Remind Me Again Why Philly Cabs Suck

The bad local taxi service that almost ruined a wedding BY JANINE WHITE

At 7 a.m. two Sundays ago, I was on my way to Mexico to get married. (Before I left the office that previous Friday, we were wrapping up our February feature on the state of the Philadelphia taxi system by Nick DiUlio, “Hell Called. It Wants Its Cabs Back.”) At a time when I should have been all giddy with excitement, I had a bitter Philly aftertaste in my mouth. Just a few hours earlier, I had called for a cab to the airport and was immediately funneled into the hold queue where I held. And I held. EIGHT minutes later, still no dispatcher. It was 5 a.m.; they couldn’t have been overwhelmed. I gave up. I dialed another taxi company, and a dispatcher said a driver was on the way. In a blurry-eyed, and now anxious state, we got all the suitcases on the front stoop, ready for the driver. When our cab pulled up, we threw everything in the trunk and jumped in the backseat. As the driver pulled away, I told him “Terminal C.” He paused and asked, “Where?” I repeated, “Terminal C,” then added for clarification, “The airport.” He said, “They told me 20th and Arch.” That’s when we realized this cab was not our cab and was intended for someone else. Yet the driver had said nothing but “Good morning” as we loaded our four pieces of baggage (where else would we be going?) into the car. We were several blocks away by then, and that’s when the dispatcher called to tell me that our actual cab was outside our house. I answered to apologize and explain our innocent mistake. (Too bad I couldn’t also make amends with the poor sap in our ‘hood trying to get to 20th and Arch that morning.) The dispatcher spewed at me: “Never call here AGAIN,” and slammed down the phone. Wow. What a lovely send-off. Initially, I was bummed about someone yelling at me. Then, suddenly, I was relieved. Relieved that we had decided to get married away from Philadelphia. I’m going to invite 50 out-of-town guests to fly from around the country and experience this sort of Philadelphia hospitality? No thanks.