Wednesday, November 4, 2009

foreshadowing the future

Well Bloomberg has just won the race for mayor. He won by 50,000 votes. There are 40,000 cabbies in New York City, and many more FHV drivers. Imagine if we all voted, we wouldn't be persecuted by the mayor anymore. Water under the bridge now as we have 4 more years of rule by the richest man in New York.

This Weekend:
The Holland Tunnel will be open all weekend, no construction.

And in the future:
The Verifone GPS units have a new feature for group rides. This seems ultra scary to me, the technology is now in place for an entirely new way of taxi driving which hasn't even been approved yet. I do not want to have to be a mediator between strangers every time I pick up. And with one cab picking up a bunch of people, won't it be a case of more fares for less cabs, making some cabbies profits soar and others completely fruitless. And what will the policy be when a group of 4 people who know each other requests multiple stops, how does one tell strangers apart from friends? This feature shouldn't be used yet, as it isn't approved, but just the fact that it is there, is threatening enough.

The Present:
And that damn 50 cent extra on every NYC fare, has already maybe cost me a few extra bucks, in all fairness it won't really be much of a problem, but it's just one more number you have to deduct from your total at the end of the day. Is it just me or is the GPS getting more glitchy lately, the approval of credit cards is slower than usual, and more often it doesn't go through. The way to handle this is to:
  1. Park the car,
  2. shut off the engine,
  3. open the hood
  4. hit a silver reset button on the battery, and/or disconnect a fuse that is right above the battery
  5. then after 5 minutes, put the fuse back in
  6. Start the car up again
  7. and wait for the system to reboot
  8. log in to the system, hopefully everything will work.
Yes that will waste a good chunk of your time, and won't necessarily work, as sometimes it is a company wide glitch and all the taxi meters won't be working correctly at a specific time. Still the meters will accept the credit cards although they will be pending approval. If they get denied several hours later, you can complain to your garage, or your taxi meter shop, or to the company I suppose, and you should get your money from the transaction, as it's not your fault that the meter wasn't working correctly.

The one positive addition:
The one beneficial new feature on the Verifone, is a button to void the last transaction. Before the MTA surcharge, there was a button to void the last credit card transaction in the event that someone paid for the ride via credit card, and then changed their mind and wanted to pay in cash. Now that we have to pay 50 cents for every ride, if a person hops into a cab, and then decides to hop out, we can click the new void last ride button, and not have to pay an extra 50 cents for a ride that never took place. It used to be that when a fare would pay me less than the actual fare, I had to hit the payment refusal button, because I didn't want the IRS to miscalculate my earnings at the end of the year, but if you hit the payment refusal button it automatically assumes that you went to hunt down your fare beating customer and it signs you off the system. I'd then have to quickly sign back in to the GPS before my next customer to avoid having the meter lock.

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