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

Monday, October 15, 2012

I like the nightlife, I like to boogie.

Tonight I worked my first ever night shift.  I was a little apprehensive about nights, but my mind was put at ease after this evening.

I got a fare headed into Manhattan from in front of the new Barclay's Center.  This was awesome because instead of sitting in traffic into the city for free, I was getting paid for it.  And the two guys who hopped in were really nice and rather entertaining.  Apparently we are all going bungee jumping in the Bahamas some day.  Good times.

From there on it was pretty steady all night.  And the fact that it was Sunday night, the traffic was pretty clear.  I picked up a nice old couple downtown and drove them to the Upper East Side.  They were very sweet and put a smile on my face.  The woman said she thought I was a very good driver.  I wish they were my grandparents I could go over to their house and eat fresh baked cookies......  okay, okay...  too far....  but they were very nice. 

I found myself downtown again and tried hitting up the Seaport for a fare.  Didn't find one, but as I was about to get back on the highway, I was hailed by a group of people with cases and cases of wine.  I guess they were bartending for some function that supposedly Andrew Zimmern was at.  They seemed like they had been partaking in the wine as well, but were nice too.  And when they got out and unloaded all their wine, the one guy who seemed like the boss handed me a bottle of wine.  Very nice!

I picked up a group of very clearly high school kids on 14th.  They were rushing to get back before their curfew.  I thought it was adorable.  They were very much drunk or high or both.  But they were nice and asked nicely if they gave me a good tip if they could play some loud music.  So I let them.  They were having fun and made me laugh.  Ahhhh, high school........

I had a fare from Times Square to Queens and decided to call it a night.  It was almost 2 and i was starting to get sleepy.  So I headed back to the garage.  Overall, it was a good night.  Not super busy, but nowhere near dead.  Made a nice chunk of change for the evening and I had interesting passengers and no bad traffic.  Can't complain!  Contemplating working again tomorrow night.  Gonna go to the garage.  Hopefully I'll get a car.  Until then, enjoy this blurry photo of the Chrystler Building I took from my cab:

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Just stumbled upon this video.  Watch it!

Women Cab Drivers


I realize I haven't posted in a while.  Partially due to having to leave town for two weeks on a pretty last minute trip to Florida.  And then the few times I have worked since being back, things were kinda mundane.  Nothing really interesting to speak about.  I did have a few nice people last weekend.  Had a very sweet family from New Zealand who I wanted to join their vacation.  They sounded like they had the most fun week planned. And they were really sweet.  Also had another family from, I think they said Philly.  Drove them from midtown down to Ground Zero.  Had a nice conversation with the father who sat in the front.  It really makes a day go by much faster when you have nice conversation to get you through.

I drove yesterday, and then promptly got home and passed out.  So my update is coming a day late.  But overall, yesterday was pleasant with the exception of the end of the day, but I will get to that in a minute.

Started my morning off with a fare as soon as I was pulling off the Manhattan bridge.  Picked up a young couple headed to Wall St.  From there i caught another gentleman headed up to Mid Town.  As I was dropping him off on 34th street, I see the hoards of costumed people headed over to the Javits Center.  Comic Con!  I really wanted to pick up some costumed people all day.  Or at least pick up a fair to the Con so i could get a better look.  But I dropped off the guy and ended up going up town.

Picked up a lady on the Upper West Side looking to go up to the commuter train station on 125th.  She was really nice.  Had a nice conversation with her about art, summer camps, and Connecticut.  Really, a very nice ride. And as soon as she got out, I picked up a guy headed almost exactly back to where I had just picked up the previous lady.  It amused me.

For a while I bounced around, picking up a fare here and there.  Nothing really remarkable.  But I didn't feel like I wasn't picking up anyone, so that's always a nice feeling.  Nothing is worse than driving around for ages with nobody hailing you. 

Eventually I found myself in the Midtown West area and thought i would try and head over towards the Con and maye pick up a fare of people leaving.  As I headed down 41st street, I look out my window and walking down the street in full costume, I see a familiar face.  One of my co-workers from my other job!  I roll down the window and yell her name and pull over to say hi.  Her costume was amazing(the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland) and I was very impressed with her handi-work.  We chatted for a minute or two, but then I was off.

In front of the Con, I picked up a couple headed downtown.  I asked them how the Con was, and they said it was cool.  They seemed like they just went for the expreience rather than being big comic fans.  We talked about it for a little while when they offered me their passes since they were done with them for the day and thought maybe I could use them after my shift.  Awesome!  Really sweet of them. 

I picked up a few more fares before deciding to call it a day.  But by the time I went off duty, I was uptown and had to race to get downtown and back to Brooklyn.  This is where my day went south.  I managed to get downtown very quickly and was thankful.  But then I hit Canal St.  It was a PARKING LOT!  AND I got stuck in the middle lane and couldn't maneuver my way out.  Although I don't think it would have done me any good if I had.  The Brooklyn Bridge was closed one way all weekend, so a lot of the traffic is diverted to the Manhattan Bridge.  Which means all approaches to the bridge are screwed.  I just happened to be in an awful position and not much I could do about it.  It took me over an hour to get down Canal.  And the traffic cop who let every other lane pass thru the light except the one i was in, did not help.  It was hell.  And every other person on the street kept trying to hail me despite me having my "Off Duty" lights on and doors locked and clearly on my way to the bridge.  Also, WHY would you want to hail a cab in the middle of a traffic jam?  So you could pay to sit where you were?  People are nuts.

Just for Reference, my TAXI SNAPSHOT of the day illustrates my frustration.

By the time I got out of the jam and back to Brooklyn and my garage, I was over an hour late with my car.  Thankfully, they were understanding of the traffic situation and didnt charge me for having the cab late.  Which is good.  Because even though i felt like i had people all day, I didnt have any big fares and didnt make all that much.  So a late charge would have not been good. 

Also, I need to make myself a map or something of lady-friendly bathrooms with parking nearby.  I have only a small handful of places where I know I can make a pit-stop and sometimes those places are far away from me.  Any NYC ladies, when you gotta go, where do you go?

I am driving later today, doing my first ever evening shift.  Sunday evenings are supposedly good to drive.  Light traffic, no turning rules and lots of people coming back from the weekend, so its busy.  I'll be sure to not leave you all hanging for as long.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Today was slow.  Not a slow as my first day driving, but it was slow.  I got to the garage a little later than I would have liked this morning, so that cut into my driving time a little.  Also, getting there that little bit later meant there were less cabs left and I got stuck with a clunker.  I mean, it WORKED, but the air conditioning only came out of the floor vents(my toes were frost bitten!) and it veered to the right so in order to keep it straight i had to work extra hard to steer it, so my arms got tired.  And thanks to a subway snafu last night, I didn't get very much sleep, so I was exhausted before the day even got going.

I got over the bridge and as has been the usual for me, picked up my first fare in Chinatown.  I seemed to be going pretty good with back to back fares for the whole first hour.  I was psyched, because if things kept like that, I was going to have a very good day.  This excitement was short lived.  After that first hour, things just stopped.  I blame the amazing weather.  It was warm but not hot, and absolutely gorgeous.  And when it's nice like that, people want to walk.  So I drove around for a solid hour before picking anyone else up.

I didn't have anyone particularly interesting the whole day.  I DID, however, go through Times Square and for the first time in my life, which has been in NYC for almost all of it, I saw Naked Cowboy!  Seriously.  I have been to Times Square countless times, I have seen him in everybody's tourist photos, and seen him on TV a bunch of times.  Never have I seen him in person.  I know it's not a big deal, really, but i was excited by it.

I had almost given up on the day when I was passing near my other job, when a doorman to one of the adjoining buildings hailed me.  I pulled into the driveway of the building where I picked up a guy who I took from the Upper West Side all the way to Park Slope in Brooklyn.  This was AWESOME.  I was worried that I wouldn't even make enough to cover my daily lease and gas, but this guaranteed I would.  And normally I don't enjoy traffic, but this time it worked in my favor making the fare a little higher.  And the passenger didn't seem to mind too much.  He took a nap most the way.

Once in Brooklyn, I realized it was getting close to the end of my day.  I didn't want to sit in traffic and go back into Manhattan, so I tried picking up some local fares in Park Slope.  I got one right off the bat, but the second one which I decided would be my last of the day ended up taking me back into Manhattan and uptown a bit.  I was happy for the second substantial fare, but i was stressing trying to get back to the garage on time.  I did make it back eventually and because of the last few fares, I managed to make a super slow and crappy day into a not so bad day.

And just 'cuz, here is my TAXI SNAPSHOT OF THE DAY!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Day Three

Drove yesterday, but didn't get to update because I was exhausted after driving and i had the start of a migraine that would last me through this morning.  But that is all better now, so here we go.

Yesterday, overall was pretty uneventful.  The morning I spent doing mostly short fares here and there.  I did pick up one particularly dapper looking guy from the Upper East Side going to Lincoln Center.  He didn't say much the whole ride but as he was getting out he told me I was definitely the coolest cab driver he had ever had.  That made me smile, for sure.  I passed by Lincoln Center later in the day and actually saw the same guy looking for a cab again.  I had someone in the back though, so I couldn't stop.  Oh well.

After dropping off the dapper gentleman, i instantly picked up two very fashionable guys headed to the Meat Packing District.  They were clearly involved in the fashion industry somehow.  And while they didn't speak much to me, I was lucky enough to hear about their entire recent sexual histories.  Very entertaining.

The day continued to be pretty uneventful.  I had one guy who was a know it all who thought I didn't know where I was going, even though because of one way streets and the traffic I knew was near the Port Authority, the way I took was actually to his benefit.  Passengers, let me tell you a little something.  If you are going somewhere and you know it is a one way street, don't assume the driver is trying to take you for a ride because they go a block or two past.  This little move could probably save you a few bucks and a few minutes.  Especially if the street you THINK they should be taking is 9th ave and going past port authority and the Lincoln Tunnel in the middle of the afternoon.  THERE IS ALWAYS TRAFFIC THERE!!!!!!  Okay, rant over.

After that pleasant gentleman, I had to pee, was hungry and right near a great McDonalds with a parking lot.  So I stopped for lunch.  This McDonalds has these new hi-tech soda dispensers where you pick your soda on a touch screen and then you can add a flavor to it as well.  I had raspberry Coke.  Very interesting!  They also had orange, vanilla, cherry, cherry vanilla, and I think lime.  Good spot to stop as a driver, and lots of other drivers know it too because the parking lot is filled with cabs.

The afternoon was also pretty uneventful.  Had a couple of slightly longer fares, but nothing crazy.  As the day was winding down for me, I decided I would grab one more fare before heading home.  I am glad I did too, because the last fare of the day made my day.

I was cruising up Broadway after dropping a couple at the Bed Bath and Beyond.  A young guy hails me and he is holding an empty gas canister.  I pull over for him and he hops in and asks me to take him to the nearest gas station.  Being on the Upper West Side, I couldn't think of where one was off hand.  So I pulled over to look it up on my phone.  He was apologetic but I told him not to sweat it.  It would be an adventure!  We figured out where one was and headed up that way.  Had an awesome conversation about everything from Brooklyn, to artists, to Spike Lee, and  I got him to the gas station and he asked me to wait so I could bring him back.  That was probably the most entertaining fare I have had so far, and he gave me a HUGE tip on top of that.  So, Zach(I think that was his name) from People Magazine, big high five for being awesome!  Seriously, made my day.

Unfortunately that fare took a little longer than I had thought it would so i had to race back to the garage after that, and of course I hit traffic.  I eventually made it back to the garage, even if it was a bit later than I had intended.  Overall, a pretty average day I guess.  The day before I did a little better, but I still did okay, so I am happy with that.

Oh, I also tried out that Taxi Snapshot app.  Check it out!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Back On The Road!

So, after working the one shift and then taking a long hiatus, I got back out on the road today.  I was nervous as all hell this morning.  Afraid I was going to forget something or how to get somewhere.  It is one thing to get int he cab and go when you just finished the class, but now i had let things sit, and it wasn't so fresh in the mind.  Also, I didn't get a very good nights sleep last night and was not feeling so hot this morning.  So at the start of the day, I was not really so enthusiastic about driving. 

I got to the garage and got my cab.  Still a little nervous, but started to calm down a bit.  I was also worried that the boyfriend wouldn't be driving today and if something should happen, I would be out there on my own.  But he put my mind at ease and i hit the road. 

For starters, the car they gave me today was not so good.  The steering wheel made a funny noise, and it was a slow breaker.  Also, the radio didn't work, which is not great.  It is good to be able to keep tabs on traffic, and also, a little music goes a long way when you are sitting in a cab for the whole day.  Alas, I had to make do without the radio and became very familiar with the repeating TV stories broadcast from the screen in the back of the cab.

As I headed to the city, it started to rain.  Hard.  Really hard.  I was a little worried about the weather, but i managed to stay ahead of the rain for the most part.  I hear other parts of the city were less lucky though.  Tornado over the Belt Parkway!  Glad I wasn't there!  The rain ended up helping me out a bit though.  Because when it rains, nobody wants to walk anywhere. 

Started out the shift with a good fare.  Picked up a woman in Chinatown headed to Penn Station.  From there I stayed in the lower-mid town area for a while before getting a fare from Alphabet City up to the Upper East Side.  By the time I took my lunch up on York Ave I had already made my lease money.  Considering I barely made anything my first day, this was looking very good indeed.

After lunch I bobbed around a bit.  Cruised Park ave for some fares.  Found a parade which got in the way for a while.  But thankfully the passenger I had at the time was very understanding.  I picked up a group on the Upper West Side and they were headed down to the Times Square general vicinity.  Once we got down to 42nd street the traffic was a mess!  Barely moving at all.  They decided they had gotten close enough and decided to hop out early.  I was initially bummed that I didn't get to complete the trip(don't worry.  they didn't skip out on the fare) but that quickly turned around.

Had they not gotten out when they did, i would not have gotten my next fare.  As I am sitting in this Times Square traffic, I see a man going from cab to cab.  Finally he comes to me and opens the door to ask me if I can take him to Met-life Stadium in Jersey.  I guess the other cabs didn't want the fare, so I told him no problem.  He and what looked like his son got in and we slowly made our way to the end of the block before I made it away from the traffic.  We had a great conversation the whole ride.  They were headed to the Syracuse-USC football game.  I told them that my sister was a 'Cuse alum and they told me they were going for USC.  We had a friendly jab at each other.  The rest of the conversation was nice too.  And there was plenty of making fun of New Jersey, so I always appreciate that.  Once we had escaped Times Square, we actually made it to the stadium pretty quickly.  I bid them adieu, and they were on their way(and I was too with a nice tip.  Thanks, guys!)

Got back to the city very quickly and had a few basic fares.  Picked up one girl downtown to go uptown.  She was entertaining, when she wasn't complaining about the traffic or the way we were going(after i asked her if she wanted me to take the Drive or the streets, and I followed her wish).  But I got her to her destination and immediately picked up a family with their little boy headed to the Museum of Natural History.  I am normally not one to coo over small children, but it was really cute listening to how excited he was to go see the dinosaurs.  He was really, really excited.

By this time, my day was winding down and I did a couple of short fares and then one last one from the upper west side down tot he west village, which is great because it put me near the bridge so I could head back to the garage.

Overall, I had a good day.  The island of Manhattan was one big traffic jam all day, but the people were friendly and I did pretty well for myself.  I will be heading back tot he garage tomorrow to pick up another shift.  Hopefully I do as well again!