Friday, April 22, 2011

"San Francisco Taxi Driver Robbed Again April 22, 2011." By Dean Clark.

Photo by John Han.
Once again a San Francisco Taxi Driver robbed on April 22 nd around 3:00 a.m. by another entitled person who felt like he did not have to pay for his fare. The fare totaled 16.15 not to mention the time spent trying to get the police to come to the scene, which never occurred because there were higher priority calls.

Here is what happened.  The passenger called around 3:00 a.m. to National Cab Company requesting a cab at 190 Bradford (Courtland and Bradford) in San Francisco Potrero Hill neighborhood. I got to the call and a man came out in his 30's looked kind of shady and said he wanted to go to 3rd and Folsom. When we got to 3rd and Folsom the man did not have enough money to pay the fare, so I told him I accept credit cards. 

He gave me a temporary credit card that was declined by the processing system from Verifone. The fancy system that the SFMTA and the cab companies have set up for the drivers that charges us 5 percent for each transaction. The passenger than made a call to his girlfriend who lives at 3rd and Folsom requesting her to bring money to the gate where he would meet her at the apartment complex. He told me he would be right back. I waited a few minutes and thought something was not right so I called the dispatcher Frank at National Cab Company who in turn called the customer while I was on the phone. The passenger who at that time was upstairs said he would have to pay by credit card but it is his girlfriends. The passenger already knew we take credit cards. I waited another ten minutes for the guy to return which he did not. Therefore stiffing me of my 16.00 for the fare. Most of the readers who read this would say big deal 16.00. In san Francisco Drivering a cab on slow nights that is about 25 percent of our take home pay. IT IS A BIG DEAL. The dispatcher than gave me the passengers telephone number so I called several times and got no answer. It was clear to me at this time I was robbed.

I then phoned the San Francisco Police Department for assistance. I was told there was a lot of activity going on in the Ingleside area and that it would be awhile. I asked the police dispatcher if I should go to the Ingleside station and it might be more quick. She agreed so on I go to the Ingleside police station where officer Frazier was behind the window. Officer Frazier said they were too busy to be able to take the police report and that they were understaffed this morning. What a comforting feeling in case there was something more serious that occurs like a shooting of a driver or another robbery. I was told I could come back at anytime to write up a report. NO POLICE REPORT WAS FILED TONIGHT BECAUSE OF UNDER STAFFING. This process took about 30 minutes to get no police report.

I guess the moral of this story is Taxi Drivers pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for permits per year to the city of San Francisco. In addition through our gates we pay the cab companies pay plenty to the city. What do the San Francisco Taxi Drivers get in return when there is a problem? Obviously not even a police report. Is it just me or is there something wrong with this picture. Don't get me wrong I have a lot of respect for our police department and the duty they serve to the community. All I ever wanted was my pay for driving this passenger to his location, and when that did not occur all I wanted was a police report which did not happen either. Somehow in all of this it is the drivers fault according to the dispatch window at National Cab Company who dispatched to me this call in the first place. Did you know that there us a city regulation that requires cab drivers in the city to take at least one dispatch call per hour if they are available. Drivers pay for a dispatch service when something goes wrong why is the fare lost the responsibility of the cab driver??

Dean Clark
Phone 415-240-2433


  1. That's totally jacked up. Since the character appeared to be kinda shady and it was so late... could the driver has asked to see the 'cash up front' and then decide? I've had drivers ask to see the money before they take me anywhere... which I'm willing to do. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

  2. It is the unfortunate part that drivers are left in the wilderness trying to find their
    hard earned money. It is very sad that driver
    had to go through heck of a trouble. I wish
    him good luck for the future but there are no
    words which can cover the pain this drivers
    has gone through or is going on now because once you pass such trouble, you think all about it for long long time. I have lost my money
    nearly 10 times when the customer ran away
    without paying. One time I got the report written by the police and identified the house
    where the passanger escaped but the police said that they do no go for $ 20 loss of fare.

  3. Hey Dean,

    Are you a rookie? I'm sorry you lost $16 - that's on the thief. The rest of the time you lost is on you.

    You actually waited for this guy to come back? The guy who looked kinna shady? The guy whose credit card didn't work?

    You wasted an hour and half tying to get $16 back? You went to the cops with this? The cops don't bother to come half the time when a drivers being assaulted - what made you think they'd care about $16?

    During the time you wasted on this you might have a gotten a couple of rides and made up for the loss. 4am is usually dead but there is always that random airport.

    All in all I think you're lucky you weren't robbed.

    These is a lesson in this: when they're gone they're gone.


  4. I'm with Ed on this one. All decisions Dean made were contrary to common sense and self-preservation. EVERY business suffers losses; they suck for everyone, but a corner store doesn't shut down to chase a kid stealing a candy bar and missing other customers in the process. Weigh the risks versus the rewards. $16 bucks versus an hour trying to get it back? You made choices to be a victim and got what you wanted, although I bet reading that pisses you off. Nonetheless, if you keep making decisions to waste your (and the cops) time for $16, then you will continue to make $72 per shift, which is what you ascertain. ($16 = 25% of your income.) Frankly, if that's what you make in a ten or twelve hour shift, flip burgers and eliminate any danger except grease splatter. Your stories of victimhood are legion, and your repeating them only ingrain them and, consequently, reinforce your victim attitude and expectation. Rather than get pissed at what I wrote here, I'm going to introduce you to a concept victims struggle with, but can be learned: Take charge of your existence. Here's a specific example for the case at hand: You said you called the guy's cell phone, right? Instead of taking on all the risk yourself, make the guy with the exceptional needs take the risk. He didn't have the money? His card didn't work? If he was my passenger, he wouldn't get out of my cab in possession of his cell phone. Take something as collateral to insure he will come back, not his good word. Make him take the risk. Put his assets and time in jeopardy, not yours. I've held glasses, sneakers, leather coats, and I explain that I will leave the meter running until I am paid. By making it painful to a-holes like this guy, you demotivate them from future attempts. The way you handled it you should have "welcome" tattooed on your back. Take comfort in the fact that guys like me chase guys like him down whenever I can and beat the crap out of him so guys like you don't have to deal with them, but I can't weed all of them out, particularly when they broadcast all the signals you chose to ignore.
    When Tariq is your most ardent supporter — "no words which can cover the pain this drivers has gone through" —you should know you are on the wrong path. Tariq, that is $16 bucks. You, of so many words, have NONE for $16 bucks? I have no words for the family of whoever was killed today, the woman raped, the people who lost their jobs or houses, but for $16 bucks, I have some words: Let it go or be more proactive in defending yourself.
    I'm considering inventing a new product for guys of your ilk: Face Pampers to catch your endless stream of tears...
    Whew! Good thing I'm in a good mood today, or I'd REALLY tell you what I think... I guess it's no surprise I'm gonna post this anon...

  5. John,
    Don't buy into Dean's whining and allow him full control over your name and reputation by posting unedited stuff. The headline is not accurate and it serves to discredit you. What occurred is "theft of services" - a no-pay in cabbie lingo, not a robbery. It smacks of histrionics and hyperbole; leave that for Dean. If a baseball player complains about an imps bad call by saying, "He raped me," that is offensive to everyone who has ever been raped. It cheapens and demeans the word. It is a harsh word that conjures up brutal images. Robbery, while not as strong as rape, is also more brutal than being tricked out of payment for one's fare. Your name, therefore your rep, is at stake here. Don't cheapen them with inaccurate terms.

  6. Thank you for your comments. It was originally conceived that this website would be a platform for anyone to express any view, uncensored, as long as they were relevant to the taxi industry.

    The idea was that any reader who then subsequently may have found an author's views to be frivolous could comment in the comment box, and effectively correct any erroneous statements, views, etc. For example, the author of this article could possibly be edified by the responses of more experienced drivers such as Ed Healy's comment to this post, and the "anonymous" commenter, whose lengthy, but sensible view could potentially alter the author's original outlook. The point of the website was exactly to facilitate these types of discussions.

    But as a response to these comments, I've made changes in the "Submit A Post" section. Any future submissions will be checked for factual accuracy, spelling and grammar, and "descriptive accuracy". Submissions will be sent back to the author for corrections and changes when necessary. If you're interested, click on "Submit a Post" at the top of the page to see new criteria is for submitting posts.

    Also, I've retitled myself from simply being the Blog Administrator, to Editor.


    John Han
    Editor / Publisher
    Taxi TownSF

  7. I am glad to see that it stimulated some interest. I guess the point was lost in the story or the interpretation of the reader. The point simply was to find out what the police would do if anything to help out a driver who was taken advantage of by a customer. In addition we pay for permit fees and other fees that go to the SFMTA and the city and once again we get nothing in return.

    The first readers comment, my understanding is that we can not ask for the money up front if it is an in town trip.

    By the way I also looked up the word robbed at, this is what I found out:
    –verb (used with object)
    to take something from (someone) by unlawful force or threat of violence; steal from.
    to deprive (someone) of some right or something legally due: They robbed her of her inheritance.
    to plunder or rifle (a house, shop, etc.).

    I felt like I was deprived of something due. Rob might have been a strong word, but I guess it got your attention.

    Ed please look again at what I wrote and the time the incident happened. I was not missing out on any fares at that time of the morning.
    Thanks for your comment.

    Dean Clark


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