Me v. Taxis

This is a post about Jill’s and my experience with the cabs of Philadelphia, and my effort to voice our displeasure about them with the city’s government.

So I have stickied this at the top because I think it’s significant and interesting. I realize everyone may not check in on a daily basis so I will keep it here for a week or so.

Edit: This post has been updated. Go to the end for the updates.

The email I finally sent pretty much explains it all.

from:
mister malo
to:
FDeAngelis@philapark.org,
SCornell@philapark.org,
mayor.nutter@phila.gov,
Michael.nutter@phila.gov,
citydesk@phillynews.com,
anna.verna@phila.gov,
frank.dicicco@phila.gov,
jannie.blackwell@phila.gov,
curtis.jones.jr@phila.gov,
darrell.clarke@phila.gov,
joan.krajewski@phila.gov,
maria.guinones.sanchez@phila.gov,
donna.miller@phila.gov,
marian.tasco@phila.gov,
brian.o’neill@phila.gov,
wilson.goode@phila.gov,
Bill.Greenlee@phila.gov,
jack.kelly@phila.gov,
james.kenney@phila.gov,
blondell.reynolds.brown@phila.gov,
frank.rizzo@phila.gov

date: Thu, Feb 11, 2010 at 7:29 PM
subject: Problems with Taxis
mailed-by: gmail.com

I am writing this after numerous, numerous problems and issues with taxis over the last few months.
These issues occur regularly not only with myself but my girlfriend as well.
Point blank is that companies are hiring unqualified, rude, ignorant, directionally challenged drivers.

Over the last few months these are a few of the incidents, and each of these have happened several times.
– Getting in a cab and a driver needs directions to Broad and Dickinson.
– Cabs start driving in the complete wrong direction.
– Cabs continuing in the wrong direction AFTER I have asked if they knew where they are going.
– Drivers have asked ME for directions.
– Drivers refusing to take a credit card.
– Drivers who refuse to take credit cards, don;t want to let me out, and want to drive out of the way so I can go to a MAC machine, making me late for work.
– Drivers not being able to understand English

I asked one driver who said he had been in Philadelphia for a few days for the first time in his life and was driving a cab. I asked about taking a test and he said they don’t ask for that because of GPS, the test basically has to do with laws.

At times I am so enraged that I don’t think to grab any information, but here is one driver who didn’t know where Broad & Dickinson is.
H1105324, P1585.

I find this utterly unacceptable.
I am not one to complain for the sake of complaining or because I like to hear my own voice, but when this type of service becomes the norm and not the exception, something must be said.

I would appreciate a response to this.
In the meantime my girlfriend and myself will be taking down and logging all of our complaints individually, logging the driver and cab number and will be emailing this entire list, in addition to my Pennsylvania House of Representative reps, Rep. William F. Keller and Rep. Larry Farnese. I am doing this because clearly this has become a systemic problem that needs addressing and resolving.

I look forward to your responses.

Thank you,
Chris

So I sent it to the mayor, all the city council members and my two state reps.

I got two responses from Frank DiCicco:

Frank.Rizzo@phila.gov
to me

show details 7:32 PM (23 hours ago)

Thank your for your email. I will review it carefully,

And a response will be provided.

Sincerely,

Frank Rizzo

and

Frank.DiCicco@phila.gov
to me

show details 11:21 PM (19 hours ago)

Mr.Malo: I’ve sent your e-mail to Mr.Vincent Fenerty the Exec.Director of the Phila. Prkg.Authority. Frank DiCicco

Let’s see who else responds and how. I am willing to give them time and an opportunity to respond and address it before I do anything else.

Update: I received both of these emails today. Off to a good start.

from    William Schmid <WSchmid@philapark.org>
to    christopher.malo@gmail.com
cc    James Ney <JNey@philapark.org>
date    Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 9:49 AM
subject    Taxicab Complaint
mailed-by    philapark.org

9:49 AM (1 hour ago)

Mr. Malo, your complaint registered with the Philadelphia Parking Authority concerning taxicab service has been forwarded to the Taxicab and Limousine Division. Please provide me with a telephone number where you can be reached for a short interview.

William P. Schmid
Enforcement Manager
Taxicab and Limousine Division
The Philadelphia Parking Authority
2415 S. Swanson Street
Philadelphia, Pa., 19148-4113
W: 215.683.9471
F:  215.683.9452
WSchmid@Philapark.org

And:

from    Frank DeAngelis <FDeAngelis@philapark.org>
to    mister malo <christopher.malo@gmail.com>
cc    Rita.Mezzaroba@phila.gov,
James Ney <JNey@philapark.org>
date    Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 10:19 AM
subject    Re: Problems with Taxis
mailed-by    philapark.org

hide details 10:19 AM (40 minutes ago)

Mr. malo
Be advised that your concerns are being forwarded to our Director of Taxi & Limo James Ney who will address yor concerns. Mr. Ney can be reached at JNey@philapark.org
regards,
Frank

I provided my number to Mr. Schmid. I would expect to be contacted. And I will keep this post updated as well.

Update: Interestingly enough as I typed this, one of Rep. Larry Farnese’s people called to said that this was passed along to the head of the PPA and that they would be discussing legislation options with the PPA’s government relations director who was in Harrisburg today but would be back in Philadelphia tomorrow. And he promised to keep me updated.

Update: Flurry of activity. Mr. Schmid just called. He is the enforcer and seems pretty sincere about, well, enforcement. Opened an inquiry and assigned an investigator. The one driver is being pulled in today. He instituted the $500 fine for drivers who don’t take credit cards. He actually seemed upset that more people don’t take down driver and cab info and call the hotline that goes directly to him. My assumption is that any contact information that this city gives out goes to an answering machine in the basement of City Hall. But apparently, as I am finding out through this, they don’t all get routed there.

Update:

from    Frank DeAngelis <fdeangelis@philapark.org>
to    christopher.malo@gmail.com
date    Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 3:47 PM
subject    Re: Problems with Taxis
mailed-by    philapark.org

3:47 PM (15 minutes ago)

your very welcome

Jim Ney our Director of Taxi & Limo will be addressing your concerns.
regards,
Frank