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AAA Yellow Cab Taxi Driver
The inside of a taxi is not the most consistent environment when considering each occasion one is called. The taxicab is as unique as the driver of the vehicle and just as odorous. My experiences with taxi services for medical transportation has been an ongoing battle with gratitude and loathing.
The service, which is covered by insurance, is the source of so much stress (and convenience) that it is impossible to give a baseline since service is never consistent.
Though it lacks consistency, without that transportation service many Arizona patients would not have the ability to travel to medically related appointments.
This is not a blast towards the AAA Yellow Cab Company. It is an evaluation of this company's taxicab drivers in conjunction with the medical transportation services they participate in. Conspicuously, service towards cash-paying customers far exceeds insurance-paid customer's experiences.
To provide a fair assessment of the transpiration experience, consideration of the taxi driver is paramount. I have spoken with a number of taxi drivers both male and female of differing races, nationalities, and religious persuasions to gather some perspective. There is a system that these independent contractors called taxi drivers use to make money, which determines just how dedicated they are to taxi calls from medically related fare.
Taxicab drivers have to meet a daily rent for the cost of using their taxi. If it cost $150 daily to meet this draw, until the driver earns that amount in fare, he or she has not made any take-home money for the day. It is important for each taxi driver to take fare that will help him or her. The weekly total for renting the taxi can be very costly unless the driver owns the taxicab.
How easily the draw is to achieve depends on the car. If the car is an older model of taxi, the draw will be lower, but gas cost will be higher. If the car is newer, it most likely is a hybrid electric/gas car and the draw is higher. Gas cost are relatively low.
Meeting the Draw is not a problem.
Have you ever been in a AAA Yellow Taxicab?
A lucky few drivers decide to purchase their car. Luck does not have much to do with not having to pay rent to the company to use its cars. One such owner, called Jake to protect his identity, indicated that it is not enough to own one taxi, but several!
He purchased several taxicabs, one which he drives himself three days weekly. He rents the cab cars out to other drivers at a lower rate than the actual company does so that the drivers can make more money. It benefits the company because its brand is still used and it still gains income from some of the fares. It benefits the drivers because they take more money home.
Repairs are the responsibility of the owner of the cars, which can be a downside; however, Jake, plans to expand his fleet of cars. Jake intends to move on to other business ventures when he gains enough drivers to taxi his cars.
Being an owner operator is not an issue.
AAA Yellow Cab claims to have over 350 cabs in Phoenix and 150 in Tuscan to service the needs of a growing clientele.
Vouchers are what drivers use to transport medical patient from one location to the next at not immediate cost to the passenger. These vouchers are a means by which drivers get paid to taxi around their medical fares. AAA Yellow Cab Company conducts a substantial amount of business with the insurance companies and government for vouchers used to pay for transportation of patients. The AAA Yellow Cab Company wants to turn a large profit, and it does.
One driver reported that the company focuses its drivers towards the vouchers because the company earns the most money from them. He revealed that the company takes upwards to 50% of the income earned from the vouchers, whereas it gets none of the cash-paying fare.
Many drivers I have spoken with about this occurrence dislike the arrangement, but are resigned to continue working with the company because AAA Yellow Cab is forthcoming with its policies from the beginning of contractor/company relationship.
It does not hide the fact that it pushes drivers to take vouchers above the cash clients; otherwise, it would only gain profit from the daily rent paid by the drivers on the cabs..
Other taxicab companies take smaller percentages of the voucher in Arizona; yet, these drivers tend to be loyal to the money-making machine of AAA. On its website, AAA Yellow Cab states,
Yellow Cab is a voucher-oriented company. Over half of our business comes from medical service providers and agencies that offer transportation to their clients.
Because of this fact, pressure to accept these fares are high; nevertheless, the voucher fares are voluntary and not all drivers readily accept them.
Because the vouchers pay less, drivers are not always happy to take them. Besides less pay, there are the customers who go along with the vouchers. Some of the drivers have interesting things to say about a few passengers--stories, funny or friendship stories.
Others had nightmare stories. One thing these taxi drivers shared was their disdain towards drivers they knew who avoid all voucher calls. People who contract to the company knowing that vouchers are half of the fares, but refuse to take them are in no small shortage.
It makes it difficult for the dispatcher to get transportation to the homes of customers if drivers avoid the fares. When finally a driver is found who will take the fare, he or she is late causing the customer either to reschedule the appointment or arrive there late.
This makes it more difficult for the drivers who try to complete the voucher calls because the customer then blames the taxi driver who did not get the call to get the client until 30 minutes or and hour after the scheduled pick-up time!
Of course, the customer is upset! The driver bears the wrath of an irate client when he or she may not even know that they are considered late.
The driver becomes the scapegoat for all the other drivers who passed up the call, though he or she is actually the dutiful one!
Many times the driver will arrive at the home of a client only to be told his or her service is no longer needed. The cost and time lost driving to that fare is not rewarded to the driver.
Sometimes the driver is expected to waiting an absorbent amount of time for customers.
This then leads to the Voucher Avoiders. These people avoid the calls because of the bad experiences they had with voucher customers.
The ironic things about the situation is that those who avoid the bad experience with the customers by refusing to do voucher calls are causing the experience! It is a cycle of avoiders who perpetuate the issue for good drivers.
Now that is the problem.
Frustrated Drivers Are The Issue
Frustrated drivers are the problem other drivers have at AAA Yellow Cab with medical vouchers and not necessarily the customers.
The customers can be a pain to the drivers who have to wait for a person who decided not to get ready for the trip until the cab driver appeared. If the customer has a wheelchair or other medical paraphernalia, it means the trip will be longer, but the pay for the voucher does not increase.
Drivers who avoid vouchers make it so that other cabbies have to go out of their way to meet the needs of customers for the sake of the company and risk extreme times between potentially lucrative cash fares. This creates stressful situations for clients and contractors.
Doing vouchers means that the driver is not going to get great earnings as mentioned before. The company gets 50 percent of the earning on a voucher and vouchers are 50 percent of the business AAA Yellow Cab gets.
Also, those drivers who only do cash-fares also feel like they are getting ripped off if the customer uses a debit/credit card.
Marc Weber Tobias
- How Taxi Companies Rip Off Their Drivers - Forbes
If you have been aggravated about what you perceive as high taxi fares, especially in New York or other major cities, and you think the drivers are making off like bandits, think again. I have been interviewing cabbies in major cities across the coun
Marc Weber Tobias contributed an article to Forbes suggesting some reasons that could add to AAA Yellow Cab driver's frustrations causing them to avoid further being frustrated by taking voucher calls:
- [T]he cab companies charge the driver a percentage of the fare in order to process the cards. That fee can run up to ten percent...
- [A]ccepting credit cards, according to many drivers, is the delay in payment by the cab companies
Because they knew when they became contractors with AAA Yellow Cab what the deal was with the pay and work, these frustrated drivers should accept the situation and take the vouchers or contract with someone else.
If the fare for a vouchers is absorbed, then all the driver needs to do is record all of his own figures and mileages and submit them to the company as do many drivers.
Drivers complain about the fare imbursement, but the power to make sure they receive proper pay is their responsibility and requires them to do a little extra work.
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© 2013 Rodric Johnson