that the first time I had sex was with a women who kicked me out right after because her boyfriend was on his way home. I was happy it all happened so fast." I told him "I lost my virginity to my bosses daughter when I was twenty, her dad was also my principle. We both shared an interest in prescription anti depressants. The relationship did not last long." Later I drove several groups of people high on X. Canada is a big producer of the shit. One of the biggest in the world. Fuck one thing I can honestly say about Canada is that it carries some serious and extreme drug cultures. One of the groups was a bunch of young women. The other was a group of adolescents crack dealers. The drug seemed to make both parties nice, polite, happy and pleasant people. The two fares combined made up half my income for last night. I gave every member of both those groups my telephone number. I need people to start taking my taxi and nothing beats a young kid on probation with a healthy income. Other than a group of girls who don't think you're creepy and understand that gratuity is welcome. They rock and they're safe. I drove a lawyer last night, he told me "I'm a criminal lawyer, it's a job that's never boring, always challenging and often overwhelming." He tipped me fourteen dollars and took off.

Friday, July 3, 2009

my speech

As Someone who drives a vehicle for hire I rely on the Vehicle for Hire Commission to make well educated and informed decisions. I rely on a line of communication that adds an air of transparency to the system that is Vehicles for hire. That allows me, the driver and you the counsel to understand each other so we can work in unison. A line of communication that helps the counsel define problems in the system and allows drivers to present their issues. A line of communication that, exposes bad drivers and flaws with the laws. A good line of communication helps bring not only drivers and the Government together but also the everyday Edmontonian. I love driving a taxi in Edmonton.

On the morning of April 11th I witnessed a Gypsy taxi steal my fare. I was in shock. I radioed dispatch to find out what I could do. I made sure to get the guys license plate number. Dispatch had no idea what to do. Dispatchers at my company are not trained to deal with these issues because my dispatcher told me to go to the police. I called the EPS thinking they might catch the guy and give him a ticket. All they did is give me the number to Shar Wellers office. I phoned immediately only to find a recording stating that Share was on Vacation and if I wanted to speak to someone about my taxi problem I could call 311. So the next day I did and was told to phone the vehicle for hire commission. I was thrown in a loop. And a man breaking the law was allowed to continue with no repercussions. I was in shock. Nine days later I got an email from Share apologizing about the delay. She informed me about the city of Edmontons Municipal Enforcement Officers and how they conduct roaming inspections of vehicles on a 24/7 basis and also do follow ups on complaints regarding taxi violations like gypsy cabs, from their office location. I wondered how they got their information about those issues. Since yellow cab had no Idea who to get a hold of in regards to the gypsy cabbies. Based on my experience yellow cab dosen’t communicate with the vehicle for hire commission and the bylaw office does not receive an accurate amount of complaints regarding the vehicles for hire. Why can’t I get a hold of these bylaw officers 24/7. A line of communication.

The 3$ sure charge is another issues that I think is causing some of my financial stresses. Since January business has been down. Fares are almost non existent. The recession is one of the causes for the problem. People are out of work. The problem with the the extra three dollar charge is that it seems to be a deterrent. Clientele that would have hopped into a taxi on their way home often decided to walk now because their 10$ fare looks more like a 15 dollar fare. In these tight economic times 5 bucks can make or break someones decision to take a taxi or drive home drunk. I believe the Vehicle for hire commission has over priced clients for too long causing a customer back lash. Could you guys please look into finding a suitable solution to this problem. Wait times are non exsistent, there is no need to entice drivers to come out at night. Get rid of the extra 3$ and make sure to inform the public.

Quality control, there has been many issues related to poor service in the vehicle for hire world here in Edmonton. Don't get me wrong, we have excellent drivers and some incredibly good people out there. But there are complaints. Training seems to be one of the only ways to inform drivers how to behave with the clients. I believe there is more that can be done. Since organizations like yellow cab have nobody out on the roads paying attention to customer complaints and driver problems I think the vehicle for hire commission should implement rules that corporations like Yellow cab have a secret shopper programs and someone that enforces the rules. Stops illegal driving tactics and habits that have become common on the roads after midnight. Police are too busy looking after normal citizens breaking the law. Cab drivers with bad attitudes are not at the top of their agenda but they should be at the top the vehicle for hires commissions list of priorities. As a guy that works the night shift I am aware that taxi drivers have freedom. I am also aware that some of the drivers abuse that freedom. Whether we want to admit it or not, the city has some bad apples. Drivers that use the cars as a cover to sell drugs, alcohol. I’ve witnessed children driving around in their fathers car doing whatever they wanted. The city needs to step up and force the corporations to deal with these renegade drivers. Hopefully you guys can hire an organization that uses secret shoppers to evaluate drivers conduct and performance and report the findings directly to the city not the company that often protects inappropriate behavior.

Now safety, We have safety shields but is that enough. I don’t think so. To tell you the truth the people in my car are usually people who's behavior I can predict to some degree. To me the real dangers of working in the taxi business are the other dangerous drivers. EPS has a Curb the danger program. I’ve used it on many occasions.I witness many awful things driving the night shift and I often feel the need to communicate the issues to the authorities but dispatch is not in direct contact with the police. I believe that there should be a direct line of communication with the taxi service's and the police. We see more crime then most people can imagine. Most of it can be ignored, but there are times when you have to tell someone what you know. About a rape, or a very dangerous driver, or someone out to hurt another. The commission should look into creating a hot line for taxi drivers where they can leave tips through dispatch and feel safe. I’m not sure how but it could make the city much safer. The shields were not the worst choice I am safer.

As a driver behind the wheel of an Edmonton city hack I feel the need to inform the vehicle for hire commissions my problems, views and their solutions in my opinion. I believe I should have more access to bylaw officers and their services. I believe that the crisis behind the lack of drivers is over and the 3 dollar sure charge should be abolished. I believe that the citizens of Edmonton deserve taxis and drivers that have been put through a program that ensures quality control. I believe that as a driver I should have access to programs that can help me do the right thing with information that I have acquired through my job. A vehicle for hire is more then just a car that makes money, it should also be a person who wants to be a responsible and a trust worthy part of the community. Driving a taxi in Edmonton is an amazing job, let's keep it that way.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

No Birthday for something that's dead

Last night a man was killed at a bus stop.

I am a beer owned by the USA

To tell you guys the truth I'm pretty sure Canada burnt down a long time ago. We live in a shell of Canada. We live in the USA. Tonight was alright. No one was really wasted. I asked one guy "What do you do?" He looked at me and said "I give head." That was more or less most of the conversation. I had a group of kids that had just been robbed. Robbed meaning they left their purses in some dudes truck and the guy took off. They offered me their shirts to get them to the closest 711 I drove them for free. I drove a web guy and a welder. Lots of police out tonight. Probably because a few years ago rich, spoiled, and ugly Edmontonians rioted. The reason, we're a rich spoiled ugly and immature version of the United States of America. Whatever the fuck that means. Police presence helps business. It's still slow, but the web guy said hes still making great cash. The welder, well he paid me 60$ to drive him around for an hour. "Thank God". Really cool guy too, eccentric but not in that gay way, not that there is anything wrong with that. Traffic was unbelievable. People were everywhere. I wish I felt closer to the nation I grew up in but I don't. I feel like Canada has made an effort to turn itself into a first class duchebag. Yes Canada, you. You are run by a Conservative Government that is run by clowns and puppets. Our once great social health care system is being picked apart by the pigs with money and the government. Our infrastructure is falling apart. Oh and we look, sound and feel like Us.......A. Get it. Try not to be pissed with me try to make this nation better, and lets be honest we should have celebrated our Independence in two more days.