In Seattle, Taxi Drivers Go to Charm School

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 11: Taxi drivers and their supporters stage a small rally and partial road blockage a day before the start of the World Cup tournament as drivers protest Uber, a U.S. car service which allows people to summon rides with their cell phone on June 11, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There are reports that indicate protests against the government will continue throughout World Cup play by those unhappy with the billions of dollars that the country spent on preparing for the World Cup when they feel their are so many other places they would have liked the government to spend the money. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Taxi drivers around the world have protested against services like Uber. A protest in Brazil is shown here.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Many taxi drivers across the world have reacted to the perceived encroachment on their industry by services like Uber by causing traffic jams and honking their horns in protest—which does not, on its face, seem like a great way to gain sympathy.

In Seattle, though, cabbies are taking a more...well, you probably can’t call it proactive approach, but it’s a step in the right direction.

KOMO News in Seattle reports 130 cab drivers went to four-hour charm classes this week. More classes are expected.

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While Uber is often lauded for being easier to use than calling a cab, and its prices are sometimes lower than traditional taxi services, consumers have also criticized the customer service of taxi drivers compared to Uber drivers. (There are exceptions, of course.)

Maybe Boston drivers could take the same sort of customer service initiative. But it’s worth noting that Seattle recently reached a deal with Uber that makes the controversial service legal, with some regulation—and, notably, an increase in the number of taxi licenses in the city. So the Seattle situation sounds a little bit more like cabbies getting with the program.