Cabs May Not Be the Best Choice to Get Home After Drinking
We have all been in the situation where we have had too much to drink and need to figure out a ride home from the bar or party. But, can we really call a cab to ensure our safe arrival home? Maybe not.
Driving after you have been drinking is a horrible, stupid, and dangerous decision to make. Knowing that people need to get home from where ever they have been drinking, Texas police have made big pushes to have you choose something other than getting behind the wheel.
The Choose Your Ride campaign makes the decision of how to get home much easier and puts it into a scary but real perspective.
The Choose Your Ride website gives you plenty of other options than driving your car even buzz drunk. They suggest that you could walk, get a limo, or take public transportation. Here in East Texas, two of those options are not a reality.
Tyler, especially, is too large and does not have the sidewalks to make it safe to walk home from the party or bar. And, the buses in town stop running well before the party really gets started. So, we have two options.
Have a designated driver or call a cab.
I found out this past weekend that calling a cab may be off the table too.
In the early morning hours Friday night, I had stuck around a friend's house to help get people home safe and sound. I had successfully convinced a handful of people to sleep off their drinking at the house and drive themselves home in the morning. But, there were two friends that needed to get home. Their home, though, was all the way in Flint, Texas. We agreed that their best plan of action would be a cab.
Sure, the cab was going to be expensive. But, it is far less expensive as jail time, hospital bills, and what you will emotionally pay for the rest of your life if you were to cause a drunk driving accident that hurt or killed someone. We looked up the number for a cab and felt better that they were on their way and my friends could get home safe.
It did not work out how you or I thought it would.
The two men got into the cab once it arrived and travelled a short 10 feet before they were asked to get back out of the cab.
Though the cab company had been told during the first phone conversation sending them out to pick up the two men that it would need to go all the way to Flint, they seemed surprised when they had these men in the car. Though the cab did accept credit cards, they did not take either of these two guys cards. They were demanding cash. Cash, these two didn't have at the time.
The cab driver said he would be fine with driving them, with the extra cost, to an ATM machine. The cab business' dispatch woman said that did not work. A few of us walked over to the cab car to see what was going on and over heard this cab dispatcher say, "You can drive them to an ATM, but then you leave them there."
This caused the cab driver to ask them to leave the vehicle and "figure something else out."
These men very willing to pay and in need of this service were being refused for reasons no one could understand. All of the problems that surfaced seemed to be easily fixable from the outside, but the cab service was refusing to help fix them.
I was walking towards my home when I saw these Flint friends come walking back and the cab fly off. I was very confused.
Everyone that had overheard the dispatcher's comments were very upset, and I was too. How does this happen? Do we really have a choice in a safe ride home when even the cab company won't drive you?
I told my friends I would loan them the full amount to get home and had them find the cab company's number for me, I was going to handle this as the sober friend that might catch what was truly the problem. Nope. Even sober, I was completely lost to why the cab company had such a problem. Here is why.
My conversation with the Yellow Cab of Tyler dispatcher:
(Though in quotation marks, these statements are not direct quotes but para-phrasing)
"Hello. I need to have a cab come pick up some friends, please."
Dispatcher, "Okay, what is the residence?"
Blah, blah, blah, Tyler, Texas.
Dispatcher, "Ma'am we have already been to this residence and the men were unable to pay. We will not send another vehicle to that residence."
"I understand. I have loaned them enough money for the entire ride. Can you please come give them a ride. It is very important they get a cab tonight."
Dispatcher woman, "Are you sure they have enough?"
"Ma'am, I promise you they have enough money. These men need to get home. Will you be sending a cab back to this residence?"
Dispatcher, "It is going to be a while because that cab driver has already taken a new call."
"I understand. I want to make sure my friends get home safely. They have been drinking and cannot drive. I expected that they would be able to take a cab home. Is that not the case?"
Dispatcher, "I can send a cab, but it is going to be a long time."
"So, you will be coming? What would the wait look like, please?"
Dispatcher, "Ma'am. We are having a lot of drivers out right now. We are taking people to work right now. You and your friends are just going to have to wait. They should have had money for a cab if they wanted to get home from drinking."
"I understand you might have other callers to get to. They have the money now to get home, they need to get their safely. They will wait for the ride, but I want you to understand this is for their safety and those on the roads around them. May I have an approximate wait time?"
Dispatcher, "It is going to be a while, we are taking people to work."
"At almost 3 in the morning?"
Dispatcher, "Yes, ma'am. I will tell you what I tell everyone else calling, your wait could be from 5 minutes to 30."
"That is fine. We just need to make sure they get home safely."
Dispatcher, "Is that all?"
"Yes. Thank you."
It seemed to be a great fight to get these men a ride home. I can understand that this woman may have been having a particularly bad night working the dispatch service. It was a late hour on a Friday night so she was probably a little overwhelmed with calls. But, the attitude with which the need for these men to be taken home safely after drinking seemed a little disturbing.
Is it not better that they try to figure out a way to make getting a cab a much easier task? Maybe this is why so many are scared to call a cab. I wonder how many people that night went through the same experience and possibly tried to just drive themselves home after?
I do not want to put any blame of the cab drivers or dispatch units. But, I want us all to look at this situation closely.
If we must make a choice between the back seat of a police car or that of a cab, shouldn't one seem more like the easiest of the two choices?
Have any of you ever had a bad cab experience?