Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- The bizarre news item of the day comes to us courtesy of the Gazette:

"More than 200 people attended the grand opening of a new 7-Eleven Jan. 17 at 12257 Tech Road in Silver Spring."

Say what? Since when did the opening of a suburban 7-11 become such a special event that hundreds of people show up to celebrate? The more likely scenario: the 200 "attendees" were actually day laborers congregating out front while trying to solicit work from contractors returning from a trip to the Home Depot around the corner.

- "I pity the fool tryin' to get to Silver Spring!" A reader wrote to me complaining about the difficulty she has getting cabs to take her home to Silver Spring from the District at night:

I usually have a pretty rough time. I've even resorted to telling lies about where I live (e.g. "I live down 16th St...). It is not uncommon for me to have to talk to 3 cabs to get 1 to take me home. Note, I am a white female in my 30's who lives 1 block over the DC line in SS.

Does anyone else have this problem? I have heard before of difficulties getting a cab to Silver Spring before, but I in the past I was always able to get a ride to other (farther away) suburbs late at night. Of course, with the D.C. cabs' arbitrary pricing scheme, the fares varied widely despite the trips sharing the same starting points and destinations.



15 comments:

ihateyuppies said...

Don't take a cab to Silver Spring unless it's past Metro operating hours. I had no problems getting a cab ride to Silver Spring before.

What ticks me off is the price. It costs me $20 to get a ride from downtown DC to my place on 16th Street. One night, I asked the cab driver to drop me off a block before the DC/MD line. The total fare was $13. So apparently, cab drivers increase the fares-dramatically-if you are dropped off beyond the DC boundary. I think it's the zone fare system.

Sligo said...

See, that's why the cab drivers are fighting meters. When they leave the city, it's anything goes as far as what they charge you.

Rfustero said...

Considering how dangerous cab driving can be, and considering how expensive it is to maintain a cab-you can not blame the cab drivers- they have to make a living.

Your choice is to take public transportaion, or drive your car.
Having a cab ride is like being chauffeured - and if you think cabs are expensive try to order a limo to drive you home.

Anonymous said...

I've had that problem before. I now tell cabs I'm going to Chevy Chase. No more problems until the smart ones who know MD figure out I'm talking about SS. But by then we're too far in for them to kick me out.

Meghan said...

Legally, once you're in the car, the cabs have to take you to your requested destination. I usually just say the intersection of 16th Street and East-West Hwy. I've never had a problem, but I've had grumbles.

Anonymous said...

DC cabs def need to switch to meters to keep it fair and honest. To the limo commenter, I'm sure it's not that much more expensive to drive a cab in DC than in NY where fares are substantially lower, as well as more consistent. With meters they would actually get more business since people would take them for a few blocks when needed instead of just when they're too drunk to drive home.

Twoste said...

DC cabbies are a racket. A total racket. For disgruntled, menial inconsistent service you get brutally overcharged for simply living in Silver Spring. And, getting a cabbie at the stand at the SS Metro to take you downtown? Phhhhshhhaw! Don't even think about it! I got in one last week and said "13th and N" please (b/c that is a difficult area to reach by Metro while carrying packages). The response: "Okay, how do I get there?"
Unbelievable!

Anonymous said...

I take cabs home from my office (1717H st) at least 2-3 times per week and have had cabbies refuse to drive me to SS or try to charge me more that I know it costs (I live in Woodside Park, just past downtown, and it is technically a $17 cab ride...just last night had a cabbie demand $25 because of high gas prices...I gave him $20 and walked away). A few times, I've had cabbies pick me up, then drive a few blocks to one of the big hotels, tell me to get out and take one of the cabs sitting in front. It may be illegal for them to refuse to drive you, but they don't care (I threaten to report them every time). If they don't want to drive you, they won't drive you.

Anonymous said...

I'm about a five-ten minute walk from the Silver Spring metro, but if I'm coming home late at night I take a cab for safety reasons because the walk is pretty lonely.

On the weeknights I usually don't have any problems getting a cab to take me to SS. But on the weekends, I usually have to ask two or three before I find one willing to make the drive.

If cabs are crossing into Maryland, they're supposed to use mileage to determine what they charge you - not zones. The trip from Conn Ave and L to the Spring Street area is about $12. It's harder to get the cabs to abide by this on the weekends, though, because they know no one else will take you so they can charge you more. However, I always ask the cab driver how much he's going to charge me before I get in so he can't surprise me at the end of the trip. It's usually about $25.

elastic|synapse said...

I'll echo meghan's sentiments. Get in the cab, close the door, and then tell them you're going to Silver Spring. If they refuse, make them force you out of the cab. Most likely, you'll also have a number for some operating authority in view on the front visor or on the back of the front seat. Pull out your cell phone and start calling. They'll take you.

Anonymous said...

To elastic...
I have actually written down the medallion number, name and license plate of a dc cabs who refused to drive me (refusals to drive after being seated in the cab) and filed a formal complaint to the dc cab commission.
Response: nothing, not even an acknowledgement of the complaint.

If you have advice on how to address the DC cab commission, I'd love to hear it. Perhaps the new mayor would be responsive to these issues.

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