Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Taxi Driving in Downtown St Petersburg, FL

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St Petersburg's thriving bar scene fuels cabbie wars

By Claire Wiseman,  Tampa Bay Times

It's a warm Friday night, a few minutes after 8, and Douglas Osterman-Burgess is maneuvering his cab around Red Mesa Cantina. He pulls up out front, on Third Street N, where a red and white sign says "Taxi Stand."

"Look at this," he exclaims. "I've been asking for this!"

The spot looks unremarkable but for him represents a victory. He says he has been "agitating" for this kind of change for three years. With extended bar hours and the ever-increasing lure of downtown, the city's entertainment district has turned into a taxicab battleground.

As patrons spill out at closing time, those who need a ride home might have to wait 45 minutes for a cab. Despite the demand, fights for fares often erupt.

"It gets very competitive," said St. Petersburg police Lt. Gary Dukeman, who oversees the downtown entertainment district at night.

Osterman-Burgess, 55, deals with it in part by reporting his fellow cabbies if they don't follow the rules.

From the driver's seat of his white and orange van, he sips from his 7-Eleven Big Gulp and points out the many ways cabbies break the rules. They don't bother to register. They steal fares. They park illegally.

"There are rules, people," he says. "If you don't like the rules, fight to get them changed.

The city extended bar hours until 3 a.m. in 2010, setting off an expansion of the downtown bar and club scene.

The city doesn't have taxi records back to that year, but in 2011, 573 taxicabs were registered to pick up and drop off within the city. So far this year, 549 have registered.

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  1. "The city doesn't have taxi records back to that year, but in 2011, 573 taxicabs were registered to pick up and drop off within the city. So far this year, 549 have registered."

    Ahww !!! so, there are 549 registered taxicabs in St Petersburg, city of 246k people.....? or one taxi per about 450 people and that includes kids, snow birds, homeless, etc
    Obviously, taxi competition in City of St Petersburg is getting though......... what next?

    1. that's when real companies come around like Lyft and Uber , pick up pieces and carry on............
      ......face it, everybody hates taxis and everybody loves Lyft and Uber
      So, what you gonna do about it?

  2. instead jumping to each other throat, I would suggest to come up with some kind of solution to self regulate this F%&%&* taxi market in St Petersburg, Florida

    1. hahaha, that's funny, self regulate taxi market in st petersburg, fl ?, tell me how is that possible?

    2. ok
      forget everything you know about taxi business
      forget about everything you have learned in last 10-15 years of driving a cab.....
      .....sorry, I've got to go, my pc is calling, they need to go to orlando airport......
      i'll get back to you

  3. I am planning a trip to Florida in the next month or two. I was going to rent a car but I might just get a cab now. I would like to ride in a luxury cab.
    Cynthia |

    1. honey, you are not coming to Florida, you just spamming for, for $1 an hour from Pakistan or Bangladesh