Another View of Yesterday’s Cab Crash

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Reader Trish Naudon-Thomas sends this picture of yesterday’s cab crash in Chelsea. Information about what transpired is still hard to come by, but an AP squib notes that the collision has put one person in critical condition and two others in serious condition. It’s a miracle that even more people weren’t hurt in such a pedestrian-packed city environment.

As noted in the comments to our first post about this crash, it’s much easier to acquire a hack license in New York City compared to London. A survey released this June ranked New York cabbies the world’s worst taxi drivers. London’s were named the best. Think of the lives that could be saved if we decided that driving a multi-ton vehicle all day, all over town demanded more rigorous certification.

  • How did the cab flip over? My theory: It’s an SUV and therefore higher off the ground. The other car was a sedan and therefore lower. The sedan pushed under the SUV and flipped it.

    I once saw another car flipped over and actually witnessed the flip. It was in San Francisco, where the streets are famously hilly. One car was barreling up a hill and struck another car in an intersection. The car moving uphill (way too fast) had its nose in the air, so the other car served as a ramp. No one was hurt.

  • PaulCJr

    I waiting to hear the politicos blame this on the cyclists, bike lanes and peds. 😉

  • J

    Perhaps the solution is smaller, slower cabs.

  • Velocentric

    Bet they weren’t wearing helmets.

  • JK Rowling

    An “AP squib?” The AP employs people non-magical people that were born into wizarding families?

  • Grinner

    Mr. Walker:

    Obviously, hybrid taxis spontaneously flip over, as was reported in the Streetsblog headlines on 21 October 2008 (http://www.yellowcabnyc.com/nyc-taxi/hybrid-taxis-causing-injury-damage-york-city-streets).

    My question is “which cab blew the red light?”

    Bitterness aside, i very much hope that those injured pull through.

  • Boris

    The ironic thing is, if this was a rare event like a crane collapse you’d have politicians falling all over themselves in trying to reform driving laws.

  • vnm

    Cabbies in London have to have The Knowledge. Cabbies here need to know how to count.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Cab drivers are paid far less, relative to other careers, than they were 30 years ago.

    They used to be salaried employees — now they are self-employed, no-benefits independent contractors who have to rent the cab and medallian for the day and take the risk of not making enough to cover it. One reason they barrel to the curb the way similarly free market incentivized bike messangers roar the wrong way up the street.

    They used to be natives, now they are mostly immigrants as a result of falling wages.

    The flipside is that taxi fares are probably much cheaper relative to transit fares than they were 30 years ago, despite increasing surcharges. Kind of like airfares. You get what you pay for.

  • Shemp

    The most harrowing account of 3rd world driving I have ever read is in Joe Simpson’s “This Game of Ghosts” (he is the author of “Touching the Void” and subject of the film of same title) – the chapter on being driven from Islamabad up to the Himalayas.

  • zgori

    The only way to get better cab drivers here is to raise the fare so the drivers (not the fleet owners) can earn decent money. Then you’ll get less turnover, more experienced drivers and more competition for licenses (which will allow for raised licensing standards). Too cheap for that? We’ll just have to settle for third-world drivers working 12 hour shifts under tremendous pressure to turn over the meters.

    London cabdrivers aren’t only good drivers and navigators, they’re also courteous to customers, pedestrians and other drivers. They also charge about twice what we pay.

  • PaulCJr

    Pay more? Right. I know a lot of us here would be willing to flip the cost because we understand the benefits of it. But you tell that to Americans, they’ll have a cow. I hear New Yorkers all the time complain about the high price of cab fares and how they think they’re being taken. I alway tell my friends when I hear them complain about the cost of the cab, this is nothing. In San Francisco I pay way more. But we want something for nothing in this country. I still can’t understand why that is.

  • Chris

    Say what you want about how low or high a cabbie’s wage is, getting paid less than you should is not an excuse for doing the fundamental part of your job- in this case driving- poorly and recklessly.

    “If they were only paid more” is not a useful argument.

    (That would just buy them more minutes on the cell phones anyway)

  • Marty Barfowitz

    Mayor Bloomberg: Do you care that this is regularly happening in your city?

    Ray Kelly: Do you care?

    City Council Liliputians: Do you care?

    T.L.C. and cab industry: Oh, hell, I’m not even going to ask. I know you don’t care.

    Robert Morgenthau: Are you still even breathing?

    New York Times: You don’t care. This was just an “accident,” right?

    Who the f*ck is in charge here? Who CARES?

  • zgori

    @ getting paid less than you should is not an excuse for doing the fundamental part of your job- in this case driving- poorly and recklessly.

    Absolutely. Also burger flippers shouldn’t spit in your food. And customer service reps shouldn’t hang up on you. But that’s the culture.

  • the two hybrid cabs found each other…

  • gecko

    What’s scary is that those driving yellow taxi cabs are possibly better drivers than those driving black cars and even the city’s non commercial drivers since the insurance rates get exhorbitant after they have received moving violations and caused accidents.

    They do travel all the time including when tired and distracted (on cell phones, making change, logging trips, looking for riders, etc.).

  • Steven Crowell

    Why are there never details about injuries from impact with partition edges and protrusions? These reports are scanter than imaginable.

  • Boris

    So long as the NYPD remains a we-don’t-care more-than-useless organization, the kind of driving that we have in New York will continue. To say the least, speeding and reckless driving are not enforced on New York streets.

    Either we put the NYPD to work, and give them a commission for issuing speeding tickets, or we send them all home (without pay).

  • Ian Turner

    Zgori,

    Raising cab fares won’t give more cash to drivers; it will just raise the value (thus cost) of taxi medallions, enriching current medallion owners and giving not a cent extra to drivers.

    The right way to improve the safety of taxis is to adjust the fare structure to encourage safe driving, and to step up automated enforcement, which should be (more) possible to pass by the state. Right now the fare structure encourages taxis to speed and they drive accordingly.

  • jwb

    Grinner: what a strange article. Clearly the MPG standard could easily have been met with a car like the Toyota Camry Hybrid, instances of which have entered taxi service in San Francisco. Great fuel economy, spacious, safe.

  • Jwb, spacious enough for a wheelchair?

  • jwb

    Stowed in the trunk? Sure. Aboard?

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