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There’s something to be said for riding in a taxi

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POSTED June 7, 2014 1:22 a.m.

It was 12:45 a.m. on New Year’s Eve (day, technically) and I was standing outside of a bar on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco with no cell phone, no wallet, no ID and five crinkled $1 bills in my pocket. 

Inebriated and unfamiliar with my surroundings, I started asking people around me if I could borrow their phone to call a cab. 


Apparently nobody gets a cab at 1 a.m. on New Year’s Eve (day, technically) in San Francisco. 

So I walked. I managed to flag down a limo driver and when I showed him the crumpled ones in my pocket, he promptly drove away. Taxis with bright lights and even brighter paint jobs bombed through the streets like they were on fire and absolutely none of them were destined for me. 

Long story short – I made it, thanks to the directional prowess of the San Francisco police officers perched on nearly every corner – to Union Square and the hotel I was staying at. And as luck would have it, I found the group of people I was staying with right outside the entrance.

As I was sitting on the curb across the street from the hotel recounting this story to a friend, a Snapple in one hand and a slice of pepperoni in another, I raised my hand towards the street traffic. 

“None of them will stop. Watch this.”

All of a sudden, brakes lock up right in front me. A blue and white DeSoto Cab stops 10 feet from me and inquires about my fare. 

“No thanks. I was just proving a point.”

He speeds off. So much for my point. 

When this idea about determining the best forms of alternate transportation in Manteca came about, I knew that taking a taxi to work and making at least one stop out of the way was what I wanted to do. There’s something romantic about taking a taxi – a little bit grittier than a car service but a step above public transportation. A treat for the working man. That extra topping that you get when you go to the ice cream stand.

So when Dave from Red Top Taxi pulled up in front of my house in a Lincoln Town Car, I was stoked. 

Yes, it seemed odd. Why, when I have a perfectly good – and extremely nice, if I might add – car that I just bought sitting right there am I climbing into the back seat of somebody else’s car and paying them to take me to work? And at a job that requires me to be able to jump in and drive away at a moment’s notice, no less?

Because I needed to see for myself. Three times I have taken pictures on New Year’s Eve (day, technically) where somebody was in the back seat of a cab in a drive-thru window. Naturally, I’m envious that they were able to get such a cab during a crush like that. And to know that your paid designated driver will take you for late-night, drunk tacos at Jack-in-the-Box is a refreshing feeling if you’re into that sort of the thing. 

At least that’s somebody that’s not out on the road driving. 

Dave knows that his industry is in flux. Just an hour after I got to the office in my cab, Managing Editor James Burns climbed into the front seat of a Chevy Tahoe (GMC Yukon?) for a ride on Lyft – the controversial impromptu service that allows ordinary citizens to become cab drivers. He got a phone call from his driver, was able to track how far away he was from the office, and have the entire cost deducted from his debit card without ever having to pull it from his wallet. 

But as cool as that big moustache is, there’s something to be said for riding in a taxi. 

I just can’t see Robert De Niro prowling the streets of New York with a comically large piece of facial hair on the front of his yellow machine. 

Lyft Driver? It just doesn’t have the same ring.

Hail your cab with pride people.

You might not be able to grab one from the curb the same way you can in The City, but the experience is even better, and sometimes not having to be the one behind the wheel is worth the extra money. 


To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544

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