A glimmer of hope from NYC Taxis

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As most people know, I live in NYC. Park Slope or Prospect Heights (depending on which map you follow), Brooklyn to be more precise, and I don't own a car. This means that I take either a taxi or a subway (mostly the latter) to get where I want to go.

When I do decide that I need a taxi, it's probably because I am feeling lazy about going to the subway after a night out drinking, or it's too late and I don't want to run the risk of it taking me an hour to get home. Whatever the reason, I decide that a taxi is the order of the night. Most of the time when this happens, I'm in the East Village (a neighborhood in Manhattan) where cabs are plentiful. I go to the street and hold up my arm to an available taxi (I hate people who just stick their arms pointlessly in the air. Pro tip: if the medallion number is lit up, the taxi is available. If not, it's not - don't hold your arm out, no matter how vigorously you wave it, that cab isn't stopping for you). Then I tell them I want to go to Brooklyn. Instantly, one of three things happens:

  • The cab immediately proceeds to Brooklyn without further comment.
  • The driver yells and curses at you, but still goes to Brooklyn.
  • The driver refuses to go there (this is illegal, and has only happened to me once)
If the driver seems conversational after taking the first option, I'll apologize for taking him "all the way" to Brooklyn. Most of the time, they're just like "no big deal, we have to do it". But something that a driver said to me a few days ago got me thinking.

"You know, all of the business at this time of night is south of 14th St anyways. So me taking you to where you're going in Brooklyn is very much like taking someone to the Upper West Side - I'm coming back empty either way, and the distance is the same, so there's zero use in complaining".

This was well after midnight, probably around 2AM or so. I was thinking "you know, that's probably right!". If all taxi drivers were as enlightened as this gentleman, the world world be a better place indeed.
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