Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Miami Taxi ... by gimleteye

I am a long way from the county commission meeting yesterday packed with cab drivers and lobbyists. I took a taxi cab to get here.

I've been a regular customer of Miami-Dade taxicabs ... mostly to and from Miami International ... for more than twenty years. Most of the cab drivers are friendly and courteous.

What fries me, though, is the sense of being taken for a ride by cab drivers on the way home from the airport. I always take the same route. The fare is always different.

You know you are in Miami when the air conditioning in the taxicab doesn't work. What are your experiences?


miaexile said...

Funny you mention the AC. I think they purposely don't run it, tell you it's broken or have it on very low, because they are trying to save gas. If you live close to the airport, forget trying to get a taxi to come to your house and pick you up. When you arrive at MIA, it's a bit of chaos - I've had to get out of taxis when they learn where I'm going ( close by ) -- and wait for a "blue" taxi..Taxis here are not like anywhere else, many just seem to hangout at the airport all day. What I'll always remember, because it amplifies what we have going on, is the "Amazing Race.." when the folks lost the race because the taxi driver didn't have a clue or necessary tools or enough brain juice to find out how to get the people to where they needed to be. I miss Boston and San Francisco taxis, plentiful, know the shortcuts and are more likely to be well educated and carry on a conversation. - I will comment on the man crying about how his taxi medallion is worth 350K and he was counting on that being his retirement and if limos are allowed to compete, he'll lose that value and how is it fair to change the rules of the game. All I want to say to him is honey, the rules are changing all the time, that's life and personally I think it is outrageous that things have gotten so out of hand that a medallion should be worth 350K to begin with.

Anonymous said...

It's true. The rules of the game are always changing, and mostly to benefit the money that puts politicians in office.

Anonymous said...

Why are the taxis in other major cities so modern, updated compared to Miami? I would really like an answer.

Anonymous said...


I live in the extreme North Gables, off of Lejuene. I believe you may have lived in my neighborhood also. I will tell you that Taxi's do not want to take me the 5 miles from MIA to my home and I have called for the reverse trip to MIA from my home and have had many instances where the Taxi never even shows up.

I'm not putting all the blame on the drivers. They need the longer trips because they have to cover the $600 per/week they have to pay the owner, just to use the beat-up old 10-year old cab.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the last comment mentioning drivers working conditions. Cabbies are independent contractors and not covered by the most important federal labor laws (eg minimum wage). If you read the recent news stories or went down to the commission yesterday, then you heard about the feudal taxi system that drivers slave in and the role of the taxi company owners who benefit from an industry regulated to guarantee their profits (the fares are capped but not the leases drivers must pay to work). You can band-aid around the industry, County Commission, but you will solve nothing without dealing with the root cause of the problem: drivers working conditions and fundamentally, the monopoly control of medallions and resulting exorbitant and rising lease/rent payments extracted from drivers by Yellow Cab, Super Yellow, and their vehicle-leasing intermediaries. Converting to black cars hailed by dispatch apps (eg Uber) will not solve the problem unless we ensure that monopoly control over driving permits is not created in that system - all permit owners should drive, not sit at home collecting lease payments. Yesterday taxi drivers announced their own proposal: let drivers pay $6,000 annually to the county (instead of $20,000 to taxi companies) for the permit, generating $30 million in new public revenue to properly fund the regulatory system's administration (no more lax enforcement, in theory) and some left over for our supposedly unaffordable libraries, parks, etc.
C'mon Miami: You wouldn't expect good service from a waiter making less than minimum wage, working while sick, and sleeping in the restaurant, either. Next time you get in a cab and think YOU are the one having a bad experience, ask the driver how many hours they work, how much their lease payment, gas expense, how much they receive from fares and how many fares that day, are they having to pay for regular maintenance on a car they don't own, are they covered by the auto insurance that they pay for, do they still have to pay the lease if they're laid up in the hospital after a no-fault accident, etc. And, since all we hear about is the bad, when you do get good service, tell Mayor Gimenez (, 305-375-5071) and Joe Mora (, 305-375-4578).

Anonymous said...

Try getting into a taxi at MIA and telling them you're going to the Flat Fare area of Coral Gables - they'll hit the steering wheel, mumble under their breath the entire trip, and open the windows for you.

Gimleteye said...

It is time for some courage, county commission. The taxi problem reminds me of the way the city of Miami Beach has been hijacked by car towing companies.

Anonymous said...

Miami IS the Detroit of the South.

Anonymous said...

it's ridiculous that Miami is not moving forward because of these taxi drivers. Plenty of industries have been turned upside down due to progress.

Start with a legit mass transit system that can quickly get people from the airport to downtown and the beach. Boo hoo if that costs some taxi drivers their jobs (that they don't do very well) while saving people $50 per trip to South Beach and helping tourism.

Anonymous said...

Most taxi drivers are not resisting any changes - quite the contrary, the majority of them support even more radical changes than the county is proposing - change which would benefit the public far more than the band-aids currently under consideration. The appearance of taxi driver opposition is created by taxi companies paying their drivers to lobby for them - you read this blog, you know how lobbying works. (Do you know why the metrorail was never extended to MIA?) Diego Feliciano and Les Eisenberg do not represent the majority of taxi drivers. The medallion owner-operators resisting changes are a minority of the workforce - more than 2/3 are lease/shift drivers. I don't blame you - you only know what you read in the Herald and experience in a taxicab. But if you read this blog you're probably smart enough not to judge circumstances based primarily on what you see at the surface. If you ask the next cabbie you meet, you'll understand how the industry functions and realize that drivers are not to blame. Try these too:

Anonymous said...

I once asked a cab driver how long he waits for a fare from the airport, and he says it averages 2 hours. No wonder they get pissed off for the flat fare to the Gables.

However, as someone who needs that service, I also can't stand the rudeness I get. Nobody knows where they're going, they NEVER take bags out of the car, and even after I give an incredibly generous tip (50% of the fare), they still treat me with disdain.

Also, when I've called the taxi dispatcher to come at a certain time, half the time they don't show up, and they've told me that they're not guaranteeing their arrival but 5 minutes before your ask time, they'll call around to see if any cab's in your area. That is not a workable system.

The taxi driver attitude is quintessentially Miami -- disrespectful and broken. I don't know what the solution is, except to move out of here.

100panthers said...

To me, cabs and their industry are a disaster.

1-They got on my wrong side when they successfully lobbied to make sure the Metrorail did not go to MIA when it was first built.

2-The cabs are decommissioned police cars. All with huge old engines that pollute at a rate far in excess of a newer car that still has its anti-pollution controls intact. Ever notice how terrible the air is behind a cab? So they drive all day, try to miss traffic lights so as to sit at a red and wait for a fare and pollute at multiples beyond most cars.

Of course, this means part of the problem is that police do not use hybrids and let their cars run non-stop. Mention to a police chief a hybrid and you hear endless excuses. My favorite is that 'hybrids can not accelerate sufficiently fast' (according to Chief in Coral Gables), when in fact hybrids accelerate faster because of an electric motor possess immediate high degrees of torque.

3-Mention to a cabbie the idea of having a hybrid, a more efficient, less polluting cab and you will drown in a never ending flow of excuses.

Worried about climate change, sea level rise and air quality? Start with police and cabs.

Anonymous said...


That must be the reason there are so many electric and fuel efficient Drag Racing and Funny-cars.


Catherine said...

I love the London taxi experience. I assure no one will have complaints with them.