Driving the slow winter days

rickshaw taxi

I drove Friday and Sunday during the day.

During my shifts

  • Fridays are usually busy, and this Friday was no different. Even though I didn’t get out until an hour later than usual I was still able to make almost $200. This Sunday, however, was very quiet. I didn’t even make $100.
  • I was lucky and got an unusually large number of airports on Friday. I must have gone to SFO about 4 times.
  • I took a SF resident and her friend from Italy to Church downtown. They were talking about dinner and the host said that they were planning to go to an Italian restaurant later that night. The Italian lady pitched quite a fit. She made it pretty clear that any Italian food outside of Italy is crap.
  • I took a guy to the Eagle. I learned they are home to an infamous Sunday all-you-can-drink party from 3pm to 6pm on Sundays. If I ever get the day off this sounds like a fun thing to check out.
  • I took a young couple from the Lower Haight to the Inner Sunset to look at another apartment. They had looked at 6 or 7 places the day before and were on their 3rd of the day. They had only been looking for a week. I didn’t bore them with my rant about rent control causing all these problems, but I did console them that if their search only takes a week they’ve set a new record for shortest housing search in the City.
  • Sunday was a very, very quiet day, but for some reason everyone tipped really, really well. I’m not sure if they realized it was a tough day to work in the City, or if I paid extra attention and made an extra effort to converse since passengers were few and far between. Perhaps both.
  • Friday I drove a spare car, one of the fleet’s two Chrysler Sebrings. I’m not a superstitious person, but I get a good feeling when I start off with a ‘good car’. A car qualifies as a ‘good car’ if it has less than 200,000 miles, all lights work (headlights, turn signals, top light and brake lights) work, the heating/ventilation system works, and the brakes aren’t worn down. Spare cars, like the Sebring, are usually pretty crappy, but this one was okay. Thanks, Sebring.
  • The kicker is that there is almost no correlation between whether or not I’m driving a ‘good car’ and how much I earn. Only if the top light is out can that really impact earnings. The rest is up to the chaotic chance of demand for taxis during a given shift.
  • I tried to brainstorm which Muni lines (warning — large .gif) are best to find stranded passengers. After some brief thought, it turns out almost all of them are good. The 1-California and 47/49 (along Union) are great on weekday mornings, as their passengers are anxious to get to work on time to impress their bosses and they have excessive disposable income. The 38-Geary is one of the busiest lines west of the Mississippi so there are always people waiting, but the buses are pretty frequent so stragglers hail only when things get really bad. The 24-Divisadero (along Divis) is great because its frequency is inadequate for its ridership and at peak times can get caught up in traffic. The 14 and 49 (along Mission) are best early in the morning when frequency is low and the BART does not run. 22, 33, 71, N, J, F and cable cars are other good lines to poach. The 19-Polk is a notable exception. I don’t think I’ve ever had a Muni exile from the 19-Polk.
  • Today I let a few buses merge into my lane. Usually I’ll blow past them even if they have their left turn signals on, indicating passenger pickup is over and they’re ready to merge with traffic. Sometimes I feel bad for the old beasts, especially the articulated rolling stock. I have a hard enough time not hitting the idiots that jaywalk without looking. I couldn’t imagine what it’d be like with a vehicle 4 times the size of my car.
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