Archive for March, 2010


DK’s Taxi Cab Chronicles (from 3/30/10).

When it rains it pours.  The money that is.  It’s a love/hate relationship driving in the rain for sure.  On the one hand, you’ll get people who’d normally walk 5-10 blocks hop in a cab and be willing to pay $6 or so to stay drier.  On the other hand…as awful as people driving here are, they become 10 times worse when it rains so you gotta be HELLA careful.  For example, I was turnin on 55th street at 1st avenue and from what I saw, someone had gotten hit by a car…I believe by a gypsy cab.  Hope the dude was okay.

The Art of Gettin “Nigg’d”:  Rather than saying that I’m gettin Jew’d out of my money because to be fair they tip well; this goes out to my fellow “bruthaz n sistuhz”.  I pick up this young black couple on 52nd and 7th and they goin to Penn Station.  They ask me immediately how much it’s gonna cost.  Man I don’t know I haven’t even turned the meter on but it won’t cost more than $7.  Then the chick asks me why don’t cabbies pick up black people.  Expected, so I briefly get into it and they know the answers too. moment.  Then she asks if the cash cab actually exists.  IT’S ON TV SO YES ha.  $5.90 ride to Penn Station.  I get $6.  I got nigg’d once again.  Oh the irony.

The Twilight Zone:  I get it.  You tell me to drop you off on 9th avenue and 14th street.  I arrive there and you’re just starin at me like you got hypnotized.  “9th and 14th right?”  “Yeah I guess.”  God help me.

Grinding My Gears:  These 2 tourist broads who I had no idea what on God’s green earth they were saying get in and I just tell them “Look, you got the hotel information?” They were tellin me about some hotel.  It sounded like E.T garble.  The fare came out to $7.10 and I get $7.25.  Don’t even bother ha…but I mean tourists don’t really know what the deal with paying is so you can’t get too mad about it.

I had to go to Brooklyn FOUR times today.  I don’t know what it is lately with my cab.  Three trips to Williamsburg and one trip to Brooklyn Heights.  I don’t mind that too much especially on a Tuesday night but that has got to be a record especially cosidering I only had 15 or so trips today.

I saw an Indian-Asian couple and picked them up.  From a tipping perspective that is NYC’s worst nightmare.  I only got 30 cents from a $6.70 ride.  Probably explains why a cabbie passed them.

This one broad somewhat confused me.  If you’re going to Grand Street & Lorimer Street in Williamsburg…why would you hail a cab from the 1st avenue L train station?  Lorimer Street if I’m not mistaken is 2 or 3 stops away.  Oh well if you wanna give me $17 after tip that’s on you ha.

I love my blonde chicks that get in.  This one I pick up on Delancey and Orchard streets and she wants to go to “3rd and 3rd…I mean 33rd and 3rd blah yes that’s it…tongue-twister.”  Umm, not really ha I understand havin to say three a lot can have a Daffy Duck-esque effect on speech but e-nun-ci-ate.  I laughed at her for about 5 seconds before moving on and she discusses the weather zzzz.  Typical “ugh when will this rain stoppppp” kinda deal & she asks me how it has been driving in it.  It’s really not that bad though, the rain has been mainly drizzle.  She just moved from Austin in January so she’s slowly becoming acquainted to the whole NYC deal.  I tell her I’m goin to Texas in 3 weeks and she gets all excited about it…tellin me about the Austin Rodeo and guys in tight jeans & cowboy boots.  Young DK doesn’t care about cowboys.  Them, Dallas Cowboys, Cowboys & Indians the only cows I care about are the ones that produce cheese.  She tipped well.

Total: $9.20
Chick: “Can I get $11…um no oops…can I just get $7 back?”
Mind of DK: Heh heh heh damn right woman.

The person who probably had me rollin the most was this ex-marine who got on at Broadway & Houston.  He tells me “Yeah I saw that cab creepin to the side of you if he had pulled up I woulda told him to go fuck himself  & got in your cab anyway.  You don’t play that kinda shit.”  LMFAOOO I love this guy.  We talk for a bit before he talks to I guess his girlfriend.  He’s hella infatuated with this chick.  He had to had said I love you/I miss you a combined 7 or 8 times.  Aww isn’t that sweet is probably what you’re thinking.  It made me do The People’s Eyebrow.  I’m guessin he is hella determined to be with this woman.  Not Ms. Lewinsky.  I woulda banged Ms. Lewinsky by the way.  Okay DK enough.

My final passenger of the day was this David Spade lookin muh fuh who hails me like he’s tryin to flap a wing.  Told yall Yuppiesburg cats are weird.  Knew from jump that’s where he wanted to go and take him there.  “Make a left at the light” I do that and then I figured I had to make an immediate right.  I didn’t do this though because he didn’t tell me to.  “UGH YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO TURN RIGHT AHH…go straight.” You didn’t tell me this bruh.  “I said make a left then a right.”  In what world?  Wayne’s World?  Anyway I go straight, hit Metropolitan Avenue and Union Avenue and we end up there anyway.  I tell him “And it works out anyway how about that?”  Silence.  He snatches the receipt from my hand like I’m supposed to think he’s really David Spade.  The fuck home you clown ha.

Special Wednesday evening edition of the Taxi Cab Chronicles 445pm EDT because I’m takin off on Thursday.  NIT Championship Game (don’t judge me..UNC is in it) and my first Karaoke night performance in a month at Nevada Smith’s.  And so on.


Before I Charged People For My Taxi Services…

Man it almost feels like yesterday when I passed my road test on the first try & got my license at 17 around the end of my junior year.  At the time it was a pretty big deal…you ain’t gotta take the bus to and from school anymore and this was clutch because it would take about an hour to get to school taking 2 buses- but if I drove i cut that time by 2/3rds.   But anyone who has been in this position knows that with this comes the stragglers.


Don’t get me wrong I was proud of this fact & should have seen this coming all along…but when you hold the key to something that most people don’t have…you’re gonna show off a bit.  Of course I told my boys who actually were cool with me & lived closeby…but word gets around in high school fast.  Next thing I see people who I’d normally give daps to and talk to on occasion suddenly askin me all types of questions.  “What you doin after school?  Yo what’s your number dawg?  You got a place for me in the whip?”  The thing about me was that I was never an ass and could never say no.  It was just ingrained in my personality and it wasn’t as if I was this dork who suddenly had people left and right becoming buddy buddy with me.  Like I said, I was cool with most of these people already but they just wanted to get a bit closer I suppose.  For their gain, sure.  I believed at the time maybe this good karma would come back to me later on.

I had this one kid though who literally came out of nowhere.  I knew him in elementary school and he lived close to me back in the day…but once I left in the 6th grade I hadn’t had contact with him in five or so years.  He went to a rival school and since they were an all-boys school, some of them would come down here & try to holla at the broads here.  To this day I remember distinctly how phone convos would go with him:
Me: Yo
Him: Jayson.
*5 second pause*
Him: Can I get a ride?

The only reason why I did was because I was goin in his general direction but it was as if people began revolving their schedules around me.  If I went to the gym, ppl would kill time and when I got out they’d be waitin there ha.  If I had detention for being late sometimes..same deal.  It was pretty scary.

Then in my vain attempt to woo the ladies, I would sometimes offer them rides back to their houses since they lived close by school (Bayside, Whitestone and shit).  It didn’t really work SMH.  Then again when you had went to an all boys school from 6th-9th grades you have a lot of catchin up in the holla game to do.

Giving rides to people back then wasn’t such a big deal because hey, gas was just under $2/gallon back then.  To fill up my Toyota 4Runner only cost about $25 or so and I only had to do it weekly.  The rides would be entertaining, blastin Dipset, D-Block, or whatever mixtapes I decided to buy from my bootlegger around the block.  I packed in the car like a buncha Mexicans and God-willing I never got into an accident nor got a ticket during all of these shenanigans.

And then senior year came, everyone got their licenses and those same people who leaned on me when they were not strong were able to push my shoulder off.  The one time I requested a ride from someone who I frequently gave rides to…he told me “my car is full.”  Fuck.

Driving around everywhere with my boys & those who used me for rides have helped me become who I am today.  I’m naturally comfortable when 5-6 people whom I don’t know cram into the van and I can take them to their destination without a hitch.  I became even better with directions (though don’t ask me about the Bronx ha) and hey, I learned that  people will only ride your coattails for so long until you are no longer of use to them.

Peep the poll question of the (first half of the) week.  And so on.


DK’s Taxi Cab Chronicles (from 3/28/10).

Today was atypical from my normal routine.  I did get a late start certainly (I got to JFK at 5:15pm) but it was atypical in that I only had three trips the entire shift.  They were all JFK trips as well and the terminals I went to were…1, 2 and 3 though not in that order.  The trips in themselves were snoozefests I’d rather watch Bob Ross’ “The Joy of Painting” including watchin his paint dry than get into those so I’m gonna do something a bit different:

Only thing worth a damn: My first trip the Spanish (Spain-ish) couple were goin to Manhattan on Washington Street & 13th street…but the dispatcher gave me one of those “shortie” tickets anyway.  So after dropping them off I rushed back to JFK…only for that shit to be balls to the wall packed.  Kinda like Webster Hall’s hip hop room minus the smell of wet pussy & human gas emissions.  I didn’t make it within the 90 minutes so I was initially hella tight; but they took it anyway given the massive volume just to get inside the lot.  Full of win.

License plate of the day: “XBADBOYX” on some yellow race car type joint.  That kinda shit I thought was reserved for 13-17 year old kids and their AIM screennames?  I mean, I’m a Toys R Us kid too but that is pathetic I’m sorry.

Store of the day:  Although this was last night I didn’t get to mention this.  When I dropped of this Asian broad in Prospect Park, on 495 Flatbush Avenue there’s a store called Phat Albert Warehouse.  I wish I was not jokin.  Google it for yourself because I have nothing further to add.  I didn’t come here to talk about the past.

Why do people:  Hold on to the straps for dear life in the back of my cab sometimes?  I don’t get it, you’re sitting down.  This ain’t the subway nor a ride on 6 flags.  Or are you practicing this for bedroom purposes?  DK, calm down.  Anyway this has flummoxed me so if someone can answer this concisely I will appreciate it.

One of these days I want to:  When you hail a cab you usually do so by having your arm up in the air as if you’re a 12 year old chick tryin to touch Justin Bieber and be One Less Lonely Girl.  Some people hail like bitches but that’s not the premise of this.  Anyway I feel like one night just drivin past someone who hails for a cab and slappin them back a High Five.  This probably won’t work though if I’m doin 20mph+ or so.

My three favorite radio personalities that come on: DJ Kay Slay (Sundays 9-10pm, Thursdays Midnight-2am, the last Saturday of every month Midnight-4am); Real Talk w/ Peter Rosenberg (Sundays Midnight-2am) and DJ Mister Cee (though i usually don’t catch him).  Funkmaster Flex talks way too much ha but the Caucasian Nation loves what he spins when he actually does shut up.

I’m off on Mondays so no actual chronicles…though I do have something cooked up for yall anyway so don’t fret.  And so on.


DK’s Taxi Cab Chronicles (from 3/27/10).

This was one hell of a tough Saturday night for me…mainly because there wasn’t much in the way of humor so I ended up very disappointed.  It didn’t help that most of the people I picked up were hella lame and I had to make random excursions out of Manhattan at critical junctures of the night.

The Showdown:  I was on Broadway and 33rd street when all I see is this Asian broad tryin to get out of this Indian dude’s cab but he’s blockin her from doing so.  All in the while, he’s on his cell phone probably callin the police?  Anyway she starts kickin him and he grabs her by the arm while she’s tryin to go and shit.  I don’t know if it had to do with her not having enough money or not wantin to pay…but that was one hella odd situation.

Euro-Trip:  This Portuguese girl named Raquel gets on around the Meatpacking (No Homo) District and tells me she wants to go back towards her hotel but changes her mind and wants to go out to a bar nearby there.  Here’s the thing about young Raquel though: she’s wearing jeans & sneakers and thinks that’s gonna get her somewhere on a Saturday night in the MPD.  HELL NO HA.  She’s from Portugal so I get it but dear God ha.  Anyway I go on this mini scavenger hunt to try and find this chick a bar to go to around Penn Station at this 1am time.  I settle on the one on 33rd between 5th and Broadway (can’t remember its name).  We talked for a bit about how she loves California because of the driving, etc nothin interestin at all.  I thought about parkin my cab somewhere & gettin her drunk so I can play DD but devious DK didn’t creep up.

What is with:  This new phenomenon of people livin out in Prospect Park?  I understand trees grow in Brooklyn but fuck.  It’s a nice area don’t get it twisted and it’s nice on the wallet (I got 2 rides of $30 and $25 respectively) but they’re effin annoyin on Saturday nights because of my turnaround without any passengers.

DK’s CAB-Ulary: Flat Rate- If for some random ass reason a customer wants to go anywhere outside of the 5 boros, Nassau or Westchester counties…then you agree on a flat fare that they will pay.  No surcharges, no toll, nothing.  After my SECOND trip of the night to Prospect Park;  I’m on Bowery and around East 3rd street.  My eyes were set on these 4 snowflakes ready to cause a blizzard warning in my cab.  Unfortunately for me, I see an Asian dude right before them.  First come first serve right?  Sigh.  Anyhow he just tells me “Lincoln Tunnel. I give you $50+tip=$60 deal?”  I was initially flummoxed but agreed to it.  I liked how he gave me directions twice ha (example- “Make a right at the light.” then 5 seconds later “At the light make a right please”).  This dude takes me to Woodridge which is on Route 17 whatever the fuck that means.  Thank God I knew the way back pretty well, thanks to my Adidas travels.

The rejection:  After that trip, I was done…or so I figured.  I was gettin back onto the Queensboro Bridge because it was now 4am but I decide fuck it, I’m gonna pick up this dude who looks like he’s tryin to get to Queens (and I was right..he was goin to the Sunnyside section).  He gives me $12 on a $9.50 trip which was pretty dope and then I had a decision.  These 2 broads were hailing a cab on 46th and Queens Blvd.  and normally I’d just let them in without a hitch.  But I really wanted to go home so I asked them where they were goin.  “25th ave and 43rd street Astoria.”  I thought about it for 4 seconds before I told them that I was goin East back home.  Did I feel bad?  I actually did but in this business…you never try to push the envelope for your safety.

It might just be me: When I see someone simply tip a dollar after a $10+ ride I’m not sure why it grinds my gears so much but it does.  It just looks tacky.  I try to envision a bartender givin me 3 shots of Patron and after all of that I leave a dollar on the counter top.  Asians do this to me a lot.  Didn’t they invent the abacus?  Aba-recount your shit.

Shit I overheard: “She’s the kind of girl who wants to still be best friends with her exes like best friends forever.  She still sees one of her exes everyday and has joint custody with him with a dog.”  Mind you this broad that couple was talkin about has a boyfriend.  How the fuck would that make you feel?

Why me?: This lady who’s all grateful that she found a cab is takin me to some Broadway show. FELA I believe.  We get into this conversation about freedom of speech and how she believes that it’s increasing; while I believe that it is too…but it’s a struggle against this censorship but right now we’re winning because we have strength in numbers.  Then she goes on to talk about how 9/11 was preplanned and all this controversial shit.  This is the 2nd time in as many days since I’ve watched the Obama Deception.

Some baboon broad with a green wig cut me off for no reason while having this discussion…and when I cut to the other lane she cut me off again.

This ain’t a grocery store: NO YOU CANNOT PAY WITH 2 CREDIT CARDS WHAT THE FUCK?? This chick asks me if she can pay her portion of the cab now and then when the ride is over her friend can pay for the other portion.  In theory it makes sense.  Not all theories however are cared for.

I know it’s cold but…is it THAT SERIOUS that you have to take a cab from 3rd avenue and 16th street to 2nd avenue & 14th street?  Then is it serious again to take one from 14th and 2nd to 5th and 2nd?  At the end of the day those 2 trips combined got me $13 but dear God.

Blonde Moment: This blonde broad (duh) after paying for my cab just walks out without closing the door.  Keeping traditions alive.

When will they learn?: Whiteboy Wasted gets in my cab and is goin to 34th and 1st.  I drop him off there and AS I’M PULLIN INTO THE NEAR LEFT CORNER he’s tryin to tell me that he’s on the far right corner.  Nope, not with 4 lanes…walk it out boy.  I was crusin down 8th street off-yellow cab and he asks me “where are you takin me?” CROSSTOWN TO 1ST AVE SO YOU CAN CRASH & SEE HOW YOU PROBABLY SPENT $50 ON 4 DRINKS JACKASS.

Taste of your own medicine: I was on 71st street between Broadway & West End Avenue where this guy was trying to park.  These 2 black dudes tho try and steal this spot though which leads to the M.D gettin out of the cab.  I don’t know what they were arguing about but all I see is the M.D dude pull out a badge and say “BLACK-AW”.  I am not joking.  I was in tears for 20 seconds.

Why are some women’s voices so deep?  Not necessarily manly because they have the feminine tone and I know they have breasts & vaginas but just curious.

I think this broad and a tranny were tryin to hail a cab and they got the one right before mine.  God is good.

That’s it for today.  Pretty frustrated even though I made my goal for the day.  Sunday 430pm EDT begins another tale.  And so on.


DK’s Taxi Cab Chronicles (from 3/26/10).

High-pressure Fridays.  For me, these days are the most unpredictable because although people do go out…this is more of the natives’ night out.  Bridge & Tunnel night is tomorrow night and that is a guaranteed mess but anyhow:

The sleepyhead: This chink gets on at 46th and Park and is going to Worth Street between Broadway and Lafayette.  Now check it, I understand it’s a longish ride (it came out to almost $14) and if you want to catch a quick ZZZ that’s all good but your ass better be awake by the time I pull to your stop.  I don’t wanna have to scream “YO!” ha.  And don’t fool me muh fucka you were NOT meditating.

Why I pick up hood-lookin folk: These spanish dudes get in my cab on 85th and Broadway.  Now by the way they were dressed & shit you’d think that they’d be the typical cats that would go somewhere deep and then pay but barely tip.  They were headed to SoHo Billiards on Houston and Mulberry which is pretty damn far ($15).  On the way there we see this crackhead I think he was scratchin his belly & dancin or some shit I don’t know.  Clayton Biggums woulda lost a danceoff with this fool.  I overhear one of the fellas in the cab talk about gettin into a fight at Starbucks with a 60 year old big black dude.  Shades of the “Ambalamps” youtube pop in my head but I ain’t sayin nothin ha.  I get there blastin Funk Flex of course (per request) and my tip on the credit card is…$5.10.  Whoa.  Then the dude gives me an additional $4.  “Best cab driver in the city” is what him & his boys tell me.  Ha.

Buck the Trend: These black folk tipped me $2 on an $8 ride.

I can’t hear you:  “6th street between Avenue C and D” is what I thought I heard.  What she claims to have said, “6th street between Avenue C and B.”  Miss, your ABC’s are wrong.  But I let it slide because she tipped $4 on a $16.

Only in Manhattan:  A dude in a black bow-tie and his fiancee (I’m guessing because she had mentioned “you’re about to get married to me”) dressed up hella nice to go to the Waldrof-Astoria, yet gettin in a yellow cab.  As did quite a few other people.  Remind me next time to have a spare roll of red carpet in the trunk.  She reeked of golddigger status though.

You snooze you lose:  These Indian ppl were about to get in my cab but they were waiting for one of the women’s husbands to come from across the street.  He was trying to hail a cab too.  These two asian chicks ask if I’m free and I say well…um yeah yall ready?  Peel off.  Time is money.  Did I feel bad?  For 2.8 seconds.  2.8 seconds is an eternity in basketball but in this concrete jungle…it don’t mean shit.

Spot of the Day:  This dude who I found out went to NYU also told me about Crocodile Lounge (14th between 1st and 2nd ave) and supposedly if you buy a $4 beer…you get a free mini-pizza.  I don’t know how much truth there is to this, though.  He claims it’s all day everyday.

Question of the Day:  This dude talks about how he owns a cat.  What dude do you know that owns a cat?  He says that being a cat owner seems to be a turn-off for most girls because they prefer dogs.  My question is whether this is Fact or Fiction.

DK’s Bordello:  This black chick & white dude with an intense makeout session.  I couldn’t have cared less.  GO GET EM WHITEY!  Their friend was sitting in the front and he decided since I took the Times Square route to where they needed to go to take his camera out & snap photos.  He’s from Pennsylvania so I told him the story about the guy there that tried reviving a possum on the road.  Then we passed Madison Square Garden.  He asked me if that’s a place where they have gardens & plants and whatnot.  I am not joking.  He was not joking either.  He said he doesn’t follow sports which pretty much cut the convo.

Biting my tongue:  I picked up this chick and I told her the LES area is a hot mess.  Yeah, that whole Essex/Ludlow/Stanton/Rivington hodgepodge.  She was upset about how they try to act all exclusive and rude and she didn’t like that shit.  Word to that.  Then she started talkin about political shit & the healthcare bill.  NOOOOO!  See, my thing is that after watching The Obama Deception that shit opened my eyes to a TON of stuff…but I had to let her rock the convo and besides…POLITICS AT 1AM ON A FRIDAY NIGHT??  I’m good.  Sweet girl yes but just the wrong time.

Really?:  I wonder what possesses people to take cabs from East Village to Sunset Park out in Brooklyn ($27) but if it comes in my pocket…whatever.  And I wouldn’t trust the subways either at 230AM.

Clutch moments in passenger history:
Me- 88th and Riverside?  Yall want to take the RFK Bridge or the Queensboro?
Passenger- I find the RFK to usually be quicker.
*30 minutes later*

Smart man.

Somewhat of a disappointin evening in regards to entertainment but that should change tomorrow night beginning at 415pm EDT.  And so on


DK’s Taxi Cab Chronicles (from 3/25/10).

Long-haul Thursdays once again lived up to its name. My average trip was over $20/trip. I’m proud of people’s tipping today it seems as though slowly the kool-aid is getting to their brains. There weren’t that many interesting characters but here are today’s highlights:

Clown of the Day: I had to drop someone off at the God forsaken Webster Hall (more on this in a bit) and so I was gettin ready to make the turn onto 4th avenue & look for some parking so I can eat. These two asian dudes drunk as shit get in and they have two stops. One to 5th and 19th street and the other…to “Sound Factory”. WTF?? Sound Factory?? I was perplexed for the hottest minute bc I could have sworn it was closed. Then I remembered that it’s now called Pacha. This was a disaster though:
1) One of the dudes hasth the illesth lispth.
2) Why would you go to a club like Pacha by yourself?
3) I didn’t know the exact address and when I ask him he goes on a yes, no, I don’t know, can you repeat the question type shit like the Malcolm in the Middle theme song.
4) He bet me $2 that 11th avenue was a one-way street. WRONG.
5) He tells me to “turn my radio the fuck off”. Big mistake. I let him slide a bit but his direction giving is terrible.

So I dropped him off a block away and his ride was $12.30. “How much should I give you??” Um, at least $12.30 was my answer and he throws me a $20. He asks me if I want to come with him. Nah…you good, get your glowsticks & fistpump your damn self.

The Reality Check: I pick up the aforementioned black dude and he takes me to Webster Hall. The fare is $9.50 and he gives me a $10. He tells me to keep the change (yeah no shit) but then he pauses…and gives me an additional dollar. Good man. He was meetin up with his girl at Webster Hall. Why would you do that…ask Jeeves. He complains there’s too many youngins and they would need to know what to do without him speakin in order for him to pay attention to him.

Say What??: I got a shortie ticket to return back to JFK since on my first trip I went to Mill Basin out in Brooklyn. This spanish guy tells me to take him to “Wuudhavin Mertyell Cuuper” Rewind. “Mertyell avenue” The Fuck. Forget it I’ll figure it out. I do ultimately figure it out…because I’m just that damn nice.

Who asked you?: “Can you take me to 89th between Columbus & Amsterdam and take Central Park West please thanks.” STOP IT WITH THE THANKS SHIT. “Turn here on 89th.” MY BLINKER WAS ON FROM 88TH. “Go past Columbus and it’s on the next block.” SINCE WHEN WERE YOU A FUCKIN TOM-TOM GPS?? He did tip me well though but dear God that was annoying.

Try again: This chick & her friend went to The Gin Mill on Amsterdam btw 81st and 82nd streets because for Cornell students and alum they were giving them half-off drinks for their game today. She rocked her Cornell hat. Cornell didn’t do much else.

I feel you son: I pick up this black dude and he gives me the vaguest destination I’ve heard yet “29th street”. 29th and what? 7th? 5th? Broadway? 9th? “Yeah 9th sounds good”. Unsurprisingly he tells me to turn it up (I’m listenin to Power 105 this time because Funk Flex was talkin too much) and he asks me my opinion of Lil Wayne. Simply put: the man makes no sense…however, he’s a beast on mixtapes I cannot lie. The dude gets bonus points for being a Drake hater and wonderin “who the fuck is he?” His 80 cent tip I let slide.

Overhearing people argue in my cab isn’t even entertaining sometimes. White people’s arguments are hella passive-agressive I’ve noticed. “I’m not going here then!” “Fine!” “Fine!” Hmph.

How wacked out were my trips today? Here were some of them:
1) JFK-Mill Basin in Brooklyn (Exit 11N off the Belt)
2) JFK-Middle Village
3) Lincoln Center-Downtown Brooklyn
4) East Village-Williamsburg-Long Island City
5) Times Square-Flushing Meadows

Good cash, but threw me completely out of whack. Friday at 430pm EDT begins another episode but until then. And so on.


It’s a Hard Knock Life.

Now, don’t get it twisted…this doesn’t apply to every cab driver out there but it DOES apply to most.  Cabbies here in NYC get a horrible rap for being notoriously rude, trying to deceive customers every now and then, and driving like mad men.  What many people don’t know however is what they are up against.

I’m one of the lucky ones who happens to have their own cab with my dad & his best friend being partners and co-medallion owners.  Because of this, I’m able to schedule my own hours and keep a great deal of the money that I make.  The only issues I have to deal with are paying the MTA surcharge, EZ-Pass (if applicable) and paying a certain amount per week for workers’ comp and helping to finish paying off the entire medallion.  However, the vast majority of cab drivers work for garages who have tons of cabs/medallions.  In these cases it becomes a crapshoot.  You can either work a 4am-4pm shift or work a 4pm-4am shift.  Typically the evening shifts are more popular amongst drivers because more money can be had…but with that it usually costs more to rent a cab for that night.  You also aren’t even guaranteed to begin work on time just in case a cab isn’t available.  Not to mention you never know what type of condition your cab is going to be.  Oh, and did I mention that these fleets will take out even more money from you if you return the cab late or without the tank being 100% full?  The ONLY advantage with driving for a garage that I know of is that you have zero liability if the cab fails on you during your shift or if you get into an accident.

So let’s say on a Saturday night I make a gross total of $400 (which is EASILY possible provided you don’t get taken too far out of your way at key junctures).  If I worked for a garage and they charged $225 to have it for that night; then $30-35 to refill the tank (it’s not gonna go to E but still); then on top of that the MTA surcharges and if the customer pays via credit card…that 5% being taken away…I’m really left with $125 for a 12 hour shift- or a little over $10/hour dealing with all that stress.  Keep in mind though that if you’re a newer driver, preference for weekend night shifts are given to more experienced drivers so there’s NO guarantee that you’ll even be able to drive a Saturday night; you may get a random Monday night where it’s much cheaper (probably $125) but you also make less too (maybe $200-$225).  Not a good look.  In efforts to try to recoup some of these losses this is what cabbies will do:

1) Say the credit card machine is defective.  I was in a cab the other night where the machine wasn’t workin so I could only pay with cash.  Personally I don’t know if the drivers themselves can tinker with it or not so where it doesn’t work because that god forsaken Eyewitness News shit wasn’t working…but it’s a hassle if you only got a CC. Worst part was that I told the dude to drop me off on the corner of 7th and 31st near the Chase Bank but instead the tard drops me off at Capital One.  I ended up dealin with a $2.75 ATM fee from Capital One AND a $2 free from Chase just so the guy could get the $10 from me.  I could have been an ass & not tip him at all but I did anyway.

2) Not turn on the meter on a JFK-Manhattan ride.  The cabbie will tell the passengers that they can only pay by cash and it will be $45+tip+toll ahead of time.  In effect this also helps them avoid having to collect that extra 50 cents for the MTA surcharge. If they have to take the Triboro (RFK) Bridge or Midtown Tunnel (I mean who really takes the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel??) they’ll just go to the cash line rather than use the EZ-Pass.  The $45 flat rate is an advantage to the customer though because if it was via Rate 1…you know for sure cabbies would do anything in their power to take the long way especially to customers who’d be oblivious.

3) The whole Rate 4 controversy. Rate 4 is the rate that you’re supposed to charge only when you leave the city limits heading into Nassau or Westchester counties.  At that point, it becomes 80 cents per 1/5th of a mile rather than the usual 40 cents because obviously you’re only allowed to pick up passengers within the city limits…therefore compensation is needed for the empty trip back.  The papers make it out to be that a lot of cab drivers do this…but in reality it’s only a few that had done it, albeit often.  You won’t catch a veteran passenger with this but you might catch someone who is either piss drunk or a tourist with this move.  If you see that a ride to Penn Station from 14th street & 3rd avenue costs $15…then you’ve got Rate 4’d.

And this of course leads to the dastardly things cabbies will do to get passengers.  Cutting 2, 3 even 4 lanes just to get someone.  They see you, obviously.  They’ll do whatever it takes though.  Does it piss me off? You damn right it does…but only for that initial moment.  But like every cab ride you never know what to expect; sometimes that person who you didn’t get a chance to pick up might only be going a few blocks…while the next passenger you get winds up giving you a $10+ fare.  Does it make sense to do it? Common sense says no but in this industry…time is most definitely money.  When you know you gotta not only satisfy your quota but also a quota of your boss…nightmares.  That’s why you’ll hear the “THAT’S IT??” if the tips are marginal.  That’s why cabbies will cut lanes faster than Bruce Lee with a ginsu knife.  It’s a race against the clock in this concrete jungle…and you’re just the passenger. You’ll most likely never encounter the same driver again.  He’ll most likely never encounter you again.  So all bets are off.

The one thing that even gets me is how because the public bitched about it so much…cab drivers aren’t even allowed to use hands-free devices anymore and make private calls while on the job.  To an extent I understand because you can’t mix personal with business.  At the same time though, working for literally a half of a day without being able to contact your friends or family?? Meanwhile, those same passengers who are bitching are the ones yappin away on their cell phones or texting…then when you get to their final destination stop they’re still yappin.  Double standard?  Sure.  But that’s the nature of the service industry.  They can be as nasty as they want…but the second you talk back there’s a chance you might get reported.  Some of them will get smart…but you need to remember that the only person that has shit to lose is you, the driver.

That pretty much covers it from my end.  I’m sure since I’m a rookie that I missed out on other shit but with my partner being a 20+ year vet as well as my dad having previously worked at a garage for a little while back in the 80s…I have a pretty good idea of the behind the scenes hell cabbies go through.  It sucks that it gets taken out on the passenger sometimes but next time…don’t pit all the blame on them.

And so on.