Monday, July 12 East meets West


Here I am Monday blah morning and the ride is a black Honda Accord. Sort of a glam driver. She’s wearing a wonderful green satin blouse under a military-styled short jacket with a leopard print scarf, big silver hoop earrings, long black wavy hair and foxy glasses. Lotsa style. The guy in the back seat puts up his toll money right away so of course I feel I must too. (I was actually going to do nothing this morning and see what happened). Traffic and weather are a repeat of last week: cold, gray, lite. A decent weekend, however; I think it got all the way up into the 70s.

I just read a funny piece in this week’s NEW YORK MAGAZINE (July 19, 2010, “Diary of a Cab Share”). In February of this year New York’s Taxi & Limousine Commission launched a group-rides/cab share program which allows passengers to share cabs with strangers in exchange for a fare discount. Sound familiar, casual carpoolers? Cabs pick riders up from 3 designated spots, or passengers can hail cabs with riders already in them. The fare is fixed, depending on how far you travel, all within Manhattan – $6 is the maximum fare.

The article in NEW YORK MAGAZINE was written by Beth Shapouri, a reporter who rode undercover in one of the cab share rides. Her attempts at getting the other riders engaged in a conversation made me laugh – I’ve gone through the same thing as Commuter Gal gathering material for this blog.

After several unsuccessful attempts at conversation, Beth asks the driver, “Been doing this cab-share thing long? The Driver responds “Yes, a few years. The people are nice.” Beth asks, “But no one talks?” The Driver says “Mostly they keep to themselves. People are polite.” At this one of the passengers with earphones pointedly shifts in her seat. Beth stops talking.

On-line comments on Beth’s ‘interview’ include “Were we supposed to feel scorn for your fellow riders for not wanting to talk to you? I wound up empathizing with them.” And “Oh my lord. The people are in the rideshare to save money, not because they want some morning carpool chat time. I would’ve strangled you.”

The hope for the cab share program was to decrease traffic, give the cabbies more money, and make fares less for the riders. Unfortunately, it hasn’t clicked. I don’t think the incentives are big enough and judging from the article, it sounds like NY riders don’t like the shared aspect much, anyway. My ride this morning is a silent one and I leave it at that.

More pool tomorrow. CG

One Response

  1. Things I avoid talking about: religion, politics, weather.
    Thing that give some neat insight about other people: food and travel.

    Religion and politics always alienate people and weather is droll. Finding out where people travel for vacation and the food they love always give me ideas what to do on my next holiday and I am always open to new food ideas.

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