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Cab # 240

Date: 10/13/09
From: South Loop
To: Little Village

The Cab: White mini-van cab. Pretty clean, neat but worn down leather covers on the first set of seats. The pattern reminded me a bit of black and tan bowling shows.

The Driver: We should have known we were in trouble. The gold jacket and leopard-print denim pants should have given it away. We apparently caught her during lunch as she was working on a tuna sandwich and chips. She had a Jamaican accent, but while she was kicking us out of the cab, it sounded suspiciously less Jamaican.

The Driving: One very rough stop and two near accidents, all of which of course were the fault of the other drivers. "They're crazy," Driver #240 said.

I had not even wanted to take a cab. My class was going on a field trip and had to split into two cabs with the intention of meeting at the site. I asked if I could take the train and was told we were on a time crunch. With three others, we stood on the corner of State and Congress and waited about 10 minutes before we were able to hail a cab.

Staying in the cab after our driver told us she did not know how to get to our address was complete insanity. We gave her a pretty general route to take as suggested by my professor and figured if nothing else it would be an adventure. I quickly looked up driving directions on the Google maps function on my phone, saw the directions were not terribly difficult, and put the phone away.

About 20 minutes later, we were further south than we needed to be and not west enough. We say omething to our lovely driver. Response? "Yes, I have gone too far."

One of my classmates took our her phone and pulled a map and tried to give the driver directions. Maybe we should have done this from the beginning but nobody thought it would come to this.

After the driver gave us attitude for not knowing how to tell her to find our destination, she gave my classmate attitude for trying to give her directions and then more for not being more clear with them. I thought they have GPS and dispatchers to help them if they get lost?

At this point, I have asked her to stop running the meter until we get back on track. She said of course and hit a little button. About 10 minutes later, we appeared to be on track - and notice the meter is $4 more. When asked if she ever stopped running it, she said yes, she just turned it on a block ago.

Classmate: So it jumped up that much in a block?

Driver #240 Yes, you know, it's connected to the wheels. When the wheels move it costs more. The city, it puts it on the wheels. I show you.

We questioned the rate. My female classmate had discovered from texting the professor that their fare was only $18 with tip. Ours is at $22 and we don't know, after 45 minutes of driving, when we will reach our destination. We brought this up to our driver.

Driver #240: You know what? You don't have to pay it.

Us: What?

Driver #240: [pulling over into a car repair parking lot] You don't have to pay it. Get out of my cab.

Us: Are you kicking us out?

Drier #240: Get out.

We told her we would call the company and report her. She said they'll make us pay when we call. She told us again to get out and to calm down. I told her I'd get out as soon as I wrote down her cab number.

Driver #240: Calm down. Calm down. HEY! Calm down!

Me: I am calm. I'm just going to write down your cab number and name and then I'll get out.

Driver #240: Calm down! Get out! Calm down!

And then she tried to flip up her name tag so I wouldn't be able to see her name. So I laughed and told her I already had her name down so it was okay.

Driver #240: Just calm down! Stop yelling!

Me: [Now I actually start to yell] No. You stop yelling! You calm down! You want me to yell, fine, I'll yell! Don't you tell me to calm down!

Two of my classmates had already gotten out of the car. Then she threatened to start moving with the doors open if my other classmate and I did not get out. Eventually, we did after I dared her to do so and she drove away.

When I called the cab company immediately afterwards, I was offered no apology. I was told that the supervisor knew her well and that it did not sound like her. He offered to call me back the next day with a response to the situation. Sure, I said. Would you like my number so you can actually do that?

I know I won't be hearing from them, but they sure as hell will be hearing from me again soon.

Overall Rating: One big, enthusiastic extended middle finger.

- Ivana Susic

There are more than 6,000 cabs in the city of Chicago. We intend to review every one of them.



Permalink

Posted on October 16, 2009


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
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PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Sears Motor Buggy.


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