We need a code enforcement Superhero.

Cory: Our unofficial and unpaid transportation director.

I have explored all my options in trying to resolve my issues with all the illegal cab companies in town, I started with the mayor who shuffled me to the city attorney’s office. I have emailed the city attorneys who assure me all is well or maybe it isn’t, and we will just wait and see. But we will prosecute.

I can document my paper trail for over two years and the few times I went to city council meetings where I was admonished by both a council member and the city manager. This year we do not have any hurricanes to blame, of course Abraxi taxi weathered both storms and had our city medallions those past two years. We have been setting the transportation bar very high since our inception and are becoming frustrated as our competitors try to limbo under the lowest rungs possible. These statutes need to be enforced now.

The city, city attorneys, and Sax taxi colluded together to upgrade the vehicle for hire codes and regulations. This was put forward by Historic City News. And there was a resolution passed. From my understanding, behind closed doors, and a deal was struck to help form a monopoly. We certainly were not consulted. And in the end, this never materialized. Integrity won the day. Sax taxi went belly up on the ideas put forward in secret.

My issues are that no one is being held accountable for either enforcing and policing the new policies approved by the commission. I have been more then patient in voicing my concerns and now am at the end of my rope. Since Sax taxi no longer exists and code enforcement and the city attorney’s office will not take my concerns seriously perhaps we should no longer have any regulations. The city cannot or will not ensure all local companies are complying. Some companies have not honored this policy for years. And like gypsy cabs are unregulated, dangerous and illegal.

I also do not understand how you let rideshares operate here with no oversight. They cause congestion, break traffic laws and exploit the city codes I am required to adhere to. How can you allow them to use taxi lights, park willy- nilly with flashers on and transport our city guests with no rhyme or reason on who is working as a non-documented or fully insured driver? Let’s be honest there are little to non-existent background checks. And since they falsely claim they are not taxis, taxi dome lights should be outlawed.

So please investigate my concerns that everyone else has ignored, albeit assuring me that I have nothing to be concerned with. It is past the time frame for medallions and I bet that the majority of taxi companies, pedicabs, low speed vehicles and the most egregious of all: hotel shuttles, again will thumb their noses at the city knowing that they will face no fines or penalties.

My mistake in the past may have been going to the generals hoping orders would be whispered down the chain of command when as usual it is the NCOs non-commissioned officers who get things done. My next step may be the free press who has been somewhat critical of this city council in the past, or legal counsel to protect my business, our employees and the many tourists that visit the Ancient city. However, we would prefer that the police would start issuing warning then perhaps fines. Our intentions are not to embarrass anyone we just want justice.

The new assistant attorney tried to assure me that he was no blower of smoke, but all I am getting from the city government are gale force winds with gusts of smog to either obfuscate my concerns or just hide complacency in plain sight, whilst we are transparent and compliant. Again, all we ask is for a level playing field and for those companies that can not or will not abide by the city edicts in my opinion their charters should be rescinded. Am I being naïve that thinking the city should protect local legal entities?

So, Cory as acting taxi commissioner can you help us out. My managers and dispatchers are on my case as we can not keep drivers because these gypsy cabs are stealing food from their families. This has nothing to do with the state. These are regulations the city has dictated yet will not or perhaps is ill equipped to enforce. Perhaps you can find the correct department that controls enforcement as I have not had any success. We thank you for your time and realize that this is not exactly what you do but perhaps this letter might find its way to someone that can help us with this situation.

What makes a great taxi customer? The Tao of taxi etiquette!

 

We do field many calls daily. We try to take care of our VIPS first. These are the customers who have been with us since we began Abraxi Taxi almost 10 years ago. Our next priority would be locals followed by the many tourists who visit us here in Saint Augustine Florida. However; if we did indeed pick you up and dropped you off somewhere here in the Ancient City, we feel an obligation not to leave you stranded: no matter where or what time. So please listen to what the dispatcher is putting down to ensure your safe and timely return trip home.

We do not surge price. Generally, what you paid coming in will be the same amount you fork over on the return trip. What I would like to do here is address a little taxi etiquette here on what the dispatcher needs to know and what sets apart the better client is the ability to articulate and listen.

The superior customer will give us the location, the number of people in the party and the location to where they want to be taken. Sometimes they may call ahead and set up what we label a time call. If they are in a noisy spot they will have the courtesy to find a quieter spot before calling. Now when we pull up at the allotted time these incredible humans will be ready to go. If you give us the “I will right out finger”, you may get the “Merry Christmas middle digit”, in return. The most exceptional taxi cab rider will be punctual. These wondrous creatures would never attempt to eat or smoke in their divine chariots. And all personal hygiene tasks will be completed before your designated driver arrives.

Upon decabbing and after paying the freight these awesome demi-gods will thoroughly check that they have all their personal belongings. If for some reason Houston has a problem and the driver has experienced some technical trouble, they are eagerly waiting by their communication device anxiously awaiting our call and promptly answering their phone or replying to text messages.For those infrequent times we may be running behind. They never call us repeatedly as if we can make our taxis drive any faster, control our quirky Bridge of Lions, or crazy traffic patterns around the Plaza De Constitucion. When they do call us, it is from a phone from this century that is crisp and clear. Yet never tells the dispatcher Merry Christmas. Now we know sometimes the best laid plans go awry but calling and cancelling cab service as we are pulling up into your driveway is unacceptable and you will suffer apocryphal retribution. Sometimes the superior customer may ask us a price and decide that we may be too steep. I understand some cab companies charge less, but, please never tell me what another company charges: just take that company.

The keys to becoming a superior taxi fare are brevity, clarity, punctuality, generosity, loyalty, patience and good natured-ness. We understand being under the weather and just having one of those days, however; being miserable, irascible and ill-mannered every day just can not help your personal mental health or help you move forward in this wonderful journey we call life. Remember the superior taxicab client never uses ride shares or at a minimum will not utter that criminal empires name Uber!

TAXI VAMPIRE

 

I might posit that the 3 biggest health threats that confront an average cabbie are smoking, bad diets and lack of exercise, in my case, working the graveyard shift will be lower levels of vitamin D. Which,besides bone growth,seems new studies link deficiency to colon cancer and heart disease.

Long hours sitting and driving around to make a living certainly has its rewards but there are some serious opportunities to fill in the voids with a series of self-destructive behaviors.

Smoking cigarettes can be a huge health detriment and with, at times, the nightly doldrums, it is easy to smoke a pack or more a day. Quitting is brutal, and though there is not much data on vaping, it must be less a detriment to your well-being. Your dentist will applaud your smoking and sugar cessation. Bad gums, periodontal disease is a very expensive non-reversible condition that has also been linked to heart disease. Giving up tobacco products has an immediate beneficial impact on all aspects of health. And with the adherence to a better diet and exercise regimen a much-improved outlook on life, a more solid footing in terms of mental health.

The next mouse trap to avoid are fast food places. I will not name them; for what I think and believe about them, is most unkind. The obesity and diabetes rates: especially in our young are abhorrent, and these purveyors of poison bear much responsibility. Parents are not providing happy meals they are promoting child abuse in my view and what drives this and and the tobacco industry is just straight up immoral and unadulterated greed. Thank goodness we have Big Pharma to provide expensive drugs for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and valium so we don’t give a crap! So please try to eat healthier and consume less sugar. We could look at this sugarcane industry in Florida and deduce the dying wildlife on our beaches might be a by-product. Be smart! Live longer! Be happier!

The one thing we have more control over would be exercise. I just sit in a cab all day and do find that going to a gym is a hard choice to make. So, after I stopped smoking and changed my diet to a much healthier one,I still was not really losing any weight. My blood work came back up mostly okay. Low on Vitamin D and a bit high on a thyroid test. So, first thing I try to do here in sunny Saint Augustine Florida is to find a spot to meditate and absorb the rays. This I believe turns the cholesterol on the skin, the largest organ we have on our body, into”D”; hence its nickname the sunshine vitamin.

Depending how things go eventually I might venture over to the amphitheater where I try to do a bit of jogging and some simple exercises. Jury is still out but I do need to lose weight, so my blood pressure drops a bit. I would rather not contribute to Big Pharma, tobacco, fast food or the sugar cartels. Unfortunately, I am still beholden to the oil companies, but we are trying to work on that.

Some other health obstacles a cab driver might face will be drugs, alcohol, gambling and hookers. If you are a highly addictive personality having cash daily can breed some very expensive and unhealthy habits. Be smart and manage your addictions wisely if you find yourself in any of these mouse traps.

The job itself can be addicting. Cash every day, some of the seedier and tastier side of life. Just like in anything we do: moderation is the key.

The American Culinary Federation “ACF” national headquarters is in the World Golf Village section close to Saint Augustine and this organization certifies the many layers of the cooking industry. From nutrition to bakers to chefs.

Many years ago, I made it to Certified Executive Chef took some pastry courses worked hard in hot kitchens ate a plethora of sauces from the Hollandaise/Béarnaise/Maltese, Béchamel, Beurre Blancs and my all-time favorite Espagnole or brown sauce. Working in fine dining restaurants have many delicious options most of which are deadly. I used about 12 cases of butter and about the same heavy cream a week. We had Prime rib, Veal chops, lobster, shrimp, grouper, blue and Dungeness crab, stone crab claws, Tournedos<tiny filet> Americaine<lobster and Hollandaise> and Tournedos Rossini<filet with force fed goose liver pate, mushrooms, brown sauce and Béarnaise. I was a cholesterol pumper of food but it sure tasted good.

Anthony Bourdain had it right. Addicting conditions can lead to addictions. Highly competitive, alpha dog mentality, tough job but extremely rewarding when done well. Sui-Generis individuals striving for Arete!

Even with the copious amounts of beer and alcohol consumed perhaps because of the amount of liquids we lost sweating in these incredibly hot boxes called kitchens I was never too overweight. But now that I seldom drink and never consume illicit narcotics, quit smoking, eat healthy though I grow fat in my cab. Perhaps it is age?

So, exercise is my next step and will soon put in a basketball court for some high impact workouts and a swimming pool for lower intensity fitness and perhaps help attract the hookers.

Life changes are good but do not always go as planned. However; we all need to take our health much more seriously. The more we try the less we will need to rely on doctors, hospitals and pharmaceuticals. Moderation is the key.

Now go out and get shitfaced, do a few lines, get a few crystal meth burgers, smoke your coffin nail, maybe a joint. Please don’t drive, call a cab if you want to get home safely. But if you really need to gamble:try an Uber!

Consumate

Regarding taxi ordnances in the city of Saint Augustine and the lack of enforcement:

 

I had emailed the mayor last December about my issues with the lack of code enforcement the city, city attorney’s office and code enforcement have displayed regarding my concerns.

The mayor suggested that I voice my concerns to Denise May the city attorney who wrote these regulations while colluding with Sax taxi a now defunct taxi service in Saint Augustine, Ms. May assured me all was well when in fact the transportation industry is rotten to the core. So, we at Abraxi Taxi would like a deferment for our taxi medallions. Once all the company’s I have mentioned in previous emails become legit we will pay for the certified mechanics and, the city medallions. During this reprieve we of course will keep our commercial taxi insurance current and our vehicles in a safe condition.

Once we see that other vehicles for hire are complying with the regulations and the city is being aggressive in its due diligence upholding its own rules and regulations we can then take our cars to get the proper medallions.

Since Uber and Lyfts are not taxis they should not be able to solicit business with the use of dome lights or in-vehicle identifiers. Both companies should also pay a fee to use our roads and bridges. Keep an eye on New York. To help with congestion add some sort of impact fee. If the city does not need this money for pot holes or sea wall construction, we could create a small fund for a transportation chief and small raises to the city police department. Someone needs to monitor these regulations or LET’S get together at a city meeting or workshop and undo or redo what is in the code.

Hotel shuttles need to be current on insurance and have the city as a lien holder as should all other local cab companies. Proper medallions should be on every vehicle with the correct color denoting the year valid for.

Code enforcement, a possible Transportation Director and the city police should be trained on these vehicles for hire standards and serious fines and penalties need to be assessed.

Gas powered carts are not taxis so no taking up the two taxi stands in town, words matter that’s one reason we need lawyers. Ignorance of the law is never an excuse and the penalties should be draconian.

Another option would be that like the ride share companies,there should be no regulations regarding vehicle for hire. If something bad should happen the city insurances should cover any injuries or loss of life. We at Abraxi will continue to carry commercial insurance and if others choose not to: so be it, let the chips fall where they may.

We appreciate the mulligan and if it is easier to just drop all regulations that is fine by us. Having 3 sets of rules is unjust. One set of rules for the evil empire which states do whatever you want with our blessing, the second set is to just ignore whatever we decreed, and the final set are for the ones foolish enough to adhere to them.

Dim witted as I am: I am at wits end. I have gone to city council meetings where I was belittled by a council member and admonished by the city manager, so I would like to avoid this route again. I have sent emails and resent emails to relevant 3rd parties. I have tried going to Cory at the water department and finally sent more emails to code enforcement and the city attorneys. Nothing has been addressed and it even more glaring and blatant. The city has written these fiats and should either enforce or vacate.

Dispatcher client relationship

BREVITY
How to order a cab the old-fashioned way.
Unfortunately to use a traditional taxi company you will need to call us at 904 599 6666.You can visit our website at http://www.abraxitaxi.com or http://www.abraxitaxi.org for some useful information if you would like.
When calling the dispatcher please be fast and brief. We need to know where you are at, where you are going and the number of people who require transporting. We are a zone rate company so do not hesitate to ask the price. If you do not think that it is fair, or another company might be cheaper: please do not argue and call the company you prefer. Our pricing remains the same always. We do not generally raise our pricing during surge times. You will pay the same price you forked over on your way to downtown Saint Augustine, as you will on the way back home to Crescent Beach for example.
We need your location if it is a business: the name of the business should be fine if a house a physical address is required. If you have a large group, we would rather send you a van as to make your trip more comfortable. The destination is helpful, so we can provide service to more customers in a timely fashion.
Sometimes the dispatchers are very busy and need to get as much information from you in a small amount of time, we are not trying to be rude but more efficient. We prefer that you call us from your personal phone so if anything chaotic happens we can alert you to the situation or be able to find you at peak times like last call when the clubs close. Also, when you are far away our drivers may give a shout out to make sure this is a serious enquiry and not a prank. Sometimes we will need to be prepaid before picking up in certain areas in Saint John’s County Florida. We no longer can pick up passengers at Jacksonville International Airport but can drop customers off. If you call us we will be happy to give you some other options for getting from this airport to Saint Augustine Florida. There are several Jacksonville taxis available immediately outside the terminal exit.
If you choose to pre-book or set up a specific time for a taxi to arrive, please be ready at that time. We generally like a heads up for airport transportation and many locals prefer calling us the night before for their cab ride to work the next day.
We are a no-nonsense, non-smoking, fair and honest taxi cab company. We will treat you with courtesy and respect and expect you to reciprocate this to your professional driver. Once you become a regular rider and have some patience when busy; you will always get an Abraxi Taxi.
To be honest we do strive to be the best but unfortunately there are so many things out of our control, traffic is certainly one and the Bridge of Lions is another. On rare occasions cars can have flats or other mechanical issues. Point being; allow yourself plenty of time especially if going to work, and when you are ready to go home give us a call and we will dispatch a cab for your return trip.
We do accept credit cards. There is a 10.00 minimum processing fee. If you would rather stop at an ATM we are fine with that. We do charge 1.00 per stop and .50 a minute wait time. Sometimes it may save you some money to keep a 20.00 bill in your wallet. This will get you a long way or even back and forth to work with change to spare. We encourage tipping!
Abraxi Taxi prefer that you call us from your personal cell phone and you remain at your location. People who move we call Easter Eggs and no driver likes to hunt for fares walking along dark roads or hiding in the bushes. Find a well-lit, safe spot and we will do our best to find you. AND at times will even call to let you know we are ready to transport. So please answer your phone! However; it is your responsibility to be ready for the cab we assigned you.