Monday, September 9, 2013

Get a Cab, Grand Rapids

We all know that drinking and driving is a dangerous habit. And in a city like ours where the beer flows both strong and deliciously (as does the liquor and wine), I would think that fewer people would be willing to get behind the wheel after emptying their glasses for the night. But from what I've seen, cab usage is rather minimal. Walking isn't rather common either, at least not downtown. People who live in Grand Rapids proper need to understand that our city is not that large, that you can easily walk, ride, or bicycle Grand Rapids both to and from any establishments within the Heartside neighborhood. Even in the winter, your feet are a viable option that can get you where you need to go. If you're feeling cold, quit complaining and take advantage of the Skywalk that runs from DeVos Place to Van Andel Arena--trust me, it'll provide at least some respite from the cold.

But back to the topic at hand: nixing these options when alcohol has been consumed. C'mon people! It might be a little more time-consuming to hoof it back home if you live in a nearby neighborhood like Heritage Hill, East Hills, Eastown, anywhere west of the Grand River, or in GVSU housing but at least you're not putting yourself, your friends, and any other drivers, bikers, or pedestrians at risk. Still, some people would rather not walk, would rather have their vehicle with them--this is when the option of a designated driver becomes an obvious matter. But let's be honest: Few friends want to be left out of the libation celebration, especially if the friends that are drinking are a) extremely fun or b) extremely annoying when they've had a few.

Victorious cab driver is victorious (or angry?). | Source: CNN
Since no one wants to be the DD, it looks like we've come back to cabs and their lacking usage in Grand Rapids. Excluding Ionia Avenue on the weekends, cabs are a rare sight. I imagine that trolling for fares in areas that have an attraction--e.g. Ionia and its many bars on the weekend--is the only legitimate way for a cabbie to get a decent night's pay. So, some people are definitely taking advantage of the cabs when they should be, but this is only a fraction of the market. Too many people are still getting behind the wheel for a number of reasons: they might think that a cab is too expensive or they could be too proud to admit that they are drunk. Get over it! The cost of a DUI in addition to the damage that could be done to a number of parties should be enough to convince both your wallet and your ego to think again about taxis.

If I want to get a taxi, I have to call one of the handful of companies in the city: Yellow Cab, Metro Cab, and Calder City Taxi are my usual choices. Just the other night, I had one of the best cab rides of my life; that's saying something, considering I've belted Celine Dion with my friends and a driver on one occasion. This recent driver though, he didn't sing. Instead, he said that McFadden's was terrible (he was preaching to the choir) and then we proceeded to talk about George Carlin, Noam Chomsky, linguistics, and Mensa--the world's oldest high IQ society. He was a funny man named Scott and he gave me his card. Looks like I'll be calling him whenever I need a ride now because he saved me and my friends from a drunken stumble home.