Taxi driver... most people look at us as a necessary evil, an anonymous confidante, a rip-off artist, a target. Very rarely someone you really want to get to know beyond the parameters of get me from here to there in a timely and most cost efficient manner.
Taxi drivers, cabbies or hacks as they are called, are probably one of the most known and filmed professions in the world: Taxi Driver, Taxi, Cash Cab, Taxi Cab Confessions, to name but a few.
Being a taxi driver is also one of the most dangerous professions in the world. Police and firemen have tools to combat their dangers, have back-up, and know pretty much going in what they are facing. Ever see a policeperson giving out a summons? There are always at least 2 police cars at the scene, plus they have guns, tasers, dogs etc. Firefighters go with all the modern equipment and a full compliment of fellow firefighters. Cabbies go into the worst areas 24/7 armed with only their gut and some common sense.
People think nothing of calling more than one taxi company and take the first taxi that arrives. Believe me, soon you will not be able to get a taxi at all, because we do share these things with the other cab companies and you will be put on a do not send list. It's a no-class move!
Oh yes, if you don't know how to answer a phone with a proper "hello" when I call to let you know that I have gotten your call, I will not be coming to get you. You'll get "sorry wrong number." If you don't know how to answer a phone like a real person perhaps that will lead to problems and I have enough of those already! You don't have to sound like you're elated to hear from me, but come on...is it so hard to say "hello" clearly?
Here is another piece of advice for all you cab users out there. When you call for a taxi, be ready for a taxi. The dispatcher will always tell you it will be 20 minutes, which actually means between NOW and 20 minutes. So don't go jumping into the shower. A cab could be right around the corner and will be there slightly after you put down your phone.
Also be prepared for the driver to call you to let you know they got your call and to confirm the address and to find out where you are if they don't know where your address is. This is very important especially to those of you who live in gated communities, because they generally have shit lighting and signage.
I also call to see what I'm dealing with and if you sound like potential trouble I will always err on the side of caution, because the cosmic balance sheet just ain't worth your money to me!
I understand that times are hard now for people. They sure as hell are for me - business is down at least 40 percent from when I started back in late 2005.
But you have to realize that a taxi is a service and a tip is therefore involved. That being said it is something that should be earned - the better the service, the better the tip and unless the service is truly undeserving, then a tip of some sort is a common practice.
I have had customers ask for four cents back. Come on - if your money is so tight then you really should take a bus or better, walk. Your tip doesn't have to be big, mind you. Anything above the fare+tax will be appreciated.
And please try if you can to not pay with a $20 for a call less than $10. It's not like we're a store that has large amounts of change on hand.
Oh, and when it comes to credit/debit cards, I know at times they seem easier. But just so you know and if you care, we (drivers) get charged 5 percent on all charges by the owner, so figure that into your payment calculations.
All that being said, I truly do enjoy driving a taxi and enjoy most of my interactions with the people I drive to wherever they need to go. I have made some good friends out of my customers and have some regulars that I always look forward to see.
'Til next time may all your cab rides be good ones!