Public Subsidized Debauchery or Good Public Policy?
I began my new career last night as a cabbie. No tears, please. It's not a step down from the classroom in terms of salary, and it's a lot less stress than teaching. But that's not what I came here to talk about.
Santa Fe has an interesting program which is subsidized by taxpayers. It's called Safe Ride. The city will pay for your cab on Friday and Saturday nights after a five dollar deductible for any ride within the city limits. The only rule is that you can't use the service to hop from one bar to another. The idea is to keep drunks off the road by subsidizing their transportation. Sounds innocuous enough, right? Before we answer the question, let me tell you about my first night on the job.
The night began with all traffic inbound from hotels and neighborhoods to bars and clubs. Things changed around 11:00 PM when bartenders and bouncers began calling us for service. My first call turned out to be a pair of drunken old broads in their sixties. Aside from the stench (all drunks reek after a binge) they were compliant and they tipped well. My second fare consisted of rowdy college kids. I had to use my classroom voice to quiet them down and they stiffed me. As the night proceeded my passengers became increasingly inebriated. I turned down one fare when the client decided to have a chunder in the gutter before boarding. Not in my cab, buddy, you're on your own. By the end of the night my riders were fully debauched. On my last run a young "lady" attempted to perform a carnal maneuver on her boyfriend. I told them to stay belted or I would drop them on the side of the road and eat the fare.
Drunks are nasty, obnoxious, and malodorous. So, are we encouraging debauchery or providing a valuable service in the name of public safety? I don't think there's any right or wrong answer. What say you, brothers and sisters?
BTW, I won't be working the drunk shift again. It's daytime driving for me from here on.