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Independent Professional Driver with a local 35 year old transportation company in St. Pete Beach….Bats Taxi & Town Car
They are the bane of impatient motorists and are responsible for thousands of road rage incidents across the globe.
Now the humble traffic light has been honoured with a Google Doodle to celebrate its 101st Anniversary on Wednesday:
Google’s traffic light doodle
The first ever traffic lights were unveiled in London in the late 19th century, and placed outside the Houses of Parliament.
Non-electric and gas-operated, police officers had to work the lights by hand in a bid to control vehicles crossing on nearby Bridge Street, Great George Street and Parliament Street.
The project was short-lived after an explosion in 1869 when a leak in gas lines passing under the device exploded, and seriously injured the police officer operating the lights.
More than thirty years later an American enjoyed greater success with some electronic lights that focused on a similar – and now internationally recognisable – system of red and green lights.
Vienna replaced pedestrian traffic light figures with gay couples
Lester Wire, a former detective in Salt Lake City, came up with the revolutionary idea in 1912, and traffic lights began springing up across the United States shortly after.
He was not the only American to come up with the idea. Garrett Morgan, an inventor from Ohio, vowed to improve traffic safety after witnessing a serious accident on the roads.
He applied for a patent for a man-powered traffic control device using a crank in 1922, but his invention is said to have never reached the prototype stage.
The west German city of Dortmund introduced ‘green women’ pedestrian traffic lights in bid to redress sexism
It has been speculated that local authorites were relucant to invest in a man-powered set of traffic signals because it would require cities to hire someone to staff it all day – whereas the emergent electric lights seemed far cheaper in comparison.
The doodle depicts the world’s first electric traffic light to be installed and put into major use in Clevland, Ohio, on August 5 1914.
Placed on the corner of Euclid Avenue and East 105th Street, it would have been a chaotic affair, with bicycles and cars as well as horses competing for domination of the road.
Doodle illustrator Nate Swinehart said that he did not include the yellow light outlining as they were not introduced until later to regulate the traffic more effectively.
In 1920 bells were added to traffic light systems to alert motorists when the lights were about to change – they were later replaced with the amber light now seen on all traffic light systems today.
VJ celebrations in Oxford Circus in London, 1945 (PA)
It wasn’t until 1990 that countdown timers were introduced, allowing pedestrians to judge whether there is enough time for them to cross the road before the lights turn red.
Perhaps the most impressive traffic light specimen ever to be unleashed on the world’s streets was the Traffic Light Tree, created by French sculptor Pierre Vivant in 1998.
The imposing eight-metre tall tree consists of 75 sets of lights and has become a favourite spot for tourists in London.
These days, traffic lights are highly sophisticated, incorporating special light symbols for bikes, trams and buses. Some also feature signals that are interruptible, giving priority to emergency vehicles via transmitters that send radio waves, infrared signals, or strobe light signals that are received by a sensor on or near the traffic lights.
While most countries have become dependent on traffic lights over the decades, some places are happy to do without them. In Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, a huge intersection runs smoothly without a single traffic light.
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OK, so you are getting ready to go out to dinner
Or maybe to the airport for a fun trip to Europe
Or maybe simply for a night out on the town
As you get into the car that is picking you up….would you like to know that the driver is a “professional?”
Or does it matter if the driver is simply a “casual” driver who thought to themselves one day…..”I can do this” and signed up and put their own personal car on the road.
Remember….you have hired this car and driver for transportation and you are paying for it.
Your intention was not to hire a technology service.
One of the ride-share companies out there states that they……”are a technology company, not a transportation service.” This is so they can avoid proper licensing.
Hmmmmmm……so what is the mindset there….do they really care about your transportation and safety?
Please look closely at the photo above of the Executive Towncar I drive for BATS. You will see displayed 3 stickers on the rear windshield showing the licensing for our service area. This is important.
In our area here in Pinellas County and Hillsborough County FL, if you do not see these stickers, then the car you hired is not licensed. In our area, If the driver does not or cannot present to you their badge from the City of St. Petersburg for Pinellas County showing they are licensed and had their background checked by the St. Petersburg Police and/or their badge from the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission showing his/her Public Vehicle Drivers License and therefore having their level 2 background checked and approved by the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Department……
Then simply……they are not licensed and approved. Period.
First, let me say that I understand and realize that there are many professional drivers now driving for ride-share companies. However, there are also very many “casual” drivers doing the same.
My worry here is that the “casual” driver may not know what they are getting themselves into. Especially in real busy markets.
You need to know the road so to speak. The ins and outs, where the problems usually develop and what areas to avoid because they are heavy potentials for problems on the roads.
Professionals drive the roads every day…..professionally.
There is a different “mindset” to the professional driver opposed to the “casual” driver.
I am not saying that a professional driver is perfect, we all are human. I also am not saying that a “background check” makes a perfect driver either.
What I am saying is that both of those do increase your odds of being safe and having a pleasant ride.
In addition, with a “professional” driver you typically have more accountability and honestly that is the best feature for you the passengers safety.
Also, please keep this in mind…..
The local public transit commissions have inspections for a purpose….one of those is to ensure the transportation companies…the ones who are properly licensed that is….are safe. If they do not show their certified mechanics inspection they do not receive their permit sticker and they do not go on the road. Period.
If you are hiring a car service that is much cheaper than anyone else….what do you think that means?
It means that driver who owns that car…his/her personal car is also making less money, in many cases much less money. The driver needs to make an income. Isn’t it ok if he/she makes a decent income? Or would you like them to barely be squeaking by?
THAT…makes it difficult for that driver to keep their car up to par.
You took that service because they were cheaper…..what do you think that driver is going to do when he/she gets money in their bank? Put food on the table and pay their rent….or maintain their car?
My bottom line here is…go with and ride with anyone you choose of course…anyone who fits your needs.
But remember, you are handing them the keys to you and your families, friends or clients safety.
Hire and go with a professional
Thank you, Lance Greene
Professional Driver for BATS Taxi & Towncar Service, St. Pete Beach FL
****The opinions here are of mine only and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of BATS Taxi & Towncar Service.
***What makes me a professional you are asking? Ohhhh yes I can hear you asking it now…:)
I have been a taxi driver in 2 different states, a taxi owner, a stretch limousine company driver/owner, tractor-trailer/lowboy driver hauling heavy construction machinery across 5 states, a city bus operator as a mechanic, and a school bus driver for special needs kids and now a driver with BATS for almost one year here in Florida. I am 55. I have driven professionally most of my adult life.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
First. There is nothing wrong with Taxis and there is nothing wrong with Towncars
Taxi’s provide a valuable, legitimate service and Towncars provide the extra level of service
BOTH are very needed and sought after
If you are used to taking a taxi at Taxi prices and then find yourself in a Towncar you need to understand that you “should” pay the Towncar price
However there are many times when the Towncar service might say….”Ok, we will give you the Taxi rate”
When this occurs you are asking the Towncar driver and the company to lessen his or hers income….
In order to keep both great drivers and great cars on the street the income is necessary
Isn’t that what you want?