There has been a long time issue of people who are seeking a cab having difficulties of telling whether a cab is occupied or not by the top light. The top light is the light on the top of the cab which says "taxi". If the light is on then the cab is usually available unless the driver is going to a radio or dispatch call. If the light is off The driver has someone inside the cab called a fare. I had to drive a cab for two weeks in a row until I could get the cab company to fix this light. The cab was written up to the cab company, but nothing was done because alot of times the cab company does not want to lose revenue for a taxi being off the streets.
The public seldom sees this perspective because no one talks or writes about it. The driver has no control of the mechanical issues related to the cab when a driver rents the taxi as a gates and gas driver. The cab company is responsible for repairs for gates and gas drivers. Currently there is no where for the driver to turn to when a cab is acting up whether it be lights, brakes, fumes, or anything that might be defective with the cab. The driver is at the mercy of the cab company which may or may not fix the cab.Cab Drivers need the public's help with cabs that are in poor condition. If a person sees a cab which has a bad odor or defective in anyway, they can report it on the 311 line.
The person seeing the issue can dial 311 on their cell phone and take the cab number off the side of the cab and report it 24 hours a day. The same hold true if the passenger in a taxi has an issue with the driver speeding, or car smelling like pot, or any other issue they might have with the driver.
In San Francisco people throw things at the cab sometimes breaking windshields or side windows because the public in San Francisco does not understand that there might be a problem with the top light. In the future folks please call 311 and report the cab number to the dispatch. Maybe by doing this the city will do something to ensure the cabs on the city streets are kept up and in safe working condition. After all, the city of San Francisco gets alot of money from the cab industry and does not give much back to the industry.