Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I managed to get all my re-application stuff done and handed into the TLC in time.  I was amazed how quickly I had my new license in my hands.  Less than a week and I had it.  Thank goodness.  I was so stressed about the whole process.

I had taken a little time off for my sisters wedding.  I had planned to hit the road last Thursday, but a migraine struck me and by the time it went away, it was too late for me to get a cab.  I went to the movies instead.

I debated working on Memorial day, and eventually(despite me kicking my feet in protest to my boyfriend) I was convinced to bite the bullet and go to work.  Rent is due soon, so it had to be done.  All day I was sad to not be at the beach with my hula hoop though. 

Working on Memorial Day wasn't bad.  I got to my garage and since most of the drivers took off for the holiday, I got a car right away.  It's always nice to get out of the garage early.  Gives you just that much more time during the day. 

Early on, the city was quiet, although I kept a steady stream of customers.  But the streets had very few drivers, which is nice.  I had a fare to LaGuardia Airport and made it in really good time.  Even on the way back, which I feared would be slammed with end of holiday traffic, it was a smooth ride.

The worst of the traffic I had all night occurred when a particular situation on the Brooklyn Bridge caused the NYPD to close off the ENTIRE bridge.  This meant traffic around the bridge and on the alternate bridges got pretty bad.  I had a fare to Brooklyn around then.  I managed to avoid the worst of it all by taking the Williamsburg Bridge which the radio said was the best option.  But once I got over the bridge into Brooklyn, things on the streets were a little on the slow side because of the closure.

Things got a little busier as the evening progressed and more New Yorkers returned from their holiday weekend.  By the end of my shift, I had a nice chunk of change in my pocket, and very little stress after a nice, laid back, shift.
I played tourist with my Family from Norway who was visiting for my sisters wedding.  We saw this shirt in Little Italy.  It has been suggested that I start selling these/giving them out to my passengers.  Hilarious.
 Last night was not as nice, unfortunately.  It was raining.  Rain is a pain to drive in.  Everyone goes slow, its harder to see(especially with sub-par wipers) and the roads are slippery.  To top it off, the heat in my car didn't work, so when my windows fogged up, I froze to death because the vents blasted icy cold air and because of the rain, I was a little drenched.  Very uncomfortable.

Usually rain can mean good money for a cabbie.  Last night, that was not the case.  It was slow.  After the holiday weekend and with the weather being what it was, people just stayed home.  Also, after taking Monday off, more taxi drivers were out to make up for their lost day.  So competition was stiff.  Usually by about 9pm, I have made enough to pay my lease and gas expenses.  It was much later last night, and my overall take for the night was very low.  The only thing that really put me over the super-duper low mark was my last two fares.

I had been cruising downtown for over an hour looking for a fare when I finally pick up a girl on 14th street.  She was headed to Brooklyn.  After I dropped her off i debated heading back into Manhattan.  But it was late and I probably wouldn't catch another fare in the city.  So after dropping her off, I figured I would head over to Park Slope to maybe find a passenger.  I had gone all the way to the far end of the Slope and back when I was just about to give up and go home.  Then I saw a guy cross the street.  He didn't look like he was going to hail, but I used my Jedi mind tricks on him, and as I was about to pull out from the light, he stuck up his arm.  He was actually going pretty deep into Brooklyn, and not too far from my garage.  So I managed to get that one last fare that pretty much saved my night from being really awful before heading home.

I am glad Monday was decent because SOMETHING had to make up for the crappy night last night.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I am in the process of renewing my hack license.  It is the biggest pain in the ass.  Part of this blame goes to me because I  misread my renewal forms.  I read the part where my annual drug test has to be within 30 days of my expiration as I had to send in my renewal within the 30 days.  Nope.  It was supposed to be BEFORE 30 days.  So now I am going to have to pay a late fee.  But everything has to get to the TLC before my license expires.  I have 16 days now. 

Earlier this week I went for my drug test.  I don't expect any surprises there.  Yesterday I went in for my required refresher course at the taxi school.  I get that they want to keep drivers educated, but this course is so unnecessary.  Almost as unnecessary as the 10 minute sex trafficking education video I also had to watch online.  Ten minuted of listening to someone read what was being displayed on the screen(all text).  All to tell us to not be pimps and to keep doing our jobs as we were.  Why make a video?  Just put out a form for us to read.  It would have taken me 3 minutes to read and not have felt like I was being condescended to by the TLC having someone read it TO me.  Because that's what us taxi drivers need.  Someone to read us documents.  Literally, he read it word for word as it was displayed on the screen.

Then there is the matter of my address.  I went to the TLC office a week ago so that I could change my address in the system.  I needed to do this just to do it, but mainly, so I could pay for my renewal online.  If your address doesn't match the one they show when you go to pay, then you can't pay.  Well, I went online to pay today.  The address is still my old one!  The woman at the TLC office said she was putting it in the system then.  Why, a week later, is it still not updated!? 

Everything about the TLC is so roundabout, jump through hoops, complicated and ridiculous.  I want to send everything to them.  I really do.  I want to get this renewal over with so I can stop stressing about it for another two years.  They just need to make it as difficult as possible.

Okay, I'm going to stop ranting now.  I just needed to vent a little. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cabbie stresses!!!!

So, I am currently in panic mode.  When I received my license renewal package, I misread the checklist that everything had to be submitted WITHIN 30 days of my expiration.  Well, it turns out that it is supposed to be BEFORE 30 days.  Still am able to submit everything, but I do need to pay a late fee, and it must, must MUST be in before my license expires.  Next week I have my annual drug test scheduled as well as my four hour refresher course.  Once I get those done, I can submit everything and stop worrying and stressing.

Oh, and one of the things I had to do for my renewal is watch this video about taxis and sex trafficking.  It was a ten minute "video" of just text with someone reading out loud what the text said.  And the whole thing basically was just to tell us 'don't be a pimp and keep doing your job'.  Gee, thanks!  Because before that, I was gonna start pimping.  Also, Its a good thing that you made a ten minute video when I could have just read this stuff off a sheet in 3.

IN addition to the stresses of dealing with that stuff, there are also the stresses of being in the drivers seat of a taxi.  A week ago, I had a first for me that I was hoping to keep at bay for as long as humanly possible. 

I had my first puker.

I was working on a Thursday, and things were going as they usually do.  It was later in my shift and I was on 46th st.  A guy waves me down and proceeds to place a pretty intoxicated young lady into my car.  She had a little difficulty telling me where we were going, but I eventually got the address from her and put it into my GPS.

As we headed towards Queens, she was pretty quiet, probably sleeping.  Something going over the bridge must have upset her stomach though.  Once we were over the bridge, she made a noise of discontent.  I looked back in my mirror and saw she didn't look well.  She asked me to pull over.  As soon as I got to the edge of the road she flung open the door and let loose.  I offered her a napkin to wipe her mouth and once she was collected, we pulled off again.  But at the next red light, she flung the door open again and spewed again.  Thankfully that was the last time. 

After I got her back to her home, I got out to check the damage.  I was relieved to find that she had gotten it all out of the car with the exception of a little bit on the edge of the door frame.  I decided it was late enough and I was far enough from the city that I was going to just find a gas station to clean up what was there, then head back home for the night.

So, I got that out of the way.  And I hope its at LEAST another year until I have to deal with that again.  Or never.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

When two bloggers meet

So, I know how much I suck. I haven't updated my blog in way way WAY too long. And it hasn't been for lack of material. I'll be honest. I have been busy and when I haven't been busy, I've been lazy. But aside from promising myself and others that I would update soon, I actually had something really really cool happen yesterday.

I was just driving around like I normally do. Had a late start to my day and traffic was brutal at parts of the city. But I had just dropped of someone on 57th and I turned the corner onto 10th. And there was a man with his arm up. He and his family hopped in and we headed to their destination.

We got to chatting. First about my car. Then it comes out that he actually purchased a retired taxi and, what do you know, has a blog about it. And wouldn't you know it, I have actually read his blog and totally dig it. He travels around in his retired cab and actually has some great stories and photos of his out of place relic. Totally cool.

He couldn't believe that I had read it as all the other drivers he had encountered had never done so. He got even more excited when I handed him my card for this blog. This, of course led to a fun conversation about the biz and the cars themselves. And after almost missing their destination being so caught up in conversation, we ended the ride with a photo in the front of the cab.

Totally an awesome bit of kismet! He found me on Facebook this morning and sent me a link to the lovely post he wrote about our encounter. I urge all of my readers to check both the post and the rest of his blog out. He is a wonderful writer and an awesome dude. Thanks Mike for making my day!!

To see his post and blog check out:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I want to be friends with this woman!

Strolling through the internet, I found this article.  It's a little old, but this woman is rad.  And I wish there were groups for us lady cab drivers like she had back in the day!

Go Figure!

I almost didn't go to work today because my head started to hurt and I was also feeling a bit lazy.  But I took some headache tablets and kicked my own ass into gear and made myself go to my garage.  I am expecting a very exciting package in the mail tomorrow and decided that working was going to be a good distraction from that "kid waiting for Santa" feeling.

By the time I got to my garage, my headache was fading and I had a good feeling about the day.  I got a cab right away and headed into the city.  Between Purim and the Oscars tonight, I figured it would be busy.  And it was.  I picked up my first passenger as soon as I got over the Manhattan Bridge and from there it was steady.  Someone would get out and someone else was waiting for me.

I was up on the Upper West Side when I am flagged down by a group of folks headed out to a party.  They get in and one of them says to me "Hey!  It's you again!"  Turns out I had picked up the same guy before and he remembered me.  So bizarre when things like that happen.  I had a feeling of a repeat passenger before, but she dint remember, and I wasn't 100% sure it was the same woman.  But this guy today specifically remembered me.  I only had this group in my cab for a few minutes, but they were a riot.  Definitely in a party mood, and was a lot of fun.

Things stayed steady for a while.  Then it went to hell.  I was driving up 10th Ave when I noticed that when I pressed the gas, the car struggled to accelerate.  I noticed on the dash, the fluid indicator was flashing red and the thermostat was showing the care was all the way overheating.  At this point, the car was barely moving and I almost didn't make it up the block to an open spot before I could pull over.  Once I managed to pull into a safe spot, I gave my garage a call to tell them I had broken down.  They told me they were going to send for a tow truck.  At that point, all I could do was wait.

Over 2 hours later, the tow truck showed up.  I was just thankful to get into the truck where it was warm.  Since the car broke down, I couldn't have it on and running with the heat on.  So I was pretty cold.  The truck driver was super nice, though.  Very friendly and cheerful, despite his crappy night, apparently.  We had to pick up another broken down cab on the East side and drop him off at his garage in Queens before going back to my garage.  That guy had been waiting even longer than I had.
My car up on the tow truck.
Finally, we made it back to my garage.  I thanked the truck driver and after he took my car off the truck, I filled up the tank and went into the office to settle up.  Because I only actually drove for about 3 hours, they didn't charge me for a whole shift, and only for the few hours I did get to work.  So thankfully because it was busy, I made a few bucks and my night, despite it all, wasn't a total wash.  And on the bright side, I got to come home early and snuggle some kitties.  It wasn't the night I had hoped for, especially after the flat I had the other week, but it was okay.  And hopefully the rest of my week will make up for it.  I'll stay optimistic for now.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oogie Boogie! We Are Gonna Get You!!

So I mentioned the other day in my last post about a news story that WPIX was doing on cab drivers.  It was a three part story, so I wanted to wait until all three parts had aired before writing a post about it.

Let me start this off by saying that I first heard about this story because of the ads I heard on the radio while driving my cab.  The commercial played all day and on several different stations.  So I know it was playing in taxis across the city.  The commercial was alarmist and sensational and made it seem like all taxi drivers are crooks out to get the people of New York.  Great for a passenger who I am depending on for my pay to hear.  Honestly, the first thing I could compare the sound of this commercial to was when the KFC in the Village had a rat problem and the news sensationalized it.  In this case, I was among the rats.

As much as it pains me to share the links to the story, I don't want to be like the reporter who was very one sided.  So for journalism's sake, I am sharing these links.

Hack Job Part 1
Hack Job Part 2
Hack Job Part 3

Let me start out by saying that I get it.  Cabbies have a bad reputation for not wanting to go to the outer boroughs.  And there are certainly drivers who "cherry pick" for fares so they don't have to go to Brooklyn.  And I know that on certain nights, this is more common.  But this is not news.  I should also say that when I am out driving, I see other drivers who "cherry pick" and it pisses me off.  I don't like it.  I don't agree with it.

What I have the most issue with in these stories is how it makes all drivers out to be bad people, just trying to take advantage of our customers.  It over exaggerates the frequency of these instances making the few who do it some of the time into all of us who do it all the time.  Obviously for the people this happens to, that is what will stick in their mind rather than the dozen other times they get into a cab and have good service.  People don't remember good service in this industry.  They remember the bad because it gives them a story about 'that bad driver that one time who was oh, so awful'.

All these stories do is vilify an entire industry, including the good drivers.  It will make people think twice about taking a taxi.  And all that does is penalize the good drivers.  There are plenty of drivers who will take passengers to any destination without question.  But this story simply ignores us altogether and highlight the few bad apples for the sake of a sensational story.

In the second installment, they show TLC Commissioner David Yassky trying to hail a cab to Brooklyn during the evening rush.  First of all, some of those drivers may legitimately be "off duty" at that time because that is the shift change.  Second, as Commissioner, he should know that you should get in the car before telling the driver your destination.  I tell customers all the time who come to my window to ask me to take them somewhere to get in and THEN tell me where you want to go.  The second you ask me to take you somewhere and you aren't in my cab is the second you give me the opportunity to drive away from you(I won't, but other drivers might).

Thirdly, and this is the biggie, why is he so shocked and bewildered that any of this is going on.  You are the Commissioner!  You should know this is going on!  It is your JOB to know what is going on in the industry you are in charge of!  And honestly, he does know whats going on.  But instead of fixing the problem by doing more stings like the one shown, and catching and penalizing the drivers who are in the wrong, deterring others in the process, he issues policies like the new roof light system. 

I am very skeptical about the new roof lights.  It may make it a little more difficult for the crooked drivers to cherry pick, but I think the ones who are determined will find another way around it and carry on.  Instead, it may end up penalizing the honest drivers who as it stands now, as they are going off duty can pick up a fare if it is on their way home putting those last few dollars in their pocket which can sometimes make a day.  How it will work with the new system is yet to be seen.  Also, they say it is supposed to make it less confusing for passengers, but those who are used to the old system will have to now re-learn the lights, and for those who are on their way home, people will be less likely to stick an arm up to hail them thinking the car already has a passenger.

Honestly, I think it is a band aid on a much bigger wound.  For the sake of the honest drivers, they need to actually do something actively to catch the rule breakers instead of use a small deterrent which in the grand scheme of things, hurts the good driver.

What it all comes down to is the reporter, the Commissioner and the public of New York need to realize and acknowledge the fact that the bad drivers make up only a small portion of the taxi fleet.  There are lots of decent, honest, hard working drivers who are not out to get you.  They keep the city moving.  They put up with the police, rude passengers, traffic, bad drivers, high fees, and a million other variables just to get people where they need to go.  For some, like myself, it is a choice to join the industry.  For some, it isn't.  They may not have other job skills or connections, but they do this job with a smile and put up with all the crap that comes along with it so they can feed their families.  I do wish that the dishonest drivers weren't a fact of life, but in any industry you will have your bad apples.  But then you have lots of other shiny, bright and delicious apples.  They may not be the ones you remember, but they did their job and they did it well.
Not all drivers are bad guys! (photo courtesy of USA Today)