04 January 2015

Someone is wrong on the Internet about Philadelphia taxicabs

I keep hearing people complain about Philadelphia taxis and how Uber and Lyft would solve all our problems. One of the more frequent complaints is about how those greedy taxi drivers resist taking credit cards, and why won't they enter the 21st century?

Well, they resist taking cards because there's only one credit card merchant vendor that the Parking Authority contracts with; and then the Parking Authority requires drivers themselves, not the cab companies, to pay the non-negotiable 5% fee on all credit card transactions. This after they have to pay their daily car rental and gas means that they can work a 12-hour shift and bring home under $100/day before income and city wage taxes. Philadelphia taxi operators are in a terrible situation that's mostly out of their control because the Parking Authority needs a little deregulation, or better regulation (but not abolition in favor of tech operators, who don't like to pick up people with disabilities and have proven to have a little bit of a problem with sexually assaulting their female ridership).

It's comparable to that thing that restaurant servers like to say: if you can afford to eat out, you an afford to tip decently. Likewise, if you can afford a $15 car ride home, you can afford a $22 car ride home -- without Uber. I guess on my part I don't see any hardship in adding "keep cab fare + 50% in cash in my pocket at the end of the night" to an evening activity's budget, so that a cab driver can take a little more dough back home to his kids.

No comments: