Other than making money, and I mean, in relative terms, making lots of money, there is no absolutely no reason to drive taxi, as least in the long term, given the overall misery associated with this crazed occupation called driving a cab. Perhaps for a month or two, some might regard it as a great adventure, or maybe even as an astute observation post upon all human behavior, which taxi certainly is. And I do agree, taxi making a great subject for someone writing their PHD thesis in Applied Behavioral Psychology, knowing full well you will meet every kind of human inhabiting our planet.
But the cabbie's bottom-line must be, and has to be, the monetarily maximizing of every hour you are out upon the streets, the modern urban landscape your 24 hour ATM. Even in this Post-Uber/Lyft environment, there is good money to be made. How much depends on the given city plus your hours put in, and of course, the individual cabbie's ability to navigate the taxi maze.
And this is what this particular posting is, and designed to do, serving as an assist in the making of the money you truly deserve. As you know, you are working in the most dangerous workplace our planet knows, save an active battlefield of drawn bayonets, whizzing bullets and exploding bombs. Staying safe and making the money is our daily task and taxi motto, with a growl, with a smile but of course minus all predatory guile. We may bite but we aren't infectious!
How to Multiply the Taxi Dollar
To be a successful, money making cabbie, you first must have the requisite skills translating into a consummate professionalism. The professional cabbie is a special animal---part bloodhound, part wolverine, part owl, part lamb, part Saint Bernard, part hawk, part greyhound, part camel, part mule---yes, truly a species apart from the norm. We are all these intertwined animals and species because it is required, a shopping list of skills necessary in winning and solving that particular situation or problem. A good example is what happened Friday night when the Jamaican passenger going to Sea-Tac presented me with a $2000.00 cashier's check to pay his fare. I am not joking. How was I going to cash that? Yes, this actually happened, stranger than usual fiction.
Instead of getting angry, I took him him to the Renton, WA Money Tree, where he successfully cashed his check. Instead of an argument I got, including tip, $120.00 for my effort, both of us happy with the outcome. In my rookie years, I am afraid I might have responded differently. Clearly you must be ready for anything because anything will happen. You can depend on it.
Successful Components Composing the Professional Cabbie Personality
Everyday, be organized. What I mean by this, is to have a plan of action, where you are going to start working, and more, having a very good idea of just where the money is and will be upon that given day. A huge mistake many cabbies make is treating each day the same. While each day shares similarities, each day is nuanced, with individual twists and turns. So have a plan, but like the wise owl you must be, remain alert to the sounds emanating from the taxi forest. In short, know what you are doing even when you don't. What does that mean? It means welcome to taxi as I know it.
Part of that daily organization is knowing what is occurring that particular day, be it a big name rock concert or, if in a major city, when is the football game ending, meaning the easy money might be there as opposed to elsewhere. But the reverse can also be true, working where everyone else isn't, knowing there will customers in other parts of town seeking your services. This rule especially applies if you driving for a large taxi company like Seattle Yellow Cab offering 24/7 service throughout the city and county. But I have found that some events, like a UW Husky football game, is guaranteed money due to up to 73,000 rabid fans pouring out of the stadium. Start just before halftime and begin counting the money.
But what do you do when nothing at all is happening, and you are feeling crazier than normal? This is when you understand that the successful cabbie makes every attempt to remain "cool, calm and collected" in all and every situation confronting him/her regardless of what it may be. Taxi can "eat you alive" so the best approach is to remain patient, knowing everything will get better, perhaps in the next minute or hour or next day. Trying to "force the day" only leads to frustration and screaming at the sky, though therapeutic shouting can be effective as long as you are sitting alone and safely parked. If you need to go "nuts" for a moment, do it and then shift into "Buddhist-mode," enjoying the bliss of being alive! upon a rainy day.
Another part of making money is knowing your city and all the roads therein, enabling the shortest routes possible Point A to B, thus maximizing your time in the cab. Obvious, but the faster you get to the passenger in and to their destination translates into being vacant quicker for the next fare, explaining why I always help load and unload the groceries, luggage etc. Not only do I get exercise and bigger tips and simple appreciation, but by speeding up the process I am quicker on my way to where ever I might be going next. The lazy cabbie is a big dummy cabbie. Get outta the cab and move your butt, being helpful to all concerned.
Maintaining good habits assists in making money. Using your trip sheet to maintain a hourly running total is very helpful in keeping focused upon the bigger money-making picture. It is part of remaining alert to what you are doing. The cabbie standing around talking with their buddies is going to miss any bells coming through the system. It has happened to me more than I like to admit. Taxi is a stern mistress, kicking your ass when you aren't paying attention. Again, I know all about it, me the perfectly imperfectly cabbie, too often not taking my own advice. Yeah, me too the big dummy!
I could say more but tonight I am running out of time. I hope this series helps someone somewhere understand more fully the under appreciated craft that is driving a cab. Most don't know but we do, which is all that counts and matters, you and me and the millions of others driving cab upon our planet. Brothers and sisters, I salute you! Be brave! Be smart! Make money!
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