This Columnist Has Driven It All: Uber, Lyft and Now a Cab

A lively weekly dispatch from the streets of San Francisco.

IDriveSFLogoWe were not familiar with the writings of Kelly Dessaint until we landed over the weekend on “Jesus Died for Somebody’s Sins, But Not Mine.” Dessaint’s latest weekly “I Drive SF” column for the San Francisco Examiner relates his experiences with someone who vomited in the back of his for-hire vehicle.

Dessaint, after moving from Los Angeles to the Bay Area, did the ride-hail thing for a while and now relates his experiences as a licensed taxi cab driver. He also published a pair of 99-cent 2014 eBooks about his experiences with Uber and Lyft (Behind the Wheel, Behind the Wheel 2).

Perusing the “I Drive SF” archive, which dates back to the summer of 2015, we were intrigued by his Dec. 4, 2015 entry. In that one, Dessaint writes about a ride involving a prostitute and a young businessman, and the latter’s concern after his companion exits the cab that he could get arrested for the pair’s imminent hotel assignation:

“So I’m safe from the police?” he asks.

“Man, the cops don’t do shit around here except harass homeless people.” I go on to list off all the sex workers I deal with in a cab: the trans hookers on Post Street, the dancers at the Gold Club with their regular clients who pay for college tuitions and new cars, the girls prowling DJ clubs looking for unsuspecting tech kids and the sleazy drive-thru action on Capp Street. Then there are the strip clubs and massage parlors, where cab drivers get a finder’s fee for steering customers. I even point out how they tried to pass a proposition in 2008 to decriminalize prostitution in The City — and it was barely defeated.

It’s a lively column. Even when the topic is the first ticket racked up by Dessaint while on duty as a cab driver, a painful $490 red-light camera infraction.