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July 13, 2006

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I hope

I hope for somerville that if she has to give one up she gives up the state seat and keeps the local seat.

Why does'nt matter that if even if she still outperforms the other hacks, still does a better job, and genuinly and ethically cares for the city more than the others? It would be just like you guys to throw out the good egg and keep and the bad ones.

Curt and Tony

I notice that OD wasnn't at the bridge cermonies. Was he stuck in the line in front of the Condo Board getting permits before the fees go up?

What a class act.

Themla & Louise

Curt & Tony, I think SOD was down the Cape. I hear Ex-Rep and exonerated Vinnie Piro has a new development going up down there. Probably close to Foster, Koty and the rest of the vacationers from Somerville. Be interesting to find out exactly where this new development is going up and who the new tenants may be.

There may be a lot of those, what do they call themselves, “Silent Partners” kicking in to the pot. Some what similar to that of Foster and Koty on Highland road and other property in and around the City. I hear Falmouth is looking for a Commissioner of DPW. Nice place to rest your hat.

all hail the chief, becuase you can't hail a decent cab

It's time for the city of Somerville to stop naively pretending that the monopoly taxicab business can operate without effective municipal supervision, and to start seeing that business for what it is: a quasi-public utility that must be more closely regulated to provide safe, dependable reasonably priced service.
The city's goofily conceived laissez-faire approach to cab regulation has boomeranged so badly that people fear for their lives when riding in a Somerville cab.


History is not on the hapless cab customer's side. This city has nodded off at the wheel for years while unwitting riders were flung around the city in dirty, unsafe cabs driven by geographically impaired -- and occasionally, felony-enhanced -- drivers for whom English was a riddle.
When will regulatory relief come into view? Why is no-one responsible for this mess? How many service complaints do we need before there are any possible solutions?
So far, the preferable approach seems to be coaxing the taxi industry into more self-enforcement in cooperation with the city. We all know what that means –cronies making more friends and cronies. To be sure, many enlightened local taxi operators in Cambridge, Boston, and Somerville would support and welcome such suggested self-improvements, and actively participate in making them work. In fact, many honest operators are clamoring for more regulations to elevate the image of their worthy and much-needed services.
But Somerville operators won't do anything they don't have to -- and without meaningful enforcement they'll still be out plying the streets, overcharging fares and endangering passengers.
That means the city must step up and take action that sends a clear message to the industry and to the public: Somerville Taxi rides must not be unpredictable adventures.
City regulation is not without precedent in the country's larger metropolitan areas. It's not uncommon to require proven familiarity with the local geography, for instance, before a driver is allowed to put a treasured taxi medallion to work. Most operators understand that universal requirements for high-quality service can benefit the entire industry so why does Somerville cabs fall so far behind? And why at the Board of Alderman meeting are Trane and Gerwitz pushing the Somerville Chief of police to only allow Somerville Cabs in Davis Square?
It's bad enough that local residents who regularly depend on taxi service are inconvenienced by inconsistent service. Shabby taxi service also hurts the city's image among tourists and other local business goers, who in our experience are often astonished at how hard it is in Somerville to hail a cab, let alone get where you intend without a translator and a wad of $20 bills.
With only one game in town, forced onto the whole commmunity what is the incentive to show up on time?
This time, it won't be enough to hang an air freshener on the taxicab-Somerville problem. An overhaul is what's called for.


Green Cabbie

Sheesh...whoever is posting the rants about Green Cab, take a Valium and do something constructive. Sure, there are some serious losers driving for Green. The fact that Green gets tons of calls from Cambridge, Arlington, Medford, and even Boston should tell you that your odds are much better with the local boys than anywhere else. The problem is no one complains to the right people when they get one of the thieving, phone-talking, idiot cabbies. If you want things to get better, take a note of the cab number each time you take a ride. Call Rooney at SPD with your complaints - not Green Cab. All of the good cabbies - and there are many at Green - would love to see the losers disappear. You can make it happen. Everyone with a hack license takes the test. They speak English. They know how to take directions. They should be carrying a street guide. Your problem isn't with the company, or the city, but with the people who take advantage of their customers.

There's no way you can honestly say that Cambridge or Boston provide more consistent, more professional service. 99% of our calls are answered on time. Maybe yours always come late because you're a pain in the ass? Wouldn't be the first time...

to the 'Green' Cabbie

There is a new hybrid cab company out of Cambridge that includes the tip in the fare. Shouldn’t they be the only real 'GREEN' cab Company around?

I know that I am using them from here until other companies stop using fossil fuels. It is also gives me peace of mind to know that all their cars are new. It is funny how one little bad experience can have such and affect. Lets raise the bar.

Green Cabbie

Hey "Green," I assure you - every single driver out there would gladly trade in those 10mpg Crown Vics for something that doesn't cost $50 to gas up after a good Saturday night. We're in a bad spot here, though - even if the city mandated new, enviro-friendly vehicles, the enormous cost of that change would be passed down to the drivers anyway.

The real question is - are these "green" cabs as effective at intimidating other drivers and pedestrians?!?

to the 'Green' Cabbie

They can certainly mandate that all new cabs in the city purchased after a certain date have certain emmission standards. And that cars with X amount of miles or age can not be used as a public cab. Unless there is some shady deal with John the auto dealer and frank the garage mechanic or something.

You would not believe how much it would of cost me to have missed our plane.

What about long term costs? Mmmm that pot of gold sure looks good. But what about the entire planet? I don't know, that pot of gold looks good... I can't decide.

Hey who's checking the resumes in the personnel office anyway's? This guys a lawsuit waiting to happ

I know the scoop on "pretty wild stuff regarding this guy who is the city’s Capital Project Manager". I heard that he, G.B. The project manager, got caught with "Sex Toys" in his desk and some funky moves he allegedly pulled on some female staffer followed by "Major Sexual harassment charges were put on him before the city of Cambridge fired him and we here in Somerville hired him as a liaison. Hey who's checking the resumes in the personnel office anyway's? This guys a lawsuit waiting to happen! Hey ladies watch out for the mirror taped on the shoes bit!

On the payroll hiding a big secret?

Wow if this is true, does this make him a sexual predator?

Green Cabbie

"Green," I know they *can* mandate such things, I'm just suggesting that us hard-working cabbies who are scraping by would end up having to pay for it. What the city needs is a complete overhaul of the cab system, from licensing to the monopoly of Green Cab. Between the cost of gas, the outrageous rents charged by the company, and the influx of criminal drivers ruinng the once strong reputation of the company, it's a hard way for an honest guy to make a living. But hey, things are tough all over...

Very few of us out here are finding any pots of gold, it's more like a few bits of silver here and there. You don't want to kill the business (and, by extension, the livelihoods of many decent, hard-working folks) in a quest to make what would be, in the end, a very minor dent in our environmental nightmare. But if there was a way to keep our lease rates stable while introducing more fuel-efficient vehicles into the fleet, all the cabbies I know would be 100% for that.

to the 'Green' Cabbie

A very minor dent?


50 dollars to fill up your tank on a busy Saturday night? So you probably have a 16 gallon tank. That has to mean that the car takes at least 150 dollars worth of gas a week right? That would be assuming the car is running only one shift a day. Multiply 150 by 4.3 weeks to the month times 12 equals 645 dollars a month and at least 7740 dollars a year. And the price of gas may go to 4 dollars a gallon. These are low figures; but, it seems you could save at least 5000 dollars a year right there. It is also possible that the use of hybrids could allow us to accept an initial fare increase. You could probably get other fees like tolls and taxes reduced or waived for using the new technology as well. Actually, you should be paying higher fees for using the old Junkers you got now.

What would happen to you guys if the price of gas went to 4 dollars a gallon?

Quit smoking on top of all of that and you could save an additional 10 dollars a day or $3,560 dollars a year. Plus, you would save the taxpayers from paying your hospital bills later.

16 gallons of gas on a Saturday night releases 320 pounds of CO2. Multiply that by a 50 cab fleet and we are adding 16,000 pounds of co2 to our air supply.


Righteous

How much CO2 is released by the buses that blow fumes constantly? It's nice to be righteous and want to save the planet...noone disagrees with that, but the hybrid and electric vehicles are just not affordable for the average person. The cost savings in gas (which are very disputable for electric cars, and affect performance) might be great down the road, but you need the initial investment. It's not as easy as 'let's go out and get a hybrid car, hon'!

to Righteousness,

Get a loan, do what the Someday folks are doing then. As it is right now. I am afraid to get into a somerville cab, It might break down. If they can'nt run a proper business and invest in it properly let someone else do it. Let there be some competition. It is that simple.


Situation
1. Best market for hybrid cars is taxicabs
2. Taxi owner-operator in Vancouver, BC, bought a 2001 Toyota Prius in Fall 2000
3. He drove it nearly 200,000 miles before replacing w/ 2004 model
4. Entrepreneur in Boston area runs fleet of 3-Prius hybrids as livery service
5. He gets a break on fees at Logan Airport under clean-air program
6. NYC transportation consultant lining up agreements to let Toyota Highlander or Lexus RX 400h hybrids be used as "black cars" which provide radio-dispatched car service

Significant Points
1. Experts argue that hybrids are far more useful in for-hire car services than in private hands
2. Typical taxi uses 7,000 to 7,500 gallons a year, versus 500 to 600 gallons for a private car
3. Private cars spend a lot of time on the highway, where hybrids have a limited advantage
4. But taxis live in stop-and-go traffic, where hybrids thrive
5. Vancouver taxi owner-operator says Prius brakes lasted 90,000 miles vs typical 28,000 miles for front brakes
6. Also: did not need to replace timing belt or fuel injector, did not have to adjust valves and had no expenses for electric drive system in 200,000 miles

Background
1. Prius does not idle, because its electric motor moves it at low speeds
2. Prius gas engine kicks in only when it can run productively
3. Prius and other hybrids have regenerative braking to capture energy ordinarily lost to braking, and convert it into electricity
4. A side benefit is reduced wear on brakes

Says
"The more fuel you put through this technology, the greater your savings." -- Joseph R Wagner, senior project manager at NY State Energy Research and Development Authority

to Righteousness

Also, most of these cars enginees automatically shut off at stop lights, the ellectric engine takes over. So imangine how much better the air would be at cab stands where all of these other cars are normally lined up, idleing and spewing out obnoxious fumes.

It *is* funny

I think this is a great dialog -- and I thank the Green Cabbie for chiming in to represent the 99% of employees there that are responsible, respectful and reasonable. I've used Green Cab for years and have always found them to be professional and reliable. I'm sad to hear about an influx of the criminal element and the next time I call Green I'll be hoping they don't send a loser to take me to the airport.

And I whole-heartedly support the hybrid proposal for new cabs -- as the old fleet retires, replace them with energy efficient vehicles. Just seems like a no-brainer to me. How do we get this idea in front of the Mayor? Would he support it? I have no idea of his environmental stance.

somerspeak

If you want to talk to the Mayor about this, you'll have to seek out a camera lens or TV reporter after a tree falls or better yet go down to the Someday and stand in the espresso line and just wait. He'll be there as soon as the reporters arrive.

You're right Somerspeak

For the Mayor it would be great way to Make Somerville a leadrr in progressive emmisions and fuel economy standards. He could make a name for himself with this. It could put us on the map to be a great pieoneering city that is eager to try new things and back them with a business community that wants to see success. And it would send a clear message to anyone wanting to try a new business here. "Somervill is open for business and open to new ideas."
This would go a long way to attarct new businesses like PlantTran and others. And I think we could use some good National publicity for a change. Lets work on our tax base and invite PlanetTran to open a office here. WE can pass an ordinance that states no Taxis are allowed to idle and emmit fumes at Davis Square cab stands.
This is good for everbody in a lot of ways!!

MISTER

I don't care

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