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Posted at 8:15 AM ET, 01/31/2011

When should employees go home in storm?

By Luke Rosiak

In his weekly Monday 12pm chat, Dr. Gridlock and readers graded the performance of transit agencies and local drivers and reflected on lessons from Wednesday's crippling snowstorm, and when OPM and private employers should grant leave or encourage telecommuting.

Meanwhile, the OPM announced its decision for tomorrow.

By Luke Rosiak  | January 31, 2011; 8:15 AM ET
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Next: Cmte. of 100 issues streetcar report


Innovation in the DC cab system is needed urgently!

How is it that the capital of the free world can't get its act together on the subject of cabs? And why don't market forces work here? Since the system is so dysfunctional, one would think it would attract a taxi company that is service-minded and punctual, which would beat the rest? I keep on having awful experiences with the existing firms whose dispatchers are rude, whose drivers don't show up or show up hours late, and then add on multiple perplexing charges (airport fee, bag fee, drive up fee, 'I handled your bag fee'), don't accept credit cards and then expect a tip. It is such an anxiety-filled experience, my friends prefer just taking the metro than dealing with the hassle (which is of course the green alternative and maybe an unexpected benefit of a system that does not work).

In addition to a system that is frustrating, it is wasteful. I know for a fact that people systematically order cabs from several companies just to make sure that at least one shows up. Talk about a waste of resources – time, money, gas and patience!

Last night I tried to order a cab for a friend leaving my house in SW and going to Georgetown. It was 10 degrees and too cold to walk to and from the metro. After an hour's wait, they called and an automated voice told us that a cab was 7 minutes away. My friend bundled up and waited. And waited. The cab never showed up and the only thing the dispatcher could tell me when I called was that the cab driver had not made it to my house. No reason why. But my request had been put back in the queue. Of course no one had thought to call me to let me know, and when I complained the dispatcher shouted at me. The second cab we had ordered never even showed up.

We ended up having to roam the neighborhood in search of a cab to flag down. We found one about 10 blocks away. SW is not an area where a lot of cabs hang around.

How come less organized cites in less developed countries all over the world have taxi systems where the dispatchers are friendly, give you an estimated time for arrival and the cabs actually show up? There is a void in DC, just waiting for an entrepreneur to fill it and provide us with a service we would be happy to pay for. For the sake of us all, please allow market forces to work their magic!

Frustrated walker

Posted by: Isabel4 | January 31, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I've dealt with 123 mortgage refi on two refis now, and in each case it was about as painless as anything that involves paperwork by the acre can possibly be. I would heartily recommend his services without reservation for those thinking of refi.

Posted by: sarahmarci135 | February 1, 2011 5:34 AM | Report abuse

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