Start time 5:00pm
My scheduled cab is actually in the lot, so an improvement over yesterday already. They change my schedule time to 5pm since I'm always late anyway. I can still come in earlier if I want to though. Today is a weird day because hardly any night drivers show up, so there's like 4-6 cabs out for most of the night, so for those of us actually working, we get to run around like chickens with our heads cut off and make good money.
A few notes about types of trips. A standard trip is a cash fare. Someone calls the company, gives them their address, the dispatcher opens up the stand the trip is in (these are geographical divisions of the city, although there are actual specific stands where we can wait for a trip in a given area, and if a trip opens up in that area and we're in the stand, we get the trip automatically if we call on it. Then it goes out to anyone in the general vicinity, although you're allowed to lie about where you are if you can reasonably get a trip within 15-20 minutes. Then it goes out to anyone in the city. If it's a slow night and you're getting beat out on trips, the best thing to do is to wait in a stand, especially if it's one that's near a lot of other stands that you can call in on).
So anyway. Cash fare. The trip goes out, you claim it, you show up, they get in your cab, you take them where they're going, they pay you in cash (we don't have credit card machines at our company). There are a couple of services that work with the cab company to get people around too. These are charges, meaning we fill out a charge slip and at the end of the day, the sum of all of our charges is deducted from our lease. In the rare instance your charges exceeds what you owe, you get paid out in cash the next day.
One type of charge is SCAT, which is part of the local regional transportation department that also runs the city buses. SCATs are for special need citizens. SCATs suck because no matter how far you go, you get about $6 for the trip, $2 in cash from the passenger and $4 from the company as a charge. If you go 2 blocks over (which one lady does just about every night), it's $6. If you go 15 miles away, it's $6. Everyone hates these trips but everyone has to run them (although they don't go out late at night so night drivers have to deal with them less). If a SCAT passenger has been waiting for over an hour, dispatch can offer drivers $5 or $10 off their lease to grab them (they do this with other charges too, but most commonly with SCATs). Because these trips aren't metered, it's not uncommon to bundle up on SCAT customers if they're going in the same direction.
Another charge is TMS, which is slightly better. These charges are just getting people to and from doctor's visits and I think is paid by their insurance companies. There's a certain flat rate if the trip is 1-3 miles, 4-6mi, 7-8mi, etc., so while it's not as good as a cash trip, it at least has a sliding scale, unlike SCATS.
EMC is another medical charge service that pays pretty decent, probably not as much as a cash fare but not too significantly under.
There's other charges too, including some service that gets people to and from their jobs, hospital vouchers, battered women's shelter charges, board of education charges, etc.
Anyway, on with my day.
1. First trip is a SCAT that someone forgot to pick up. Dispatch offers ten off, it's not far from the garage, so I offer to get it. They cancel before I can get half a mile down the road.
2. Replacement trip. 5:18pm-5:41pm. Female, 20s, black. Girl going to work on the far other side of town, really good $35 trip. She's friendly and easygoing. Good start to the day.
Since I'm out in this part of town, I swing by the health food store since there aren't really any near where I live and stock up on some stuff really quick.
3. 6:27pm-6:37pm. Same guy as #4 yesterday, realize he's definitely in his 40s, he's friendlier and less condescending today and tips pretty good, although he pays with a $50 bill, which you should try not to do for cabbies since we try not to carry too much cash.
4. Cancel en route.
5. 6:55pm-7:02pm. Female, 20s, white. Apts to strip club.
6. 7:18pm-7:35pm. Male, 20s, black. Bar to someone's house that isn't his with a stop at the liquor store. Offers me a flat rate that's a bit higher than I would have estimated the trip to be, so I take it. Asks for my number so he can get a ride later, but I end up being on the other side of town when he texts me.
7. 7:39-7:58. Two females, 20s, black. Some administrative type building to a house. Decent trip.
8. 7:43-8:11. Female, 40s, black. Really soft spoken, kind of timid lady. Goes to the UPS store then picks up Chinese food then goes home.
9. 8:19-8:24. Male, 50s, white. Neighborhood bar to gay bar a bit down the street, pretty good tip.
At this point I realize this trip I tried to call on but didn't hear actually did go to me, but luckily it's only a few minutes away, but I keep forgetting to write down the address and have to ask dispatch, who surprisingly didn't chew my head off.
10. 8:39-8:55. Female, 40s, black. This lady had been waiting a long time and was running late to work, but there's not much we could have done about it since there were only like 5 cabs on the road for the whole city. She asks if there isn't a law saying we have to show up within a certain time, I say no, she says she hopes she doesn't get fired over this and if she does, she's going to sue (the cab company, presumably), I don't say anything. I guess she's a nurses aide or something and had to take care of this paraplegic guy at his home. She gives me the street but not the address so I go the quickest way I know to that general area. As we get close, I try to figure out where exactly she's going and she says something like "Just go whatever way you were going asshole. This is the long way. We should have went this other way." Which is not true and was actually much faster and quicker. She finally gives me the address and I GPS it and we get there. She's mellowed out because she realizes I knew what I was doing and wasn't trying to fuck her over or anything. I give her the trip for $8 even though it's an $18 fare because of the inconvenience. She pays with a $100 bill, which is retarded, but luckily I have the change and don't want another fight so I give her her change without comment. She tries to request a time call pick up for when she gets off work, but we tell her with so few drivers on the road, nothing is guaranteed. Later on, I call a different cab company in the suburb where she was working at to pick her up because there was no way we were going to get her in time.
11. 9:17-9:29. Male, 40s, black. Dispatch offers $10 off for an EMC trip so I take it. Dialysis to the guy's home.
12. 9:35-9:45. Female, 30s, black, two kids. Grocery store to home, stop at the gas station on the way.
13. No show at a gas station.
14. 9:57-10:18. Not really sure what gender this person is, but they're black and in their 40s I think. They smell like soap or hand cream. I remember picking them up before and not being sure of their sex a couple of months ago. Anyway, non eventful trip but a pretty decent fare.
15. 10:24-10:44. Two females, 20s, black, one child. Pick them up from the strip mall and drop them at their respective homes. They're gossiping to each other on the way home, talking about how their families don't help them with their kids enough and how some girl they know is bi. "I knew she was gay before she was pregnant.")
Dispatch changes over. Third shift dispatch are way more gruff and no-nonsense than second shift. They know what they're doing and don't fuck around, but they can be kind of pricks. One guy is actually pretty laid back, but the other one is kind of high strung and berates everyone for not running enough trips (some of us are ok, but there are some drivers who take like one trip an hour, probably doing personal calls in the mean time.) He reminds me of some surly old sea captain and is kind of a buzz kill and I knew with so few drivers on the road, he'd be in particularly foul mood, but he actually ended up being fairly mellow since the few drivers we did have on the road did run a ton of trips. He still repeats himself way too much.
16. No show in an alley where the potholes look like landmines blew them out.
17. There's one other kind of charge that only happens at 10:30 at night. There's some city administrative building downtown and there's a bunch of mentally disabled seeming people that work there and the cab company takes them home every night on charges. They pack as many of them into as few as cabs as possible, usually they fit in 2 or 3. Tonight I got 2 of these people and took them home. Not very far trips. I usually don't get these trips because I'm in other parts of the city.
18. 11:23-11:30 Dispatch is pleading for someone to pick up a driver in the south side of town so we have at least one more person on the road. I jump on the high way to pick him up and drop him off at the garage.
19. 11:39-11:55 Male, 40s, white. Bar to rural suburbs a ways out. Pretty good trip.
20. Move back into town for a no show.
21. 12:26-12:43. Male, 40s, white. Kind of a fat sloppy guy. Says dispatch said his first cab came by and he didn't come out, but that dispatch was lying because he always has a camera facing out his front door. Whatever. Take him through a drive through and then drop him at a house.
22. 12:48-12:57. Male, 20s, black. Going to south rural suburb. Pretty decent trip. Asks me about driving with the company, tell him how it works.
23. 1:11-1:15. Male, 20s, black. Short trip, dude reeks of booze and weed.
24. 1:20-1:25. Male, 20s, black. Similar to the last trip, short trip, dude seemed pretty buzzed.
25. 1:31-1:36. Female and male, 30s, black. Coming home from the 24 hour grocery store. Guy is talking about someone they know, says he didn't know he was "funny like that."
26. 1:52-2:10. Female, 30s, white. Show up at a bar and a girl and her guy are arguing outside while some other group is trying to calm them down and leave. I find the girl who called a cab but she offers to let the drunk fighting couple take the cab. Much confusion. Finally, the guy from the couple walks off, the girl from the couple agrees to take the cab, and since the girl who called the cab is on the way, she gets in too. Drunk girl's friends give me $10 towards her fair. Drunk girl is talking a lot of shit, being antagonistic towards us even though we're trying to help her out by getting her home. The other girl asks to stop at a gas station to pick up cigs and drunk girl gets out of the cab and calls someone and starts giving them my license plate number or some shit like I'm trying to hold her hostage. We try to make sure she doesn't want the rest of her ride home, but she decides she'd rather be stranded, so I give the other girl her ride home.
27. 2:23-2:44. Male and female, 30s, black. Roundtrip to someone's house and back, offer to give me a flat rate, I take it. We see 2 white kids skateboarding down the middle of one of the main streets in bodysuits and helmets in the middle of the ghetto.
28. 2:47-2:56. Male and female, 40s, black. Going to the ER, they seem really out of it and sleepy, guy keeps asking the girl about his heartbeat.
Night ended a little after 3a.m. One of the best nights I've ever had, brought in just under $200.