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Taxi questions for travel in the bay area...

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Taxi questions for travel in the bay area...

Is is easy to just 'hail' a cab? What are the odds they will be on time if we call to schedule a pick up? Will they even agree to schedule shorter routes...say a $7 or $8 dollar fare?

Relying on public transportation will sometimes leave us with arrival 30 minutes too early for our scheduled activity. If the weather is nice of course we'll walk the shorter routes, but when it is really cold and windy in the evening that is not at all appealing!

Thanks!

San Francisco
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1. Re: Taxi questions for travel in the bay area...

It depends where you are. Downtown it isn't too hard to hail a cab or there is likely to be a cab stand close enough to walk (Hyatt Regency in the Financial District and St. Francis hotel at Union Square). Around any of the large hotels you can usually snag one that's letting people off.

In the neighborhoods it's a different story. Calling for one in GG Park, for example, usually means a wait of 10-20 minutes. And if it's raining, forget it.

I don't believe cabs are allowed NOT to take you. But don't ask, get in, give the address and sit back like you're ready to go. (BTW, it's best to give the street and cross street rather than the street number.)

However, your phrase "relying on public transportation will sometimes leave us with arrival 30 minutes too early" makes me wonder if you're aren't reading the bus schedules like they're the Bible. With traffic, etc. it's nearly impossible for the buses to run exact to schedule. Best to look at the frequency on the line (say every 10 minutes) and then get out your smartphone and keep an eye on www.nextmuni.com or use an app like Muni Watch.

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2. Re: Taxi questions for travel in the bay area...

And thanks yet again! I will download the Muni Watch app for my Android. For some reason the google maps would only give the option to choose an on-the-hour time and then list only a couple of stops in the early part of the hour. I'll just stick to nextmuni.com or use the app. Great tip!

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Taxi questions for travel in the bay area...

I think you might be using google maps incorrectly. It works the same on a mobile device as it does on the web. See this example: http://goo.gl/maps/c9XRX

You just put in where you'd like to go (in my example I used Union Square to Fisherman's Wharf. You choose public transit. You use the menu items to select when you'd like to either leave or arrive. I chose arrive by 1pm. And Google spits out the various transit options available.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: Taxi questions for travel in the bay area...

Unless you use Bart, or a line only runs once an hour or similarly infrequently then any scheduled times Google gives you will be off. Bart is pretty good about sticking close to their schedule, but muni doesn't except on infrequent lines.

Most busy lines run once every few minutes during rush hour times to every 15 minutes or so in the evenings or on weekends.

I would really just pay attention to frequency which you can discover through the kinds of apps mentioned earlier (or on the back of the printed muni map). I use one called "wait for it" on android which doesn't do planning, but predicts the next arrival times for vehicles. All these apps use the nextbus data from muni so their next arrival times will be similar. Some have trip planners built in, or you can use Google maps to plan, but usually their times for the far future are not accurate since muni doesn't stick to an exact schedule.

San Francisco, Ca
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5. Re: Taxi questions for travel in the bay area...

During the day, or on weekday nights, if you're downtown it is fairly easy to flag a cab. Rush hour, weekend nights, outside of downtown or rain -- fugeddaboudit! I've seen cab line waits at major hotels of 45 minutes on rainy Saturday nights at dinner time. Cabs won't take advance reservations from hotels, but may from a private residence. However, the times I've "booked" a cab, they've never shown up. (I don't think they actually reserve a cab for you... they simply automatically put out the call prior to the appointed time.)

There is a new cab app called FlyWheel, although I haven't tried it out yet. There are also the apps Uber (which does on the spot booking for the nearest town car) and Lyft (?) which is "peer-to-peer ride sharing" or some such euphemism for an illegal cab.

Edited to add that Fisherman's Wharf is one of the hardest spots downtown to get a cab. There are stands at Pier 39 and the Argonaut Hotel, but it's frequently hard to find a cab there.

Edited: 3:19 am, February 10, 2013
Melbourne, Florida
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6. Re: Taxi questions for travel in the bay area...

cabs are everywhere - we had no problem getting one while we were there!

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7. Re: Taxi questions for travel in the bay area...

A hardy thanks folks! I'll check out all the apps. What did we ever do without smartphones?! I realized what I was doing wrong with Google maps...the drop down offered on-the-hour, it was not until I tried manually changing the time to anything in between that I realized I'd been doing it wrong the whole time! Must be getting old....Google maps is quite useful for choosing routes and preferred method of travel, however I will follow your kind advice about frequency and forget exact timing.

8. Re: Taxi questions for travel in the bay area...

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