Taxi Drivers

Listening to: Ben Folds - Sentimental Guy

So, this past Saturday was Lovefest 2008 in San Francisco. A friend and old coworker of mine came up for the weekend for the event, so I decided to attend to. It was basically an outdoor rave at the Civic Center with hundreds to thousands of people dressed in costume, one of those costumes being "naked old guy", and a lot of "dancing".

Anyhow, I'll recount one of the interesting things I learned this weekend and that was about taxicabs and how that service works.

Because it was a super packed weekend (there were two other huge events in the city that day), getting a cab was like the complete opposite of getting cholera on The Oregon Trail (side note: I beat the mobile game. My family died. I made it Oregon alone to start my own nail making business.). Every taxi we tried to flag down just drove by. We had to make it from Van Ness to 32nd Street. From what I remember, that's like five miles.

At first, I thought it was because I wasn't attractive enough to flag down a cab. Maybe the taxicab drivers only wanted to pick up nubile girls that just came from the rave, dressed in their clothing made of nets and floss. I think there was a massive sale on "green fairy wings" this week because I must have been stabbed in the eye by at least half a dozen of those.

Anyhow, cabs passed us by. Then I realized that they were full of people already. Every cab was full of people. There was nothing empty at all. It was not only frustrating, but contrary to what I've seen on television. Fortunately, I noticed cabs pulling into a hotel and we decided to wait there. In a short few minutes we were on our way.

While speaking to the taxicab driver, Jimmy, we learned how the taxicab service worked. The drivers essentially are independent contractors and lease the taxicab for the day only. It is more expensive to lease the taxicab on weekends, roughly $135. At the end of their shift, they have to return the taxicab with a full tank of gas and $135. Anything they make past that mark is essentially profit. So if you got some big shot millionaire and they threw wads of cash at your when they left, any fare you collected afterward would be pure profit.

Also, this particular taxicab company had a GPS system that transmits information regarding potential customers. Often times people will call the taxicab service to get a cab as opposed to just standing on the street corner and waving down taxis like a chump. So via GPS, the closest taxicab to the client is sent this information and they are asked if they would like to accept the client. This was like a quest in an RPG. "Would you like to pick up a client at 32nd & Clement? +400 experience points and +25 gold pieces."

After these conversations and learning about the taxicab world, I became really snooty. Every time I saw a person trying to wave down our cab in hopes of getting a ride to wherever they were going, I laughed in their general direction as we sped off into the night, Stone Cold Steve Austin and all.