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Cabbie Chronicles

Updated on September 1, 2012
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The Life and Times of a Sudbury Cab Driver

People tell me I should write what I know - and I know cabbing! At least in Sudbury, Ontario, I do. This is a job where you never know what will happen every single day. Some days are great, some not so much. There is a TON of public misconceptions about cabbies and cabbing in this area. With this Hub, I hope to shed a little light on a few of those misconceptions. (Cab and Taxi will be used interchangeably...)

I’ll address wages, tips, and cab driver responsibilities in hopes that people become more knowledgeable and considerate of the people that drive them from point A to point B and sometimes point Z. The information given below has come from countless conversations between Sudbury cab drivers, cab dispatchers and cabcompany owners and myself.

1) Wages – Contrary to popular belief, the majority of Sudbury cab drivers do NOT receive an hourly wage. Sudbury cab drivers do not ‘’sit there’’ and receive an income while waiting for fares. What is received is a percentage – 40% of the sheet total (what the cab driver has brought in for the company) AFTER the company’s expenses have been deducted. Depending on the day, a cab driver can take home – for a 12-hour shift –an average of $85. (I’ve personally brought home much less than $35 for a 12-hour shift.) Which brings me to the next topic …

2) Tips – Never in my life have I experienced a city that tips its taxi drivers so poorly! All the day-shift cab drivers that I’ve spoken have indicated they receive what works out to be approximately $8.50 in tips per day and some days are better than others. Evening shift cabdrivers do earn a fair amount more in tips due to the action on the bar scene. Now, I’m not saying one HAS to give a tip, I’m just enlightening the public that cab drivers do their best to earn one. Most of the time, these tips go towards paying for our transportation to/from work (yes, even Sudbury cab drivers have to pay for their ride to/from work).

3) Responsibilities – A Sudbury cab driver’s responsibility is to ensure you get from point A to point B safely and efficiently. Many people are under the assumption that it’s a cab driver’s JOB to put your baggage/groceries/etc. in the vehicle and from the vehicle to your door. That is not so. That action is a COURTESY – has always been so – and one performed in hopes of increasing earnings with tips. When a cab driver loads, for example, your two cases of 24 beer, plus 11 bags of groceries into the vehicle and then carries them up 1 ½ flights of stairs at your destination and you not only do NOT give a tip but argue that you don’t want to pay full fare – well, that’s just plain ignorant and insulting! I am sure that if you were the cab driver, you’d be pretty darned miffed!

Additional courtesies that I (and many other cab drivers) have done are opening doors, assisting the client(s) in getting in/out of the vehicle, and have returned (at no charge and sometimes quite a distance) items that the client(s) have left in the vehicle. I have even paid out of my own pocket for client(s) that did not have enough money to cover their fare.

As a matter of safety and for legal reasons, parents of children that weigh 40lbs and under are responsible to provide a car seat for their child/children. A cab driver could get demerit points on their licence and/or receive a fine for transporting a child 40lbs and under without an appropriate car seat. It is NOT the cab company’s responsibility to provide such. And, if you think about it, regulations concerning car seats change so much that it is just not lucrative for the company to provide a car seat in every cab as a courtesy.

There is much more that I could add, including driving habits, personal safety and personal hygiene, however, I feel this is enough for one session. Thank you for listening and learning!

Patricia Morrison, who endeavours to be the kind of cabbie she wants to have

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