I have mentioned the fare increase in several posts.
Now, after having worked with it for a few shifts, I can render at least a partial verdict.
It is a vast improvement.
To start with, let me reiterate what I have said in another post : last year I made an average daily wage that equaled my average daily wage in 1984.
I don’t know if anyone else in America can boast of such a humiliating statistic as that.
Nevertheless, it’s true.
The reasons for such a financial disaster were several : an arbitrary increase in the number of cabs on the road in order to get a one-shot budget boost from the sale of medallions, leading to excess supply; complications of the credit card reader — such as slow start up, passenger confusion with a bad program, and swiping issues; a predatory driver fee of 5% per card transaction; and the Taxi TV, which transformed drivers into babysitters for an annoying media stunt.
With the new increase, I can report, my wages might just reach an acceptable level for a normal person in the modern world.
This is not to say that I will become rich, simply that I will be in a good mood at least occasionally.
But there is more.
I have praised the new TLC chairperson, Mr. David Yassky, in a past post, because of, among other things, his advocacy of this fare increase. He knew it was necessary and helped enact it.
What surprised me these last few days is something else : he has calibrated the fares so that they are in multiples of 50 cents, always. Which is to say, there are fares of exact dollar amounts ($5, $10, $12, for example), or an exact amount plus 50 cents ($2.50, $6.50, $8.50, etc.). There are no more fares of $8.70, or $8.30, or $9.90, and so forth.
It is perhaps inconceivable to the non-driver why this is so important (though, after a while paying the new fares, the average customer might catch on.)
What it amounts to is this : every taxi transaction is enormously simpler and easier to negotiate : easier to figure a tip, easier to understand, easier to count out, round off, and, in short, to pay, than at any time in the past 10 or more years.
Why should this matter?
Because it makes life easier, generally, for everyone : the passenger doesn’t have to think as much or take as long to pay; the driver doesn’t have to go through mathematical horror at the end of each shift as he figures out his debits and credits; the dispatcher or pay master doesn’t have to be swamped in confusion; and pedestrians and other motorists and their passengers don’t have to wait extra seconds and minutes of utterly wasted time as an interminable taxi transaction takes place in their vicinity.
Not bad for one simple little adjustment to how fares are calculated.
I perceived in David Yassky, when I first became aware of his way of doing things, a particular fit for public service. He seems to notice what needs to be fixed, and goes about fixing it. I had given up even thinking about the hopeless complexity of taxi pricing, and the delays and frustrations it causes everyone, because I had never expected anyone to ever do anything about it.
Now, lo and behold, someone seems to have noticed the problem, and even done something about it!
Public service ought rightly to consist of doing the greatest good for the greatest number, and not the finagling of private advantages for one’s friends and their friends — which is what it seems to have become in recent years in New York City.
It appears now that we have someone on our hands who is genuinely fit to be a public servant — at a time when public service seemed to have breathed its last.
Hopefully this man will again run for office in the future, so that I will have the opportunity to vote for him.
From my experience, I would suggest you vote for him as well.