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WWL>Topics>>2-7-14 1:10pm Angela: on cab drivers

2-7-14 1:10pm Angela: on cab drivers

Feb 7, 2014|

Angela talks about the culture of cab drivers with cab drivers Otis Brown and Leanna Redmon, as well as Nawlins Cab owner Sheree Kerner.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well how -- it is Friday it is a beautiful Friday and we're gonna have a great weekend. Always like to start. We start our weekend with our open -- segment but we get to meet new friends in here about their lives and their thoughts on what's going on. And today it's three people who are offered the first face visitors city as they arrive in New Orleans. Were talking about cab drivers. Oldest brown has been cab driver for thirty years and has probably seen it all. Lee Redmond is glued to the taxi profession driving just the last two months. But she spent two years as a penny camp driver prior to joining the camp leaked. And we have Sherri turner who is the owner of moments -- She's 83 generation taxi company manager. But recently started her own. After being removed as president of the united cap and that the whole story that we're gonna get to later we're gonna start with. The life of -- And -- I got to start with you. Because after thirty years if you probably have seen at all. That's -- what got you going to be kept. Well personally first of all I was. I was wrong. I went to Missouri to pursue my -- career is electronic ignition and Arafat they actually and I. Resign came -- New Orleans started driving. At the airport. And then had decided -- -- to do that so how saudis to. Worked to avoid. Getting in the city -- McPherson number in about. 1985. Worked hard in Rome. And then Detmer holding camps in side driving in New Orleans. And you have blocked it. Without it. Why what is it about -- Is burying its amazing is this is insisting to meet people in and help people. Get from point me to point B is very interesting. I'm looking at Q have you ever gotten lost. -- the. -- -- -- and that they edit the EU's have to at the go with the flow is. And I knew where but it's is -- it means that with all the equipment that they but. The day when you started didn't exist called paper. To pull out and just okay. No -- carnage is feel my way around but now home. Would nor does he have with the with the new technology. It's it's a no brainer you don't have you don't have to. Think about it just pushed a button and it'd take kid to promenade push a button is taken to point B. And you just have to be differently cheerful person you more years and through. -- -- Like -- Can't camp but you -- the -- can yes and I've actually written one you know and oh yeah figured I think admiration for the big power. Eight here. And you're so tiny. That's in people's saying the bike. I can't say the bike and ride tells itself because you do feel the weight it's it's fitness training its weight resistance and Carty oath before working out and one of the toughest ride this from the superdome to Harris because. Anything going towards the river is appeal. And we like to get their eyes they're going out there and look you know of course we get stopped at traffic lights that its its pretty head. So all of a sudden you're making the leap to a car yes I actually think this is a really great move. This transition from -- camp to -- it's been amazing especially during the cold weather. Because there's been some times where. You know it's been so called I'll just -- him out with him on this please pray people will give it is again. But I think that differences. I liked people anyway and and hearing stories but -- -- people actually need this transportation and they want this transportation. There is a small percentage of people that actually need a -- -- so most of my job sharpen my skills. Sales deals and I think animals they convince people of something I didn't know they want and yet. So that's how I've paid my bills frontier -- As convincing and like you. Can get. And so it was pretty much around. Akerson around the -- around -- right. It still can be a long way it is I I would also often look at the skyline say how many times I go from Frenchman street to. -- -- -- Again the superdome nor the high it now. All the way back to. You know howling wolf and -- it's me and and conventions and so it in depth has a great work out and I didn't own -- gym membership for a the entire time and you've already clocked enough hours. But. You know when my husband liked to ride and we asked a short distance and we will what will be -- -- -- really anything on Friday but that's -- I'll add that into the driver and I know for me but my local clientele. And they support the business. I'll just say you know. Column via IP anyone in my -- -- yet he you know buy one get one free cute couple discount. It includes the elite package which is. Moonlight -- a little bitter romance you know and I usually get -- cases but. I just make it a special time in an environment when I am doing -- still hold both licenses for you know many -- and taxi cab. Which when the weather's you know nice I just spoke to the owner of that company who supports my transition because I've been with. He and one of the August drivers that he's had since he started that company. And what made you decide to well actually it this is gonna tell you the truth. I prayed a prayer about a year ago forgot to expand my borders my territory -- that Davis prayer. And when it was time to renew my handicap license. Most everyone else was renewed for two years and as -- what was one of the few that had a a penny camp license renewed for only one year a little design now I'm missing an up and you know in place that. -- -- renewing in one year. I had. You know everything in place to go transit to detect the cat so I renewed my license and then I met a valley driver if -- meet people in the business of hotels. And of -- You know gentleman says. You know I'm doing taxi -- now and I asked him for how do you like a compelling currencies of so he started -- what the process would be and I said I've just -- I've just a background check and all these things abuses. Just go get a letter and I vowed that what that was in before I knew I had this great company that once I expressed interest they said drivers one -- And you know they just kind of ushered me into it anyway it's a great sense of family and this company knowledge -- in particular it's been. From the start I felt like this is where the favorites and I think in like you should follow the favor you know he. I'm looking at both -- -- looking adds really another generation. -- a cabdriver and her enthusiasm as one is that the idea elite via his ability. And clearly with the personnel -- like that India and we appreciate it and yes endangerment. And how much do you think your job though really is. Public relations. It's a 50%. So you'll understand that and mean think the call you ambassadors that you are in Japan yes it. And you can really felt at home when you pick up somebody from the airport taken care of this is who we are only yeah. He has been very active. And have you ever habitable and look at those with and he's an atomic -- could not -- -- -- anybody making out new vaccine. Yes. -- -- -- -- -- You blushing yeah. I think -- -- that it is. Not a good. OK it's like will get to the room quick look at that that it. I have a house -- in my -- in the house -- just don't gain any on me. I can meet minimum. But. Anyway we're gonna take a break. We're gonna come back and we're gonna continue to talk about the life of cab drivers ever gonna talk to the woman who has worked in the -- industry's three generations. And now has started her own company. We'll be right back I'm Angela on WW. It's our Friday it's open Mike and we've got three people in the cab industry and I love talking to Otis brown and Rihanna Redmond. About their lives just cab drivers and we're gonna talk to deserves more -- a lot of questions for it. But we also Hampshire recurrent. Sure recurrent -- grandfather was a cab driver her father was too. And then her brother Billy joined the family business. While driving affair on May 27. Billy -- was murdered. And literally. The whole community mourned and that really cost you to become an activist that's exactly right it's basically gave me my call to action absolutely. I'm unbelievably sad not very beloved man. And it highlighted. The downside. Of being cab driver than it can be very dangerous yeah. And so you you just sort of picked up the slack and since we're gonna make it that. Yeah dot com. I have a technology background and even now I wasn't a driver now is always on the property over united -- And my brother would always you know depend on because he was a driver advocate and he truly wanted to make the lines of drivers that are. -- the day that he was martyred. And I went to the crime scene. I detective handed me a card my brother was a board member at the time. Akon eroded as a note to self and on the card. You know with my brother's body laying there on reading this and it says. If you allow your killer negating your camp where he drives -- to a destination where he will actually Q you. Just remember you could of pressed a button got help in three seconds in with voice dispatch it's impossible. So when he handed me that and I read that and the irony of seeing what had happened to him. It just. -- it was a big life changing event for me. I abandoned pretty much my technology company and I made it. Just mine focus to try to pick up his mission and help the drivers. Improve their lives so he saw that you know you're not gonna have time to to call for help. And that there's a button doesn't exist now. It does exist now. We have invented technology that we get ready to roll out that's much better that's what's in the cabs. There are some downsides to the technology in there but there's about four different panic buttons right now. That do exist so that way -- a driver gets in trouble you know he compress it and you know if everything's operational at that time. It will notify the dispatcher and let them know that that driver as you can see them you know it pops up a math in the united dispatch office. And we also have one on the radio. -- in Nam pressed on that and do an open mind. And I we've got something that we haven't recounts right now they just coincidentally am I'm thinking we may be an 88 -- timeline. That. -- actually wiring LoJack system to the batteries so it's on 24 by -- and even if he engines turned off we -- -- that have. And it's actually distress sensitive I'm not gonna say exactly what it is but it's distress sensitive. And it immediately notifies the entire taxi industry of the vehicle that's in distress and I've talked to. They share in Jefferson Parish and he's also gonna get these notifications and now. You know the I think the weak link is that you're depending on dispatch office to be staring at their computers CNET pop. And -- I don't think that's safe enough because I'm imagining my brother from across the Crescent City connection with a -- on his head. And you know of this if the dispatchers looking away from the screen at that time gonna take a smoke break at a -- you know I need something that's very dependable. And and this is so we'll go straight to the sheriff's office and they will roll it out to -- Squad cars and -- me and I think that's probably the this you know. The answer the answer while gasoline probably be very proud of him very -- and we call it the Billy alert. Well now sense. Have you been Otis in particular thirty years in a situation where. Red flags went up and you just sent this isn't good. By experience he uses -- then. Pay attention to. Who getting you can't her and that's very important. Not to choose pick up being. When you drive in on the street and you see someone. Yet to use you're really. It's senses likes mailed in and is is very important -- -- be careful who you pick out. Now I happen. I mean the worst happened to me when I was working in radio years ago. Takes someone into the price -- -- You know one would get out the car and then I'm not doing with traumatic with try to get out it and then you have no one constitute and come back to pay it back. But a situation like that -- that Inco. That's not realize now where now. You have as a driver you have the right to pick up anyone not -- period. In the debate. No that's not true where a well no that's not true -- no line you can be reported to the -- well you know that's correct picking on us the problem. That's something that is a very important thing for us is to lobby drivers' rights. Because drivers have no right that's that's a fan it in City Hall always Ayers with the passenger that's right and I mean you know it -- airlines like my brother. Let's say he refused that fair. He would've possibly gotten his permit revoked. But what. His situation was. The killer. Called and was waiting outside instead of coming out of the door so one of them one of the key things it's there's a few things as you look for. My brother just ignored it because it was 9 AM in the morning in the murders usually happen earlier in the earlier in the morning. And he he picked him up even though he could see the tattoos of the gang you know on the face. I think he just decided to let the guy get in the camp because of the time. Another thing that they do is they'll ask for deposits you know if they wanna go cross the river and they may ask for an -- Paz and and then they might find right there that you know it was a bogus deal anyway and then that way to campaign -- -- But if mom. That passenger reported down driver would we get punished for. Possibly lose in his career -- -- -- although it's gonna. Cameras all of that would be recorded so let's say your brother had said to him. I need to deposit to go across the river and the guy said no I don't have it in your by the sibling have to go out -- camp. That and the guy called sitting insanity kick me out he would he would reliable then or. Yeah I have drivers right now ban I don't feel word justly. Treated and they are now punished even though they're looking at the film in the film doesn't exactly say would happen. They still there on the side of the passenger. -- so it's. You know I I think one of the things that I have because -- actually taken the liberty of drafting an ordinance. That unless it's a felony and you know. That that they can't just. You know destroy somebody's livelihood. I know it's a difficult thing because. The public needs to be protected from bad drivers as well. You know me in the cab is a very intimate situation and you have two people really if you have somebody that's misbehaving. Both sides need to be protected. I definitely think the cameras. Our our very helpful you know they have found some. Very good situations where the driver was the culprit. But. All the law is written to protect the passengers there's nothing written to protect the driver and that needs to be done if that's what networking that's. VA at this point. The man is new to the heat and you know but I -- true to but but. If if person army is -- that -- camp is on the street. It is liable on the news if they supposed to pick up a passage here. -- the issues. -- sent in this really not right with the passengers. And then at that point that passed in -- Kahne Carl into the -- all in report -- By Kyrie was saying that passenger. The jobless right is very important. And we right and right now he picked up passengers. And she had an assistant -- I don't know seeing -- dog but it was a dog in. And -- other woodpecker. Driver picked -- Took her to her destination. We have on the trip -- -- -- -- after. She paid for which she calls in complains that. That the driver did drop her. Wouldn't take particular destination. So they revoked his arm -- is Herman Cain ticket. And he has to go now tomorrow to -- his video. All of the trip sheets and union data shows she actually paid for so now he has -- down time seeing. That when she reported I think the investigator didn't understand what she said. It was probably she was complaining about the drivers that would not take care. But it's still has caught mine to -- several days of down time now he's got to go out to line in east tomorrow. Have -- take. Day minicamp Friday and spent his Saturday. Proving again I think that he took the -- -- and and so and I say halls trying to do. In force with on the lines. And so if that's the case and we just need some more laws protect. We'll stay with us we're gonna continue this is a fascinating discussion really as you live in the world but not many of the snow. And and there's a lot of time -- we're gonna have some laughs as -- -- here's some great things that happened to you as well stick with us we're gonna take a break we're gonna go to. The newsroom and personal. It is Friday it is open Mike and we're talking to people in the taxi cab business -- brown -- Redmond both drivers -- for thirty years. -- and a a rookie in a -- and pushes it had a cab driver for two years and that is not to be diminished. And Sri crooner who has. But in the business third generation. And it started her own company called Collins kept. Learning a lot about. Sort of that the business of an and the rules and regulations. Of driving camp. -- -- -- you. Rutherford that point and they commercial about. Being a woman. And you just have to be alert right all the time right and so. Driving the petty cab was sort of like going to college. Yes I think it was a great prelude to taxi -- because I guess that I was. I was very green I am and I even my mom says I I've always given people the benefit of it out when I meet them but. Many people have told me you have to be aware of all of your surroundings and petty -- you're on a bicycle people are. You have a transaction that goes on and people are watching you so just to be aware. And honestly some of my good instincts have been sharpened because. It's if I had a customer that. You know was intoxicated after a certain kind of an item parting on Bergen or they. They say they wanna get they wanna take a ride all the way to say -- circle or the gas station over there or to the Greyhound bus station near the post office. I I know ahead of time those are a lot of isolated dark streets where it's just myself and that customer. And there's only so much I can do with my back to them pedaling so. Using my instincts have been able to I think escape some situations. That could have caused -- be super for honorable and when I took that street smarts from being in the petty kept throughout the French Quarter. You know I'd bring it to taxi -- business and it's I think it's been a blessing to me because even though we take all the customers we still can. Talk to people with grace and even if they were up to no good when they got in your -- try to. Connect with people to make them feel appreciated for their business and if they don't have the money here you know this one's on me I would rather not dig into my change bucket. And let them get the ride for just the flat fee of five dollars than say no I don't -- break you know they wanna give me more of a -- let's say. I'm telling you you know give that to someone else you know so. Just being cautious. You you know that there's the other stuff I'm gonna play via the adversary I got into the airport a month ago my husband and I arrived late. And down. I'm a man I sensed I didn't like OK I just sense from the get go. His attitude didn't and we got in the car and of course you lineups so there was this is the one you're resigned right. Wouldn't put the luggage in that thing which bothered me and my husband was nice and I'll do it and driving. Nine miles an hour on the I ten. And I knew if I set anything that was and make it worse she decides it needs to get to the home. I and do the luggage again -- and there was and I said you know what. I'm gonna turn this -- I didn't do it only out of -- concern but life goes on in the -- but this man I'm telling you. Should not be behind the wheel of rock and should definitely not being an ambassador for hindering him and I'm thinking I'm local I get beaten but. For somebody coming in from Dubuque. That really is their first impressions on -- and you know I think that it taught me. That I'll never again not do it I'll never again not not everybody and that's apparent if you're at professional standards but think -- you all to hear everything you wanted to can't drive and. Thank you what helped me and this column about knowledge can't century. She's such a down earth lost in an -- he also makes me feel safe because when he works -- overnight hours of something -- about having him on the other side of that radio if I need him. But I had a lot of people tell me that they enjoy my cat expert I don't know what other people experience. But they'll some echoes proposals they will worries that some I think when you go can. I -- not have gotten about how apparently. And it will -- -- -- -- if they've been in the city for a while house able can't let -- a little guessing game the chance to double my tip. And you know how that name it caught -- -- -- -- NFL team. In the -- and AFL team they get the saints they get the elegant but they don't get the -- A foot volley well. You know I -- it. Make. It fun and and just be an ambassador in and you as an opportunity because if you like that's in your car. You know question yeah -- a marketing professor which I did recently. And he recommended to me think books. And retired army and and we keep a lot of my customers and so I know whose local and who may becoming an -- and family to meet later. And will tax. My customers text me its -- if you make it to destinations they go -- at the airport and they do. And it's like they -- -- take pictures -- me and economic have hugging my customers. Just think -- And acknowledge this it's a new orleans' experience. Today. I don't know Arlen is working on me like that in Korea you could each of course is yeah really. You know. It's as some of the drivers that. Could meal oh wait -- -- or. Or -- you know that's one thing I think we do need to -- City Hall -- -- it's been very painful process of to the reform plan. I think we're going through a period where that you know the year trying to professional lines the industry. Which when my dad was driving was nothing but professionals you know at a news and you streets like to back there yes Adrian needed GPS. But the way the market has turned out in the way inheritance has worked with the CPC numbers. People have equity in the business or disconnected from the service and that just runs down the service. So I think what City Hall has done. Is healthy but painful process -- I think we're probably gonna start attracting people that haven't considered being a taxi driver before. And that's what we what we really need to do. It kind of turned into like a second chance industry where people that had a hard line. Maybe came from jail or you know had problems with drugs. It was you know it's it's a comparable. Job because you can -- issues when you wanna work. But because of the new requirements that we have it's not open to certain people anymore than -- have those kind of problems in their background. So I think that it it it's healthy and I think that this is a great industry in the hands you know winning in just like all of these things hearing about picking up. You know and being in the France. You know when you say early in the front of front windows C and a -- of of this culture and it's like being in a movie I mean defensive driving seeing how used to drive before you took the defensive boards and before you know it was their livelihood. And from everything from pedestrians to just festivals and I mean you're right there in the front seat and we deal with that. I'm not gonna -- yeah not. It and in a lot of fun and many of the other things -- I wanted to mention because. -- I think I would have become a taxicab driver sooner. But in the Akamai had a thought there's so many an -- that's just what the world needs right Lamar taxi driver in a -- but honestly when I get a customer. I think about. It's me. They can -- in any -- -- but I'm here when they need. A somebody and and I guess they did and there's enough to go around for everybody there's enough for petty cab drivers there's enough for the that tourists with the that the annual. But he's in there's enough. A business for all the -- that we don't have to be cut throat and we can just you know we missed that load you know make you'll get another. So -- -- I didn't think it's gone it's about attitude and 100 yeah. And as always that you need is really really is how do you think another and we will be back and we're continuing our tong with taxi drones and -- -- Otis roundly and a Redmond our guest cab drivers and sure re coroner owner of the new camp company -- camps. Talking about the life of cab drivers and is certainly more complex I think than any of us thought it isn't just taking someone from hated me it is the whole Bailiwick. And it's also very dangerous and I think at that point needed to be made as well. Let's go to one of our callers Jerry. -- And that's what kind. Arguably. Can't twenty plus years as today. And -- -- arrangement. -- computerized dispatching. Them panic buttons. Of most my -- -- -- people locker dispatcher and an open mind. That would not -- -- -- eight net realized there's that you can results I'm pregnant Mary. But it will -- Well you know what you you're right that it is very important for the driver to understand just like Otis did about -- and gut feelings. But the technology. And you know not only -- dispatched to put the safety aspect of it absolutely will help drivers. Stay alive. One of the things that I think is important that you know what I wanna try to do. Is I wanted to change the image of my hands to be more like squad cars where people don't protest squad car they're having not ill intention. If they approach one of my -- they're not gonna wanna get in line. The point. Okay thanks -- for call and I appreciated. -- the city did you brought up -- the city did go through -- very very controversial and I remember seeing that the whole lot City Council filled with cab drivers who didn't wanna make the changes as quickly as the council wanted. But to the -- to the person -- the public is and can't look at. I gotta tell you. You need to have a decent car yeah it can't be falling apart you need air conditioning. And you to have the ability to give the credit card -- -- think this seems so basic to the average Joseph out there was like what is the argument and you know at. That's been the problem I think with the industry -- they have been centered on customers' service they've been trying to increase their margins by decreasing costs -- its regulated. You know we can't raise prices and -- did you cut your costs so it ended up getting to where at least -- -- And dated together you know to operate by. Technology brings efficiency you know it's an upfront costs by. It's just something that we have to bear because that is the way people want to -- -- -- -- in -- technology when there's -- new car -- new technology. And the convenience. Like we do have a people want to order camp through -- you know they don't wanna have to caucus now. You know now instead of fun even -- which we have a nice little jingle Warner our topic would sit there and wait for that unity just point that out right now. So whatever we can do have facilitated. That's going to be the one that's the leader in the market you know so. I'm very very pleased with and everything at City Hall is done and I wanna go beyond those expectations. You know I get excited about technologies. You know give me on art tablet now and I happy. I'm gonna go back because I know that that we could talk all day about the business and at that but it's the human and and that's you all who are behind that wheel. -- -- telling him and all the people out there. You have to find pleasure in working with people. Otherwise why are you doing because. -- mean yes it's about money but it's a career -- and and to have the attitude of you know what I'm I'm gonna enjoy this day. And they get an idiot in the backseat but I'm not gonna be. And as a threat. And I think gratitude for your job you know it helps and I know where I got this from I just know that I know what it's like to not work. And I know what it's like to work and I like working -- and so when you take their gratitude it's another day and some customers have won it takes me every day at work is my regular. And he'll sail it's -- day. You look at it you know it's overcast could be a good golf day you know -- and it. You know except for the -- but he you take that attitude for the job and and that people. It's like this is your opportunity to meet someone that you would not ordinarily. They may have a message for you that you don't know and you just listen you just because you you fill your customer they need to sit and work. On some things on their route or are they open to listening to -- or or even to your thoughts about -- something that's going on in the news. And I have learned so much about. So many things just opening up people like because there's. And wisdom you know it's like deep waters and in some -- and can draw those waters of wisdom out and I wanna get all my messages that are intended for me and if they're coming through the cab you know for that's little snippet of time and my car. I'm grateful and when they leave it you know they can become a part of a regular clientele great if not they're still going to be connected with -- drivers because this is but the company's. But you know also. Conversely I think at some of the greatest conversation my life with. Can -- -- -- -- insightful and are knowledgeable and they know everything about the city -- Kenyans which is great. That senses of humor that you know you don't want to miss that opportunity. I -- I gave it tip from the why it's which can be sufficient. Now. The only difference between the good days in a bad day if -- too conservative and it's OK and I know that. A driver would feel safer driving New Orleans camp. Oppose a driving West Bank it. It's the same day on the other side. No cameras Knowles security. So. City how would it be deal. So in Jefferson pictures saying they don't have West -- in -- looking. Well good for you and you are the Frontline people have beaten. Yeah it is a big deal and safety is a big deal and and again. In that the tragedy of what you went through losing your brother. And all of his friends and I am. Horrendous. An all too often in the news that's what we hear. You all are delightful I can't thank you enough. On -- I don't know when I tell us what -- and very. Okay. Remind me I want everybody to stay with us we're gonna continue the next hour with what's happening in our community stay with it's I'm Angela on -- anyway. And today I really enjoyed. Listening to those cab drivers they have quite a life and there's tremendous benefits of being cab driver and yet there's and we talked about the danger factor too. But it's a good way to get to know somebody talked to that cab driver and have fun with the situation. I'll stay with this because our little Ian -- going to be here -- are going to be talking about everything that's happening this weekend and there's a ton of stuff. -- hope you'll stay with this now let's go to the newsroom -- yes it is Chris Miller.

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