Monday, September 19, 2011

How Not to Drive Taxi & The Other Side of it: A Quick Taxi Manual

Something of the utmost importance when attempting to make money driving a taxi: patience.  This brief description clearly illustrating why it literally does not pay to freak out. 

I pull myself out of bed Sunday morning and find myself with a short fare ($15.00 with tip) just going to a bar in Ballard.  Being now just across the Ballard Bridge from the cruise ship action down on Pier 91 I direct 478 over there and immediately get a fare heading downtown.  Pulling into 1800 Yale I notice three woman frantically waving me down.  I unload the the very pleasant couple from San Clemente, California ( another $15.00 with tip) and toss the three and all their luggage into the cab and off we go to the airport.

What happened to them was one driver's loss and an other's gain.  The previous taxi had the best fare possible, picking up in one location downtown, then taking the folks to their local hotel and once the luggage is loaded, off you go to Sea-Tac.  The driver appeared to make three crucial errors.

Once at the hotel he put the meter on hold.  You don't do that because the ride is a continuation fare, so keep the meter running because things happen, like the three pleasant ladies having difficultly retrieving their luggage.

His second error was to freak out once they got back to the taxi.  Having grown frustrated, he then refused to take them to airport, essentially kicking them out of the taxi when a cooler (and wiser) head would have just continued on and put that $50-60.00 in his pocket.

The third error was not reading his customers properly.  As I told them it was obvious to me that they would have compensated the driver for the unwarranted delay.  Of course was their response.

As for this driver I from the beginning just  kept driving from the moment I first got back into 478, taking the short fares, remaining positive and, lo & behold, I pick up the previous driver's mess and end up with $40.00 with tip from them and a $70.00 total hour.  My best hour of the shift came later when  I totaled $71.00.

As I inferred, patience in this crazy business pays off.  Lose your mind and there goes the money down the taxi tube!

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