Monday, January 02, 2006

The Great Seattle Taxi Scandal

While waiting for 30 minutes in a long line at Sea-Tac airport last night for a taxi, I found myself wondering why all of the taxis pulling up to the stand came from one company: STITA.

Every taxi company in Seattle drops passengers off at the airport. Were they returning to Seattle empty while people waited 30 minutes in line for a STITA cab?

It turns out that this is exactly what is going on. I asked the STITA cab driver about it. He said he was sure some city officials were getting paid off (ok in all fairness, he was also sure condoms were only 65% effective). The crazy thing is, you would think he'd have been happy with the situation. But, it turns out according to him, that the STITA cabs don't pick up passengers in Seattle - only at the airport. So after dropping off his fares downtown, he needs to return to Sea-Tac empty.

What kind of ridiculous system is this? 50% of taxis traveling to/from Sea-Tac airport at any given time are empty. They're wasting gas, wasting productivity, making customers wait 30 minutes in line, and making customers cover the cost of a 2-way fare for a 1-way ride.

I'm pondering whether or not this one is worth a letter to the city...

5 comments:

Zoli Erdos said...

I have no clue why, but similar arrangements exist in many airports not just in the US, but also in Europe.

adamjh said...

it's a conspiracy, i tell ya!

Josh said...

It is quite ridiculous, but money talks... Strangely enough, as corrupt as Chicago politics are reputed to be, we don't have such a stupid system. All licensed taxis drop people at the airport and then queue up to pick up passengers there as well. Of course we also have rapid transit directly to both major airports. We're cool like that.

I suspect that such an arrangement exists at Washingon-Dulles (IAD--a godawful bus station of an airport) because I only saw "Washington Flyer" cabs there on my last two trips.

Kelsey said...

Well, that sucks about the taxis, but Seattle is supposed to be getting that monorail type deal that runs from the airport to seattle center. So, that should make things a lot easier.. get around the politics of the two cities.

Kelsey said...
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