I started my first semester of graduate school this September and things are slowly moving along. Not really news worthy is it? Something I'm worrying about at the moment, however, is what the topic of my thesis will be. I've got several ideas and some real interests for field work but my advisor is about as helpful as an ice cube in December.

One of the things I'm interested in are unlicensed cabs, where the phenomenon occurs, who uses them, who drives them, how do they fit in within the culture of the cities they operate, etc. Tiefling or Strawberryfrog (I'm afraid I can't recall which handsome Brit it was), told me they are called mini cabs in the UK. Brooksmarlin tells me they are gypsy cabs where he is in Chicago, and here in Baltimore they go by hacks. Thanks to the wonders of the interweb I have learned that other names they go by are rogue cabs, vulture cabs and jitney as well. I'm curious about this Pittsbugh term jitney, and not just because there is an August Wilson play by the same name about an unlicensed cab driver as I learned from momomom. Why is it the terms commonly used for a licensed cab have been adopted as slang for unlicensed cabs? (jitney, hacks)

I may have to generate a node from my findings if this gets any more interesting.

My questions to you, good noders, are:
    Do they occur where you live (and where is that)?
    What are they called there?
    Have you ever used one?
    and Do you know someone who operates one
    - and whom might be open to an interview if I could afford a plane/train ticket to your location?

My email address is at the bottom of my homenode if you are able to answer any of these questions.

--No, I am not trying to get you to do my 'homework' for me. I'm trying to create a map of where unlicensed cabs occur and what they are called so I can determine the scope my research could take on instead of being limited to Baltimore.