Addicted to novelty since 2001

Want Me to Take the Cambie Street Bridge or the Granville Street Bridge?

Over the past few days, I’ve taken a number of rides in taxis. In every case, after I specified where I want to go, they clarified the route with me. That is, they asked me how I wanted to get from point A to point B.

This strikes me as a little odd. After all, they’re the experts in getting around. They traverse the city on a daily basis. Surely they know all the optimized routes. I don’t tell my dentist how to clean my teeth. So, I always answer their questions with “whatever route you think is best”.

This morning I asked a driver why he asks about the preferred route. He replied that he wants to avoid arguments with customers. That’s a bit tragic, isn’t it?

It’s kind of de rigeur in our culture to mock taxi drivers for their crappy navigation and lousy driving. I always feel really safe in a cab. Not only do they drive all day, but they’re motivated to, you know, stay alive and keep their car unharmed.

8 Responses to “Want Me to Take the Cambie Street Bridge or the Granville Street Bridge?”

  1. Gwen

    I feel safe, too, in a cab but not near one! They are better drivers for the hours they spend on the road but they risks they take that they know will pan out downright freak everyone else out.

    I think I would take the route where you’re kind of moving along and he seems occupied than being stalled in traffic and having to make that tired small talk about how bad Canada Line construction is screwing up commuters’ lives right now.

  2. Gar

    Cambie St. is the one to avoid at all cost! and I mean cost$$$$. The aforementioned Canada line is still messing that bridge up. Thats probably why they want you to chose, they have a chance to make some more money, and it will be your fault.

  3. Duane Storey

    Yah, they typically ask so as to avoid any fare disputes at the end when someone goes “well, you should have taken route X because it would have been faster.” I always leave it up to the cab driver as well, but when I’ve been away from home in other cities, have caught a few cabbies taking the long way around in cities I was fairly familiar with. So you do have to be careful sometimes.

    And yes, don’t go anywhere near Cambie.

  4. Erika Rathje

    We got stuck waiting to get on the Cambie St Bridge and I watched the counter go up in uneven increments, as we sat there… Unfortunately in that case it was the bridge that was closest but we also could have gone around by taking Main St down to Expo Blvd. I think initially we tried to tell the cabby of a shortcut to the bridge, but anyway. Most of them probably have PhDs and Masters and ought to be earning more than any of us, but instead are earning much less.

  5. alexis

    My answer is… whichever way is cheapest.

    My best friend told me that she was smoking in cab when it was still legal to smoke in cabs in Saskatoon. She asked first if she could smoke, and then got into a conversation about people getting busy in cabs. The driver said that some people even asked before they started getting it on. So weird.

  6. Michael Kwan

    I don’t take cabs very often, but I feel very unsafe around them. Cabbies have a reputation of running lights, changing lanes without signaling, etc.

    And yes, the reason why he asked you for a preferred route was to avoid any fare disputes at the end of your trip. Some people think that cabbies take the long way just to earn some extra fare.

  7. Rob

    I’ve been asked that a lot lately too. Especially going from YVR to the West End. I guess its cheaper than getting GPS?

  8. Lisa

    I live on one side of the Cambie bridge, and work on the other side, and I still avoid it by car.

    The bus is worth it, sometimes.

    I can usually walk the bridge faster than car or bus.

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