Tuesday, February 1, 2011

One of my first lessons

That first fall, back in 1988, I drove Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. I started as early as I got it together to show up, and I had to park it at 10 am.

There was a regular ride that went out of De Forest at around 5 am. They'd read it off, and take bids like normal, then say, the same guy was up, every day.

I tried hanging in the north, I tried hanging by the end of the airport runway. Not even close. What was going on?

They'd lied to me when they hired me, and when I was trained. They told me that sitting on time calls wasn't allowed. Sitting on a time call, what's that? Joe Blow has a regular ride at so and so a time, and it's a big money ride. So, you go and wait for it. 1/2 hour, 45 minutes, what ever it takes, as long as it's worth it. It's done in all cab environments, dispatching or no dispatching.

It was my first serious exposure to the lying and cheating that is the norm in the business. Eventually, I was there when Mader showed up one morning. Nobody was happy about it. But it stopped being his personal shift starter. 3 days a week, it became my shift starter, most of the time. How early did I have to go there? About an hour early. Coffee and the Wall Street Journal became the start of 3 shifts a week.


NYC taxi photo said...

hmm, so different out there, so you showed up before him, and there was no argument? he didn't wait until the fare showed up to plead his case as their usual driver? and what is a bid? do you all actually put money down to get calls?

Real cab driver said...

The ride belongs to the company until it is given to the driver.

The way it's supposed to work is the driver closest to it when it's read out gets it. The company wants you running around serving the general public until they lift that slip off the spindle and read it off over the radio.

The way it actually works is, if it's a real good ride, somebody will find that it goes 5 days a week at say, 4:45am. Then they will do what they can to prevent anybody else from finding out about it. As long as the dispatcher is helping them, they can keep it a secret for quite a while.

Why would the dispatcher help an individual driver? Payoola of course! And all other things being equal, if they like driver A better than driver B, then they help driver A.

But eventually, somebody takes a day off, driver or dispatcher, it doesn't matter. Or, there was something that got in the way of driver A getting to his little secret at 4:45am so the dispatcher had to give it to somebody, and now driver B, or C, or... knows about it too.

Sound crooked? It sure is!!