actorartathleteauthorbizcrimecrosspostcustomerservicedirectoredufoodgaminghealthjournalistmedicalmilmodpostmunimusicnewsworthynonprofitotherphilpolretailscispecialisedspecializedtechtourismtravelunique

IAmA Taxi driver in the U.S. If you would like to ask any questions about the industry/my experiences or our view on Uber, please do.

Jun 22nd 2014 by Taxi_Time • 34 Questions • 549 Points

As requested by the Mods a "short bio"

I'm white, in my 20's, 4'5", like Taco Bell at 2am and my experience is cab driving.

and I shot my dad with a crossbow

As for Uber this I believe is my best explanation so far. http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/28tllv/iama_taxi_driver_in_the_us_if_you_would_like_to/ciek1xe

Q:

In my experience, cabbies really prefer to deal in cash rather than cards, sometime being downright irrate if you attempt to pay with a card, despite credit machines being installed in every cab (At least in my city). Is there a reason for this stigma? Do you lose a percentage when they pay by card?

A:

The driver is charged a percentage of the credit card transaction. 5%-25%

Personally I don't care if you pay in cash or card. In my state most cab drivers are independent contractors and rent the vehicle (a lease for the day) and the equipment. These cab businesses would also slap on a fee for providing the credit card reader and transaction.

I recall from talking to drivers from competing companies the fee was 5-25% of the fare (the company I work for was in the mid range). So if you took a cab from point A to point B(FE) and your fare was $100, you paid with credit card then the cab company would charge the driver a credit card percentage fee to their account. So at the end of their 12 hour shift when they drop off the car, they have to pay the Lease, fill up the tank, and those credit card fees. Then they get to keep what was left.

Most cab companies are dropping that credit card fee because the driver will use this product which runs at a competitive rate, but adding fees elsewhere.

From all that you could see why they would prefer you pay cash.


Q:

Why don't you switch to Uber, seems better for both the driver and passenger?

How many runners have you caught, how many have got away?

A:

3 years no runners.

knock on wood

but in my state it's a misdemeanor: Theft of service. Cops will be called. In most cases that person called from a cellphone. They track ya down that way. Cite ya. Then you pay the fine and fare to the court. Court sends the driver a check. Never heard of a runner who hasn't been caught


Q:

Don't forget:

call from a pay phone.

A:

I think it has to do with the availability of pay phones in the area


Q:

Wait. I think people haven't realized you shot your dad with a fucking crossbow. How'd you shoot your dad with a crossbow?! Why?

A:

Say whore one more time.


Q:

I think the most important question here is did he in fact shit gold?

A:

Even more important question what interest rate does the Iron Bank charge?


Q:

Might not be too good, what with the queen ruining the realms credit rating

A:

Can we pay in wildfire?


Q:

Your bio says 4'5"... does being that short making driving all day a challenge?

A:

Do Lannisters love incest?


Q:

Do you know any drivers who have hit someone, and what happened?

I"ve almost been hit twice (once while crossing the street completely legally, another while I'm walking down the sidewalk). I'm told that pedestrian hit and runs in my city are scarily common, and nothing happens to the drivers.

A:

I saw a cabbie (from a competing company hit a pedestrian) Drunk dude thought he was gonna J-walk. Never saw him get back up :(


Q:

Whats your view on Uber?

A:

I'm glad someone finally asked.

Honestly we don't care.

We only ask that Uber/Lyft etc. play by the same rules when it comes to insurance. If you take someone from point A to point B in your vehicle in return for payment then you most likely fall into category as a Taxi. That means you must have the vehicles insured (taxi insurance rate vary by state) at all times, regardless of a passenger being in the vehicle or not. The Uber related apps do not have their vehicles insured at all times making their expenses considerably cheap that companies simply cannot compete. If local companies could switch from a business insurance to the drivers personal insurance depending on occupancy of a passenger than it would be fair.

Plenty of co-workers have jumped ship to Uber which is great. I would love to drive for Uber but probably will not unless I purchase a second vehicle. I prefer to drive bar/club scene and that means people puking in your cab. You get where I'm going.

Also some cabbies drive for a local company and uber as well.


Q:

An uber driver told me that the puker's card is charged for the cleanup of the puke.

A:

And rightfully so but have you ever seen someone puke in a car? it's get all in the seats. The nooks and crannies. The liquid seeps into the fabric. It finds crevices you weren't even aware. You do your best to find and clean what you can but eventually you park your car over night and the sun comes up and starts to bake that little bit you can't find.

Have you ever been dutch oven'ed? Now think of it like that but with puke. Now think about it happening in your own personal car on multiple occasions.

Also take into the consideration the wear and tear of the remainder of the vehicle. An average shift I'll driver anywhere from 150-250 miles.


Q:

Uber doesn't have any vehicles tho; they are all contracted drivers. When they drive w/ Uber, Uber insures them. Why should Uber be responsible for a contractor when they aren't driving for them?

A:

Uber insures them only when a passenger is in the vehicle.


Q:

Do you know anyone who uses the Uber taxi function or this is not allowed by your company/area? I use this regularly because I'd prefer a regular cab and the uber app is a lot more efficient than calling.

A:

Driver for local companies will register their personal vehicles with uber and while driving a shift for the taxi company they will take uber calls as well.

Double dip. Make more money that way. It's a big no no from what I hear but it happens


Q:

Who are you always talking to on the phone?

A:

I wish I had a cool answer but I don't.

Usually other cabbies. I have two other cabbies that I keep in touch with constantly when I'm working shift. We share info like: stripper boxing at Club X needs cabbies or Medical convention this week hit the high end hotels.


Q:

What do most taxi drivers do with phones/tablets when they are left in cabs. I had that happen twice, once the guy returned the phone and the other time my sister left hers and it was never seen again. In your experience do most drivers make an effort to return the valuables or put them in lost and found? Have you ever known a driver that makes money by selling lost phones or tablets?

A:

I always return a phone. I work mostly with regulars and people I know so I go out of my way to return it to them. Also people tip when you return it, so there's an incentive too.

If find it and don't know whose it, I'll turn into our company lost and found. I'll even answer if it rings and tell that person to inform the owner.

With any industry people are just scumbags, some drivers might not return it :( personally i dont know anyone who makes money selling found phones/tablets but im sure those people are out there

Also consider this: I'm your driver taking you to a bar. We arrive, you pay, you exit the vehicle, I'm counting the money and tip you gave me. Your phone fell out of your pocket while climbing out of the vehicle. Because I was sitting in front a bar and counting my money someone immediately hopped into the back of my cab needing a ride. They saw your phone first. We would have to hope that person was truthful.


Q:

Worst thing you've seen/had in your cab?

A:

I picked up a couple who seemed to have just met at a club.

They were all over each other. Out of the corner of my eye I saw what appeared to be the lady's dickskinners wrapped around this guys jimmy. In my mind I'm panicking, if that gun goes off it could shoot me in the back of the head.

I'm scared.

Wait! I know this road. The Marriott is a quarter mile away. I can make it. Pedal meets medal. I pull in, tell them to pay and get the fuck out. Throw some hateful words their direction and also threats about calling the cops etc etc.

It's probably not the worse but it's what came to mind first.


Q:

Whats the most what the fuck moment you've had in your taxi?

A:

Guys going out for the night. Ditched their friend. Heading to the destination and were discussing about how to approach said friend and inform his SO is legitimately "mildly retarded"

They were telling me about the "signs" they saw and the entire ride I was thinking "how did this guy not know?"


Q:

[deleted]

A:

I can't remember since hitting the back of my head in the car accident


Q:

Question 1: Why do cabbies always take the most rounadabout route possible, and why are they unable to follow simple instructions like "go straight" and "turn left at ..."

Question 2: What will you do for a living when taxi drivers are replaced with self driving cars?

A:
  1. I drive at night and when people get mad for me not taking their directions I have to explain to their drunk ass "No I can't turn left at a red light."

  2. I'm in college racking up student loans so... Indentured Slavery?


Q:

Follow up to Question 1: Every cab I have taken the driver has literally taken one of the worst routes you can take. This was about ten cabs and probably five services. The actual question: if given a specific path by a not-drunk person would you likely ignore it?

I asked the last few drivers why they are ignoring my instructions and they just didn't fucking answer. No tip.

A:

I can only speak for myself. I'm a mild mannered 20 something caucasian.

I'll try to be nice, give you the best advice on a travel route. But if you're rude I'll shut up and take your directions because you will probably not know the cheaper route. My meter runs on a timer and distance so it's whatevs to me


Q:

Does the fake taxi exist?

A:

what?


Q:

It was a porn reference. Anyway, what's the weirdest request you've gotten as a taxi driver?

A:

Gay dudes try to blow me and women try to show their tits instead paying their fare.

I'm straight and love breasts but I need money


Q:

You can accept tits in lieu of a tip. but you still need the main fare.

A:

can't pay student loans with tits :(


Q:

What's the most expensive thing that someone has left in your cab?

A:

iPhone. They were from out of town and I dropped them off at the airport. As I'm leaving, I hear ringing in the backseat. It was the newer model of iPhone the week it came out. So I answered it. "Are you right where I dropped you?" "Yup" Make my way back around and return it. Dude handed me a dub bill and I left. Really nice of him.

Nothing else more than a phone from what I can recall. But I did kick people out of my car trying doing bumps of cocaine.


Q:

What the hell is a dub bill?

A:

$20


Q:

How much would you charge to let me fool around with someone while you took us to our destination? Has that ever happened?

A:

No it hasn't happened sorry man. But if someone approached me for an offer like that I would more than happily give them a sex-free ride to an affordable hotel.


Q:

What's one of the worst customers that you had to deal with?

A:

Step 1 Learn quick, and recognize a situation before it occurs.

The couple approaching mycab while arguing. Sorry I'm on my lunch break.

Dude so intoxicated he can't enter the vehicle himself and is having 5 people try to toss him into the cab and ditch him. No. He's not going in my cab by his lonesome. I'm a cab driver not a baby sitter.

The worse though? Domestic violence. People are just horrible. I try not to get myself involved but you have to remind yourself that as a cabbie you're probably their only exit.


Q:

You talkin' to me?

A:

Not if I can help it.


Q:

But seriously, do you like Taxi Driver?

A:

I've never seen it all the way through :(


Q:

What type of hats do you like to wear?

A:

None usually.


Q:

Who the hell are you talking to on your phone? Seriously, why are cities banning uber (Austin here), even though they just plain don't have decent cab service?

A:

Because politicians would rather allow exemptions than to restructure the way the industry is regulated. It's all fucked


Q:

What are your thoughts on Uber?

A:

I think I answered this one


Q:

You're really a doctor from India aren't you?

A:

Close, Pakistan


Q:

i can never go into a taxi cab again, the last one i was in smelled like shit and the one before that smelled like rotting eggs. the current taxi industry is laughably sitting on its laurels as Millenials create new apps/businesses to disrupt the disgusting businesses out there.

you already explained your thoughts on Uber, what about Lyft? Consumers are literally racing away from using cabs!!

A:

I edited my last reply.

And I think it's 'Resting on their laurels'


Q:

Have you thought about getting your EMT license? I do basically the same thing as you (especially dialisis) but I get paid a fixed rate even if I don't get calls, and its super easy.

I work transport, not 911. Doing it to pay for college as well.

A:

I'm in college. Also I'm an independent contractor and my company allows me to work whatever schedule I like. Only requires to come in at least once everyday 30 days