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THE CITY DESK ITEM (8/11) about taxi hacks prompts me to share with City Paper readers a recent experience with a cab company in Montgomery County.

I was at the NIH and had to dash to the garage to pick up the car after extensive work. Pressured for time before closing, I decided to go by cab—there’s one by the Medical Center metro at all times. The cab was pulling away just as I arrived, and the driver pointed me to another driver from another company who just pulled in. This was unusual, also because the cab, a van really, had only a telephone number etched on it, but I was desperate and went in, relieved to see a meter. Half-way, the driver went off to another road and began taking the longest route possible to my destination. I protested, we argued, he told me not to teach him his business, and proceeded to lock the doors to the vehicle.

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By the time I arrived near the garage I was forced to pay double but, more to the point, I was extremely shaken and crying. From the garage, I called the taxi company, Montgomery Taxi Cab, to complain. The supervisor, Mehdi Tahlavan, promised to investigate the driver, George, and call me back in a couple of days. He never did. When I returned to the NIH, I called Regency Cab, the company that works from the campus hospital, and talked to Bob. He told me this was unusual behavior and advised me to call Timmy, owner of Montgomery Taxi Cab. I did. He promised action. Nothing happened. I called Timmy back on Thursday. He vaguely remembered something about a discrepancy of a couple of bucks—and nothing else. When I mentioned the locking of the doors, he told me to call the police, implying it was not his problem.

The problem, then, seems to be not just of unprofessional taxi drivers but of unprofessional taxi cab owners, too! If someone who hears a complaint of such a serious nature against his employee does not reprimand, caution, or outright fire him for unacceptable behavior, perhaps he should reconsider running a service-oriented company.

via the Internet