Thursday, October 18, 2012

Run of the Mill

After a good night shift on Sunday, I decided to work a few more night shifts this week.  Monday, I made sure to get to the garage nice and early.  And it payed off, too!  I was in a cab by 3pm!  For those not in the know, most taxi shifts go from 4-4 or 5-5.  So that means at about 3pm, most cabs go off duty to head back to their garages.  This also means that for the few cars who are on duty, this is big money time.  It is always good when there are more passengers than taxis.  And that happens until about 6pm when most of the night shift drivers make it into the city.  So that was a three hour advantage.  And to top it off, I got a fare on my way into the city too!  So, double bonus!

Monday night was busy.  Surprisingly so.  But I found most people weren't up to chatting or anything.  So even though I had over 30 passengers, only a small handful wanted to talk.  I did pick up one couple down on Bowery after the gentleman hailed me with one impressive whistle.  They were very nice and clearly they were having a good night.

I was driving around the Times Square area a little later, cruising for passengers.  Coming up to a corner, i thought some other cab was trying to edge in to cut me off until the driver rolls down the window and calls over to me "Hey lady!".  I looked over and there was another girl driver.  She was very excited to pass me by.  We managed to chat for a few moments and exchange numbers at the light before we took off in different directions.  She was very sweet and told me to give her a ring if I ever needed any help.  So nice!  I forget how rare we are in the industry.  According to an article I read the other day, there are only about 170 female drivers out of the over 46,000 male drivers in the city.  It is nice that she reached out to me.  Its like a little club in the midst of this huge boy's club.

Anyways, after a while things got a little slower.  I was cruising the West Village(which terrifies me less and less every shift I've driven) and I picked up three girls to go waaaay uptown.  Then as I was headed back down Broadway, a guy hails me.  He gets in and says we are going to Astoria.  I told him no problem, but he would have to help direct me a bit once we got to Queens.  He tells me to take the lower level on the 59th st bridge and then he can direct me from there.  So I drive to the bridge and go over it on the lower level.  As we are almost on the other side, I turn to ask him where we go next.  He was fast asleep.  And had headphones on.  So I had to holler at him to wake him up.  I ask him again where to go and he tells me to take the lower level at which point I say "uhhhh, yeah, we are already in Queens".  He is confused for a few moments before he gets his bearings and directs me where we need to go.  Finally I get him to his destination.  And after all that and an almost $25 fare, he gives me a dollar tip.....  Thanks, buddy!

JFK Central Taxi Lot
I didn't drive on Tuesday, but I did last night.  I found out at the beginning of my shift that the JFK lot was pretty empty, so I headed over to the airport.  It was my first time there in a cab, so I was a little confused as to how things worked.  But I managed to get it sorted and got dispatched to Terminal 5.  I got to the terminal and within a few moment I had a young guy come up to the car.  I got out to help him put his bags in the car and he asks me if I knew where Coney Island Ave. and Corteleyou Rd were.  I laughed and told him I grew up around the corner from there and he was happy that he wouldn't have to direct me every step of the way.  We had a nice ride up Linden from the airport too talking about everything from iPhones to mixtapes and how the neighborhood had changed over the past few years.  And by the time we made it there i had a nice chunk of change for the first hour of work. 

The rest of the evening wasn't very eventful.  It wasn't crazy busy, but it wasn't dead either.  Like Monday night, not that many people were feeling chatty.  So I just had my radio to listen to as i made my way around the city.  Later in the evening, I got a text from my parents.  They had been to a concert and if I was in the area, I could pick them up and take them home.  I was in the area, so I gave them a ride.  It was fun!  I got to show off my cab(which for the evening, wasn't one of the nicest ones I've driven thus far).  And after dropping them off at home, I even had a fare in Brooklyn on my way back.

One lady I had a nice chat with about what I've learned in my short time in the taxi industry and we got talking about bikes, and in particular those goddamn rickshaw bike taxis.  These things drive me crazy!  They just drive wherever they feel like, cut into traffic without signaling and even drive the wrong way down busy streets.  And what I have assessed over my short time driving, is I HATE THESE GUYS!!!!  They are seriously dangerous and I don't understand people who think its fun to take them.  I would be terrified.  I don;t think they have any sort of regulations and if they do, they aren't enforced. So, yeah.  Ranty rant rant!!!!

So far, I am enjoying driving nights much more than days.  The money is better, the traffic is better, and the city is so much prettier at night.  I am finally taking a little break for a couple of days.  I need it.  Driving is fun, but it is exhausting.
View from behind the meter driving into Times Square

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