You know the old saying: "It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive"? Well, that's literally true when you're dining out in San Francisco and relying on taxi service. Forget about the cab being on time, most of the time you just hope it shows up at all.
My husband and I MUNI'd for a few years, but door-to-door, the travel time was sometimes over an hour when the restaurant was only ten minutes away by car. We have our own car, but parking is a nightmare in some neighborhoods and we enjoy wine with dinner. There are enough drunk drivers careering around the streets of San Francisco, we don't need to add to them.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but when you call a cab company and they tell you they're sending a cab your way, you've entered into an agreement. They've agreed to send you something, and you've agreed to wait. And wait. And wait. AND WAIT!
It's gotten so bad that after we call a cab, we now look at the clock and estimate how long we'll wait before we try to hail one off the street or call another company.
For us, the worst cab offenders have been Luxor and Yellow Cab. They're both equally horrible, and by the time we finally weaned ourselves off of both companies, we had lost count how many times we had called for cabs that never showed up. We lost count of how many times we paced around the sidewalk outside our building, straining through the dark to find the muted light on top of a car roof. We lost count of how many times we called the cab company back to ask where the HELL our promised cab was only to be met with a busy signal over and over and over and OVER again!
We've also lost count of how many times we've had to call sympathetic hosts and hostesses and push our reservation by 15, 40, 60 minutes. Another time, we weren't so lucky and we lost our reservation and our dinner. We had Luxor to thank for completely ruining a night out we had been anticipating for weeks.
Of course now, some restaurants have even started instituting a grace period. If you don't show up, say, within 15 minutes of your original reservation time, you risk losing the reservation entirely. I don't blame the restaurants for this policy, because just like ordering a cab, a reservation is an agreement. A contract. A promise to show up when you said you would show up.
Why don't the cab companies understand this?