Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday night

The La Jolla lady from last night didn't call. I'm disappointed.

Tonight I had all great rides, to places like PB and Mission Beach. There were three trips over $40 each, plus many in the $20-30 range. A very nice evening overall, and I'm still working for another three hours or so. It's nice to make my week's lease and half again in a single night.

The most interesting ride of the night were two Navy guys who are in the middle of BUDS training. Today they ran 10 miles, then swam two miles in 51 degree water. They said one guy stepped on a stingray and was stung, and during the swim two guys developed hypothermia, or close, and had to be hauled out of the water by the instructors. It sounded very, very tough. They were going from 32nd St. naval base to Avis near the airport so they could rent a car. They get weekends off and want some wheels. Fare: $16, tip $3.

When the dog days of summer arrive, I'll wish it was busy like tonight. Speaking of summer, August is our slowest month, although December is often very slow, too. August is, of course, the international vacation month, and so very few business conferences are scheduled. San Diego floods with tourists, but, with all due respect to tourists, they're much more concerned about their budget than business travelers. A tourist will rent a car or spend the time to figure out the trolley system, or even take buses (the horror!). I make most of my money from business travelers who don't care about the cost. It's amazing how standards improve when you can get reimbursed later.

I was too nice on tourists, honestly. I have great conversations with them, but compared to professionals, they can be a pain in the ass.

The Business Traveler

"Take me to the train station." Fare is $18, gives me $22 and asks for a blank receipt (so he can mark $35 on it and screw his employer). Exits the cab in less than two seconds and is gone from sight in three.

The Tourist

Want to know how far the train station is and how much it will cost, then they might try to haggle. For the record, accepting anything other than what the meter shows is illegal, and I only break this law if a sincere military man, or woman, begs for a discount. They guarantee my freedom, so the law can suck ass for all I care.

The tourists will hem and haw, sometimes for minutes on end, looking at watches, pulling out bus schedules and the like. They might ask me how far to the nearest bus station. Husbands and wives argue about how much money they're spending on the trip. If they decide to hire me, they need the trunk opened so coolers and beach chairs can be stowed. Then they pile themselves and their children into the car, complete with wet bathing suits and towels full of wet sand.

En route the wife will whisper into the husband's ear, loud enough for me to hear, that the driver might be trying to screw them. When we arrive, they'll be shocked that the fare is $18, even though they were told precisely that. I would be lucky to get a $1 tip. I then have to stop at a gas station and spend $.75 to vacuum out the sand.


NYC taxi photo said...

Where do you get those blank receipts? when i used to work during the week, i had some people ask me for them.

as for here, i enjoy the tourists better, but it probably has more to do with the busy traffic that the business people go into. maybe tourists in new york expect to lose all their money when they get here.

riders from the beach must suck.

Ted Martin said...

We get business cards with a blank form stamped on the back, which is the receipt. I only fill them out by hand if people ask me, and then only after I find out what the tip is.

I ask what they want me to fill it out for, and then they look at the meter. If they say the same as the amount showing on the meter, I hand it to them blank. When they get indignant, I say that if I get stiffed, I don't do any labor beyond the driving.

Some people have a lot of gall.

What I wrote about the biz traveler v. the tourist is somewhat misleading. I picked the best and worst from memory. Most are somewhere in between. A lot of tourists are great. I tend to remember the bad ones more readily.