Real downtowns have cab drivers who pull over when you hail them. You know, NY, SF, Chicago - grown up cities. But downtown L.A. is just so .... Topeka. Downtown News reporter Richard Guzman figured he would try out the city's new Hail-a-Taxi program that allows cabbies to pick up passengers in red zones or other no-loading areas. Sounds easy, right? Not right.
After 30 minutes, I felt like a stood-up prom date. I was about to try my luck at a different corner when I saw a small yellow blob coming my way. Yes, it was a cab, it was empty, and it would be mine. For some reason, my heart started beating a little faster. I was nervous, anxious, and I felt a little awkward, just like prom. As the cab approached, I smiled, raised my arm, made eye contact and waved with my index finger in the air, just like Perry's foam hand. The driver slowed, looked me directly in the eye with his passenger window rolled down, but as I started to say, "Can I get a ride?" he drove on, without saying a word. I tried to rationalize the snub; maybe he was on his lunch break or going to pick up another fare. But this happened again with two cabs that came by about 15 minutes later, although the last guy at least had the courtesy to wave back at me.