Advantages And Disadvantages Of Being A Taxi Driver - Part 2
There's not a lot of kudos in driving taxis. In fact some people treat you like a second class citizen. But then considering some of the people we are transporting, it is understandable. The thing is not to take their behavior personally because there are many advantages of being a taxi driver. It can be a thankless job at times but generally most people are appreciative of the service they receive.
Types Of Passengers
Generally you can categorize the types of passengers you pick up in a taxi.
First, there are those who cannot afford a vehicle. They generally go short distances, but multiple quick trips can accumulate over the course of a shift. Then there are those who for some reason are unable to drive a vehicle, e.g. elderly or disabled. They often require extra assistance and frequently have subsidised fares, but some of them travel long distances and can end up being quite lucrative.
Then there are the businessmen or tourists who require temporary transport. They are generally the most substantial fares because their company pays for the taxi. Last, but not least, there are those who have consumed or intend to consume alcohol.
One advantage of being a taxi driver is that you generally get paid immediately. Over the course of an average week, about half of your income is cash and half can be account work. Account work takes about a week to be paid into your bank account. Taxi vouchers, which are processed manually, can take a little longer. But overall it's a steady, reliable income.
If you give good service you can also get cash tips. These range from a few cents up to about $30 depending. Customers who want you to pick them back up later in the evening can be good tippers, especially if they anticipate having to wait for another taxi.
Beware of colleagues who steal jobs that are allocated to you. If they are from an opposition company I don't think there's much you can do about it. But if the other driver works for your company and you can prove theft of a job, you can make a complaint to your Manager who may be able to recoup the money for the lost fare.
Most people know about runners who escape without paying their fare. I work in a reasonably small city but I would hazard a guess that the problem is worse in larger cities.
There are several ways you can deal with a runner. If it's a small fare, you may not want to do anything about it. I heard about a taxi driver in Auckland, New Zealand who was prosecuted for intentionally running a passenger over who failed to pay a $15 fare. You have to ask yourself if it was really worth getting a criminal conviction.
You can chase the runner, but be careful because your dealing with a criminal who probably has no scruples and could be under the influence of drugs. I've only had one runner in the five years I have been driving and I chose to chase him in my vehicle.
I turned on my hazard lights and tooted my horn loudly to alert the public that something was wrong. All the time I was saying to the runner "The police are coming mate." I didn't actually have time to phone the police, but telling him that made him run faster.
The funny thing was the runner had no choice but run along the road. He couldn't go into any businesses or residential properties or I would have followed him. He finally escaped by running through a park almost back to the point where I picked him up. It wasn't about the money for me, I just wanted to teach him a lesson.