Monday, December 26, 2011

Only 34 hours to go

Well this is awesome-ish. I just took off this week for Christmas day; missed Wednesday too, but I managed to work every other day so far. This is my last Monday, tomorrow my last Tuesday, and Wednesday will be my final day. I actually feel like it is most likely that I'll find myself back in the cab business soon enough. It is like being wired into the flux of life in such a special way it is an addiction of the greatest most healthy kind. But there are a lot of factors that pull all the goodness out of the profession. I'm pretty sure that I'm always looking for a sign that this is my calling. I'm looking for a hidden message that all the fate and randomness of being in this big toasty warm Crown Victoria on these cold days will tell me that either I should get out while I still have the time to find something else, or that I should sit back, relax and enjoy the ride I bring.

And I have to say that everything I see in the news, the politicians and their disguised punches at the lower class, and the public in general, their disgruntled take everything for granted attitude towards the fantastic service they recieve, the traffic, yes!!! YES!! THE DAMN TRAFFIC!! and the overhead fees that just don't make it all worth the time!! There are so many rides out there, more than ever before. But the daily lease price I pay is $109.75 now, and I pay another $30 or $40 for gas, .50 cents per ride, and 5% of every credit card transaction comes out of my pocket as well. You can see that there are loads and loads of cash coming into big yellow taxis, but it's all trickling up out of my pocket. Easily I can take 15 even 20 rides and still be in the red for the day. 

A loss of a day, or a gain?
My Thursday was just such a day, wasted 3 hours and 15 minutes waiting at JFK airport and gave a ride to Kew Gardens for about 20 bucks. I called my taxi friend Gil for the best directions there, and he helped me greatly. Since I had a short haul ticket to get back to JFK within 90 minutes and wait on a shorter line to get my next fare, I decided to see Gil's new apartment in Richmond Hill and He treated me to a fantastic cactus burrito. Very nice neighborhood there, it reminds me of the old tranquility that we used to have in the East Village back when I was just a sprout in the 80's. You gotta get so far out to the ends of the city to find an apartment that even comes close to reasonable in living space and price. I parted from these quiet confines of interlaced streets with enough time to get to the airport with my coupon for the quicker line, but then I got a call on Gil's phone, D'oh!!! I had to turn around and return his phone. Yeah a taste of our own medicine, cabbie leaves phone in friend's cab. So I drove to LaGuardia Airport, waited there for an hour and ate that great burrito. By the time thursday was done I'd worked 11 hours, maybe it was the full 12, and I actually lost money. The way I see it though, is I got to see more of New York. I'm still finding new places and seeing fantastic environments after driving a cab for 6 years and being born and raised here, I got a nice new meal, I had time to enjoy both airports, I spent much of the day driving through empty streets in a more quiet New York, and all I spent was 15 dollars. I'd like to see you do better! You can't rent a car and pay for gas, get a big cactus burrito, cover 136 miles, and only spend 15 dollars in 12 hours, can you?? 

Good Taxi Karma:
Check this out though. On Friday, the day was all pretty mediocre until I had this really cool guy from Manhattan Beach California who had to go to JFK. From there I took Atlantic Avenue back toward the city. I figured I didn't have enough time to go back to Manhattan and pull more cash in before the taxt was due for return in Brooklyn. But the most awesome string of luck hit me all in the mighty boro of Brooklyn!! 

I got $11 dollars for a ride from Bergen Street and Flatbush Avenue, to Atlantic Avenue and Court Street. While I looked to pull away, people stopped me and climbed in to go to Ikea in Redhook, another $12 bucks. At the Ikea a man was looking for a yellow cab and walked in. He took me all the way to 91st street and 2nd Avenue, paying me $37.80 with a credit card. I was really scared that I was cutting my time restrictions really close with that one. No waiting, no searching, my intention was to be off duty, but another lady hailed me before he even got out of the cab. She had to go pretty much around the block, from one school building to another. The ride was 3.80, she gave me 4 bucks, and with that I flicked the off duty light on, and raced back to the garage. This was one of the most amazing strings of luck I've had in a long time. A consecutive run totaling 63 dollars in about 50 minutes. I was just gonna go home early and then wham, lucky times, that's taxi God magic juice!

The pluses of today, minute by minute:
So let's get back to today being awesome-sih. On the plus side here today, I went to Starbucks and got a Venti, that's a large for those of you who don't speak Starbuckese. I got a Venti for the price of a small, or, tall. When you're an early bird, the other people who have to work these crazy hours sometimes throw you a small favor every now and then. And as I've written this blog post, I've had 5 trips already from this veteran cabbie pick-up spot on the upper-east side, transporting people to the local hospitals. I figure today will be slow, that it'd be best to count on these people, everyone else might be off, and they have so many days off that even the airports will continue to be in practical hibernation. 

My Steady cab needed to be checked on today, so they gave a different car, I think I've already had my few hours to get comfortable with the mirrors, and I found that if I sit on both my pillow and my comprehensive city map, I can drive it well. Oh let me correct myself, still not so sure about the mirrors, I'm a bit of a nervous guy, everything can always be better and always needs improvement. Nothing is more important to my than my side-view mirrors, what with my partition putting a block on my left blind spot. 

the ride run-down up to the minute:
Anywho, I now have $19.70 in net/gross earnings, minus 2.50 for the five rides is $17.20, plus $3.70 in tips, which comes to 20.90, that's not right, it should be all dollars and no change, as it's all been cash so far, anyway woohoo I just got a $14.20 ride, with a 2 dollar tip, but it was a credit transaction, so that's 16.20 minus .81 cents, so that's an extra 15.39 added to my gross total, minus another 50 cents for the ride, so 14.89+20.90 = 35.79 minus 5 bucks i gave my dispatcher in the morning, minus 2 bucks I spent on the coffee, and I now have a total of 28.79. in the end I will have to spend another $140 on the lease and the gas, and maybe another 10 bucks for the ny state taxi ride tax. Alright! Now I just got a 13.40 ride with a 2 dollar tip but again a credit; so that's another 15.40 - .72 = 14.68 - .50 = 14.18 + 28.79 = 42.97 - 140 = -97.00. Yep I'm down just about a hundred bucks, than I hope to make another hundred bucks so that I can go home with some profit. A hundred bucks profit on an 11 hour work day translates to a $9.09 per hour salary. So you see, I'm doing this as a hobby that gets my by. And the chances that I'll even finish the day with that right now are very slim. I gotta pee

... intermission..

Ahh it has now been 20, or 30 minutes since I had to pee. I drove around in a circle of sorts- a right on 51st street from 7th ave, a right on 8th avenue, a right on 54th street, a right on Broadway, and I parked the cab at the McDonald's a the corner. I took my laptop and Starbucks cup over to the S.Bucks across the street. Unfortunately I found both bathrooms displaying a vacant sign and yet they were locked. I waited 30 seconds, and then decided to try somewhere else. Most likely this location has decided to lock the bathrooms so only customers could go after they asked. I fell into an iffy category, as I had purchased coffee that day from a different location, right back around when I started writing this post at around 5:30am, this location was about 6 miles away, and 4 hours apart. I walked back to the cab putting my laptop under my pillow and my coffee cup back in it's place, and I put my winter jacket on. I walked two blocks to the Sheraton Towers and used the wonderful facility over there. Swwweeet!! My ride rundown is now a 7 dollar ride with a 3 dollar tip, in cash, and a 4.20 ride paid for with a 5 dollar bill in cash. So we can now add 14 dollars to my gross income, that'd be 15 bucks minus one dollar for the state's pockets. Let's do a recount of it all and see where I'm at...

I've got $108 in my pockets. 
I've made $37.20 in credit transactions
a 5% transaction fee takes away $1.86 
I came in to the day with $70 to make change for my customers.
I gave $5 to my dispatcher.
I paid $2 for coffee.
The state takes $4.50 for the 9 rides within the confines of New York State.
The garage will charge me $109.75 for the privilege of driving the cash cow, Queen Crown Victoria.
I've driven 30.7 miles so I predict that results in around 7 dollars, or 9 dollars.

and so the tally comes to... drum roll please... YEP!!  If I returned the car right now I'd go home with negative $56.91. Oh wait, I just gave a 9 dollar ride with a 4 dollar tip, so now we have negative $44.41.

Not bad, not great by any means, but I wasn't going to break the bank today. It is now 10:17 in the morning. I have 5 hours of driving within the next 2 hours I will have made the money I need to pay off the all the charges. And then I'll have 3 hours to perhaps make my $100

I only, only, only, only have 30 hours to go-oh-oh!

    sorry, couldn't help myself, a little Ramones for you, a piece of New York, from Forrest Hills, Queens. the the famous now extinct CBGB's in the East Village.

And now finally, I've found internet, at my favorite spot in the lower east side, a nice health food store just around the corner from Katz's. It's now 12:39pm and my meter tells me it has grossed $102 dollars. not a good sign as I need to get the meter to gross $225 to give me a profit near $100. Obviously despite my quitting on Wednesday, I've already checked out. I still have 2.5 hours to make 10 to 15 rides and my hundred. This is not out of the question. I will put the laptop away and get hardcore with this M.F. right here, teehee. 

and so now... I only, yadayada, have 28 hours to go!


Final Update: I made 31 dollars, for an hourly average of $2.95 per hour. I'm just happy I made money. Another driver said he made 20, and another said he had only 10 rides to my 21, so go figure.

7 comments:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Wow, what a day u had... I can't believe the $3.84 lady that only gave u $4 for the ride.... I guess that included her big tip of 16 cents?? Had no idea u had to give some of your tip to the dispatcher, etc... not fair.. that tip should be ALL yours.

NYC taxi photo said...

ah that was just the first half of the day, and it was so much more low key, slow than normal. at the end of the day I may have made a 31 dollar profit. This comes to an hourly wage of::

$2.95 pr/hr -profit

nah i don't pay my dispatcher out of tips, I gave him a tip so that he treats me good... off days, holding my car..etc..

pretty crazy that this was earned from 21 rides. we need 30 to 35 rides usually to make 100+ dollars, though often we get 25 rides if a few of them are long distance. this day all of the rides were short and yet still I only pulled 21 rides. I asked around and the other drivers made even less.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

jeez louise!.. people are so cheap.. don't they realize you are providing a service? I guess I am sensitive to those who are in the service industry.. I've never been a waitress, taxi driver..I think people forget that the work is hard and sometimes thankless...I seem to over tip because I know if I were in their shoes I would want to be appreciated.

Star said...

It's helpful to see your costs (they all sound relatively reasonable except the flat use fee of almost $110 for the cab! wow!), thanks for sharing. Hope things work out well for you, and that you'll keep us posted through your blog. Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to you.

Henry Krinkle said...

I know how you feel about the negative numbers. I had to pay $70 just to lease the cab for a day. Somedays you wouldn't even make that, somedays you'd make $400 - although that was quite rare... I was intrigued by the element of chance. The gamble of it all....

Gil Avineri said...

TGMJ! taxi god magic juice!

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