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The Rogue Cab Company of San Francisco

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The rules and regulations required of taxi drivers in San Francisco are enough to inspire a revolt. (Courtesy photo)
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http://sfexaminer.com/category/the-city/sf-news-columns/i-drive-sf/

As rain falls hard on a humdrum night in The City, the windshield wipers on National 182 slap away the moisture obscuring my view of the street and any potential flags.

After rolling empty for an hour, I see Veterans 215 sandbagging a no-name bar on Folsom. The rain has let up a little, so I get out to chat with the driver. We watch a motorcade of Priuses stream past, one after another, like confused pigeons in the mist.

“Look at these cockroaches.”

“Nobody follows the rules anymore.”

“Except cab drivers.”

“That’s cause we’re a bunch of chumps.”

“Yeah, we bust our asses to do what’s right. Meanwhile, anybody with a pulse can drive into town and pick up fares without following the same regulations.”

“Why do we follow the rules?”

“You nailed it. We’re chumps.”

“No, I’m serious.”

“Tradition?”

“You mean like a bad habit?”

“What about moral superiority?”

“Oh yeah, after I’ve been evicted from my apartment and I’m dragging two cats, a manual typewriter, a turntable and a stack of boxes filled with papers that contain my publishing empire down the street, I could pat myself on the back for being such a law-abiding citizen.”

“Nobody cares what happens to us.”

“Nope.”

“The cops aren’t on our side. City Hall isn’t on our side. The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency, which is supposed to be on our side, just makes our lives harder.”

“I don’t understand why drivers who paid $250,000 for medallions aren’t going to the 7th floor of One South Van Ness and chucking those worthless
tin plates at the bulletproof window.”

“The cab companies aren’t on our side either. They’re just in the business of leasing cars.”

“Fucking glorified Enterprise.”

“All they care about is getting as many cabs out of the yard to make the most amount of money.”

“It’s no skin off their backs whether we make five dollars or five thousand.”

“Fuck them.”

“Everywhere we turn, we’re getting screwed.”

“We’ve been duped into thinking we’re supposed to follow the rules, even though The City has made a mockery of everything legit.”

“It’s time we stopped being chumps and say, ‘Fuck the cab companies.’ Just get a beat up car, slap a checkered pattern on it, spray paint a white ‘R’ on each side with a circle around it like an anarchy symbol and call it the Rogue Cab Company of San Francisco.”

“I don’t know about that name …”

“We could buy a taximeter and a top light off eBay and take the streets by storm.”

“I like the idea, but we should call it Anarcab.”

“We don’t have to settle on the name right away … but think of how much money we’d save by not paying gates or worrying about permits!”

“We could work whenever we wanted. Take long breaks.”

“We could switch out days.”

“Alternate weekends …”

“But do you think anyone would try to stop us?”

“Like who? The SFMTA? They’re only open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. We’re night drivers. What can they do to us?”

“The police?”

“Yeah, like they’d do anything.”

“Hey! I just had a brilliant idea. I could steer every guy I pick up to the highest paying strip clubs and massage parlors in The City and make even more money. It doesn’t matter where they’re going, I’ll be like, ‘Fuck that Pier 39 tourist shit. This is the real San Francisco.’ Make big bucks from all those kickbacks.”

“Now you’re thinking like a real cab driver … Speaking of which, what would they do?”

“Who knows? They didn’t try to stop Uber and Lyft from rolling into town and taking over.”

“Maybe we could get them to join us and start a whole fleet of Anarcabs…” “Or Rogue cabs.”

“Whatever.”

“It’s not like we don’t have A-cards. We’re real cab drivers.”

“Yeah, if everyone else wants to keep following the rules and being chumps, that’s on them.”

“We should definitely do this.”

“And hey. If all goes to shit, and we get fined $5,000 for impersonating a cab, we could always start a GofundMe campaign and crowd source our way out of the whole mess.”

“There’s always another chump down the line …”

Just then the sky opens up and the drizzle gets serious. We agree to continue finalizing our master plan later. For now, it’s time to get back in our cabs and do the right thing.

Kelly Dessaint is a San Francisco taxi driver. Write to him at piltdownlad@gmail.com or visit his blog at www.idrivesf.com.

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  • SCCA

    I’ve had the same idea for years but I’d call it Faux Cab cuz only 25% of the population knows what faux means. Meanwhile I hear a lot of cab companies are no longer carrying Workers Comp. insurance on their drivers.

  • PatrickMonkRn

    Excellent piece Kelly. Truth, satire, humor and radical common sense solutions. Sharing.

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