Uber Has Arrived.

Travis Kalanick, C.E.O. and co-founder of Uber. Photograph by Art Streiber for Vanity Fair.

Travis Kalanick, C.E.O. and co-founder of Uber. Photograph by Art Streiber for Vanity Fair.

Uber is a smartphone-based car service that has the taxi and transportation business up in arms. It has entered the city of Charlottesville market and many of my fellow taxi drivers are concerned about being displaced in the coming weeks, months or year?

My main concern is that just about anyone can easily become an Uber driver. As Uber says, “Pick them up, get going, get paid, It’s that simple.” Well, it isn’t that simple for taxi drivers. One example is you do not have to carry commercial insurance to be a Uber driver like I do. Another is my taxi business has to go through a special process and pay to receive a taxi license and permit in the State of Virginia to be recognized as a lawful and legitimate taxi and transportation business where Uber drivers don’t. Now you can see in part why taxi drivers are displeased.

In the December 2014 issue of Vanity Fair, it points out that Travis Kalanick, Uber co-founder and CEO “has found no shortage of foes. He has directed barbs–in speeches and videos, and on Twitter–especially fervently toward the taxi industry, but also toward city and local regulators across the country.” Read on about the history of Uber and more of the story of Uber’s controversy here.

Tell me what you think. It makes for a very interesting conversation. I would be glad to hear your comments.

PLEASE NOTE: I am phasing out Cab Chronicles. You can now read and subscribe to my blog via email (on right side bar) on my Charlottesville Transportation & Taxi website at http://www.charlottesvilletaxi.com/category/blog/ Please add your comments to this article on my website. Thanks.


I Was Asked To Go See “The Boss!”

Last night I was watching TV and was reminded of an evening when I was dispatched to pick up a customer at the Charlottesville Landmark Aviation terminal. An area of the airport for charter planes and private jets.

There at the terminal lobby was a young couple waiting. They flew up from North Carolina for the evening to go see a concert. While making conversation with them, they asked me if I wanted to go see “The Boss” because they had one extra ticket. I said, “Are you kidding me, sure.”

Once I said that, my phone rings and quess who called, it was my boss. He needed me for the evening because it was going to be a busy night, due to a concert. I paused, and said, “I am going to see “The Boss.” Imagine the conversation after that. All I can say is that I still had my job the next day.

At the end of the concert, I drove my customer back to the airport and thanked them for a wonderful time and a night to remember! And that’s how I got to see Bruce Springsteen, “The Boss!”

“No, you’re weak!”

“Make that light!,” he yelled, as it was about to turn red. At the time, I didn’t have it in me to speed up and go through it. So I stopped. “You’re weak!,” the customer said. When the light turned green, we passed through the intersection and around the corner a police officer was sitting there. I said to my passenger, “No, you’re weak!” as I pointed out the police car to him just waiting there for someone to make a wrong move. He laughed trying to make light of the situation. He couldn’t believe what had just transpired.

A True Story

A passenger in a taxi heading for the train station leaned over to ask the driver a question and gently tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.

The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over the curb and stopped just inches from a large plate window.

For a few moments everything was silent in the cab. Then the shaking taxi driver said “Are you OK? I’m so sorry, but you scared the daylights out of me.”

The badly shaken passenger apologized to the driver and said, “I didn’t realize that a mere tap on the shoulder would startle someone so badly.”

The driver replied, “No, no, I’m the one who is sorry, it’s entirely my fault. Today is my very first day driving a cab. I’ve been driving a hearse for 25 years.”

Post Prayer

My latest story to post is posting on a post.




I Wept Last Night

Late afternoon, my dispatcher sent me to pick up a woman and said she needed to go to a clinic. It was to get an abortion.

I froze, paused, and prayed and said, “where is she?” I could have not taken the assignment but felt the need to do my job as a taxi driver with the task of being salt and light in this situation.

Once in my cab, with her goth like appearance and many facial piercings, I asked about her story and just listened. She said that it was her second visit to have an abortion. She felt she was not ready to have a baby right now. Even though she had a boyfriend, she just didn’t want to commit and have that responsibility right now in her life.

As we approached the house, there was a lady already at the door waiting for her as if she wanted to make this as comfortable and welcoming as possible for my customer.

That evening as I was driving my taxi home, I thought and reflected what had happened that afternoon. My mind and heart could not get past what she had done to herself and her baby. Trying to figure out my role and duty in all this. Confused and perplexed, I finally just broke down and wept.

God’s divine obsession with his own, his beloved, both woman and child, overcame me. I had an overwhelming presence that my Maker was weeping over me and with me, as we both cried out for his own, lost, loved ones.

May the God who offers the gift of forgiveness, healing, and hope restore you, hold you, and see you through, until we meet again.

Play and Sing For Me

One thing about cab driving is that you just never know who you may pick up and meet. I knew this was going to be my last customer for the evening as I cruised downtown one last time at 2 am in the morning. The customer I picked up had a backpack and guitar in hand. He just finished a gig that nite and I sensed he was very happy with his performance as he mentioned to me that he had a standing ovation at the end of his final set. As we went onto our destination, to my surprise, he decided to pull out his guitar to play and sing. What a treat! Thank you, Michael, for playing and singing for me. And now for your listening pleasure…


trinity pic

It was a busy week last week as the college students have finished up their year. As many do, they head out to the bars to drink, party and celebrate. This past Saturday was no different from past years.

There is a popular local Irish pub in town close to the university called Trinity that many college students go, to do just that. When they ask me to go to Trinity, I in return, ask them, “Trinity Church?”

Anticipating their response, I instantly get a quick loud laugh from everyone in the cab, hoping to leave room for some open dialog about church as we go to our destination.

At a moments notice, I quickly say to them as they leave my cab for Trinity, “I will see you all at Trinity tomorrow morning!”

A Shipper

I was dispatched to pick up a woman at the local hotel in town. She needed to go to a department store to get some things.

As I often do, I like to strike up conversation with my customers to get to know them better. I asked her what she did and she said she was a shipper. I thought it very odd. I instantly thought, what shipyard was even close nearby?

As she stepped out of the cab, she asked me to wait for her. While I waited for her to return from the store to go back to her hotel, I decided to google on my phone the definition of a shipper. I came upon one of the definitions as being someone who supports a fictional romantic relationship, usually on the internet. Again, I thought it very unusual.

Not knowing what exactly she did as a shipper, my curiosity kept me going to where I couldn’t wait to talk to her about her profession when she got back in my cab. As she entered my cab, I began to talk to her about being a shipper and what it is like for her, she squirmed, and said “No, I am a stripper.”

“Smile at an Epileptic.”

Epilepsy is a common and diverse set of chronic neurological disorders characterized by seizures. About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy.

I picked up someone who shared with me openly about her epilepsy and an incident that happened that day. Her face told the story, saddened and looking rejected, she started to tell me that her doctor had said, “You are not fit to function in society with your condition.” I was taken back with a big surprise and quite honestly, shocked.

My customer went on to say, with almost tears, “I have lost boyfriends, and even had teachers drop me from class. It is difficult having epilepsy. When people don’t understand my condition, they are really terrified. I am hoping for a good outcome in all this.”

She asked me if I ever met someone with epilepsy. I said, “No.” She said, “Always smile at an epileptic.” As we arrived at her destination and before opening the door, I told her that I would pray for her. She left with a big smile on her face.

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