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Continuing Education

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Samarov
1448 Rider
 Posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Drivers

Another excerpt from Where To?

I arrive at Yellow Cab Headquarters at Cermak and Wabash about 9 am for the first of two city- mandated Driver’s Safety classes. Half the office staff seems to be outside for a smoke break. The teacher, Linda, who I remember from taking the class two years ago, is among them. This means that there's no hurry to get this thing going. Her strategy is to waste as much time as possible and end it as early as she can get away with.

The classroom is a windowless, stuffy chamber at the end of a hallway housing various departments. With all the doors open, a cacophony of conversations echoes up and down its length. Inside the room, there are four rows of tables with taxi meters and Gandalf terminals bolted at each seat. We sit facing a dry-erase board and a flatscreen TV, filling out forms, while Linda sits at her desk in the back, coughing in the stale air. When she gets up to ask for our company IDs (to make sure we actually belong in this class) there's a guy who says he doesn’t have his, claiming he’s never been given one. Of course, seeing as one can’t drive a Yellow without it, this isn’t true and with a bit of encouragement he's persuaded to go out to his cab and retrieve it. Next, we're treated to a video about road rage. Although amusing for its unintentional industrial-film humor, I prefer the old ones that portray the consequences of reckless driving with blood and gore. In the discussion session which follows, a grizzled veteran in the front row opines that cabs should be equipped with sidewinder missiles to vaporize pedestrians. (Later, this same gentleman has to be roused from his slumbers in his ca…

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Drivers

Another excerpt from Where To?

I arrive at Yellow Cab Headquarters at Cermak and Wabash about 9 am for the first of two city- mandated Driver’s Safety classes. Half the office staff seems to be outside for a smoke break. The teacher, Linda, who I remember from taking the class two years ago, is among them. This means that there's no hurry to get this thing going. Her strategy is to waste as much time as possible and end it as early as she can get away with.

The classroom is a windowless, stuffy chamber at the end of a hallway housing various departments. With all the doors open, a cacophony of conversations echoes up and down its length. Inside the room, there are four rows of tables with taxi meters and Gandalf terminals bolted at each seat. We sit facing a dry-erase board and a flatscreen TV, filling out forms, while Linda sits at her desk in the back, coughing in the stale air. When she gets up to ask for our company IDs (to make sure we actually belong in this class) there's a guy who says he doesn’t have his, claiming he’s never been given one. Of course, seeing as one can’t drive a Yellow without it, this isn’t true and with a bit of encouragement he's persuaded to go out to his cab and retrieve it. Next, we're treated to a video about road rage. Although amusing for its unintentional industrial-film humor, I prefer the old ones that portray the consequences of reckless driving with blood and gore. In the discussion session which follows, a grizzled veteran in the front row opines that cabs should be equipped with sidewinder missiles to vaporize pedestrians. (Later, this same gentleman has to be roused from his slumbers in his cab, as he's half an hour late getting back from our lunch break.) After we're all reassembled at around 12 pm, we take a short quiz about traffic signs, hand over $2.45 to cover paper and printing costs, and are given our diplomas.

The following Tuesday I'm back in same room for the six-hour Continuing Education Class. This is a refresher course the city requires hacks to take every two years. Punctuality is just as optional as with the other class. We finally get going sometime around 1:30. The focus this time is more particular to cab-driving. Linda asks drivers to share. The usual complaints about rude customers, merciless cops, and lousy business pour out of my classmates. This kills a good 45 minutes before movie-time. The video was made in 2002 and takes place in Florida. The gist of it is that courtesy's at the core of our profession. All well and good, but when I ask Linda why a more up-to-date film can’t be shown, she explains that this one costs $300 a year to rent; to buy a new one would be even more. You’d think we were treated to a Hollywood spectacular rather than an amateurish industrial video.

After an hour meal break, Linda goes through a quick review of city regulations, geography, and a math problem in which we are asked to calculate mileage based on adding together city blocks and dividing by eight (it’s eight blocks to a mile). She does it all with humor if little enthusiasm; before taking over all the driver classes at Yellow, she worked in the dispatch room taking calls, so perhaps dealing with us is easier than talking to the clientele. She explains that we have a two-part test to take and need 80% on both halves in order to pass. I'm first to finish and out of there an hour and a half early.

Thursday my second Driver’s Safety session is a copy of the previous week’s with a couple exceptions: this time, an old geezer in the front row states that the reason he has to take this class is because he ran over a judge crossing the street downtown near the Daley Center (Miss Linda actually sits down to properly enjoy this story). Also, I'm handed someone else’s certificate at the end of class and wind up having to pedal my Schwinn some five miles back to retrieve the correct one.

That's two mornings and one afternoon of my life wasted for no good reason (aside from the sketches I managed of my fellow cabbies).

There's gotta be a better way to make sure that cab drivers follow the rules.

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Comments

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    Johnrick
    Driver
     1 month ago  (edited 1 month ago)

    Interesting story! As they say, age live, age learn. Learning is a complex process, and I think that as we slowly enter the era of artificial intelligence, Dune's prophecy seems to have come true. Nowadays, learning is becoming an increasingly complex process. And for students, a cheap essay writing service uk  has already been created, which makes it easier for them to work and study. The idea of Dune is gradually being realized in the real world, it's like a prophecy

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    CherieJ.Tong
     4 years ago

    Upgraded driving skills and customer service skills