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I Quit Just in Time

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Samarov
1421 Rider
 Posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Yellow Taxi Garage

In 2012 I walked away from the taxi business never to return. Looking back on it now I feel fortunate to have gotten out just in time. Earlier that year Über entered the Chicago market. They recruited me right away because I had a book out about the taxi business. Back then they were all about making their service seem like a hip new thing. There was practically no work but among the people I drove using their app was comedian Reggie Watts. The company worked hard to recruit taste-makers to their cause. I didn't care much for using the iPhone they gave me as a dispatcher and made very little money in the couple months I used it, but even a dummy could tell that Über or something like it was the future of the public car business.

In the years since the taxi industry has wilted while the rideshare racket keeps replicating like rabbits. I have no nostalgia for an industry which treated drivers like garbage so I will not cry for its passing. Because I don't have a smartphone I occasionally have to take a cab and calling one is an excruciating experience. When I call, I have to listening to a recording listing addresses I haven't lived at for a decade before I can get through to an operator. Often times it takes two or three dropped calls before anyone answers. If, as has happened several times, two people call from different cellphones but the same location, the operator grills me to swear I'm not ordering two cabs for one fare. It's profoundly unpleasant. 

The few times I've been a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, I've noticed several things. First, the drivers' complete and slavish reliance on nav systems rather than either listening to passengers or ac...

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Yellow Taxi Garage

In 2012 I walked away from the taxi business never to return. Looking back on it now I feel fortunate to have gotten out just in time. Earlier that year Über entered the Chicago market. They recruited me right away because I had a book out about the taxi business. Back then they were all about making their service seem like a hip new thing. There was practically no work but among the people I drove using their app was comedian Reggie Watts. The company worked hard to recruit taste-makers to their cause. I didn't care much for using the iPhone they gave me as a dispatcher and made very little money in the couple months I used it, but even a dummy could tell that Über or something like it was the future of the public car business.

In the years since the taxi industry has wilted while the rideshare racket keeps replicating like rabbits. I have no nostalgia for an industry which treated drivers like garbage so I will not cry for its passing. Because I don't have a smartphone I occasionally have to take a cab and calling one is an excruciating experience. When I call, I have to listening to a recording listing addresses I haven't lived at for a decade before I can get through to an operator. Often times it takes two or three dropped calls before anyone answers. If, as has happened several times, two people call from different cellphones but the same location, the operator grills me to swear I'm not ordering two cabs for one fare. It's profoundly unpleasant. 

The few times I've been a passenger in a rideshare vehicle, I've noticed several things. First, the drivers' complete and slavish reliance on nav systems rather than either listening to passengers or actually knowing the city. Second, the weird breakdown of the personal/professional line between passenger and driver. In my day, someone sitting up front was a breach of protocal unless there was no more room in the back; in the rideshare experience there's an illusion of familiarity which I find profoundly disconcerting. As a bicyclist, the brazen and careless way ridesharists use bike lanes for drop-offs is a constant source of frustration. But in the very near future, rideshare will be the only game in town. So, what is to be done?

I have no idea what I will do as a passenger once taxis are no longer an option, but I do have a few suggestions for drivers remaining in the business. If I could stomach sitting behind the wheel more than a couple hours a month, here's what I'd do:

1.) Learn the city you work in.

2.) Listen to your customers rather than blindly following a machine's directions.

3.) Cultivate your own clientele. None of these companies are your employers. You're running your own business and can do a better job if you're not hampered by middlemen.

4.) Don't use dedicated bike lanes as if they're your curb to idle in for minutes at a time. It's elementary to demonstrate some minimal human decency in sharing the roadway.

5.) Treat the job as a job rather than some "fun" side gig to earn a few extra bucks. It's a very difficult way to make a living even if you're good at it but a complete disaster for the amateur.

6.) Light a candle each night for self-driving cars to arrive and free all of us from the nightmare of driving.

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Comments

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    RedANT
    1075 Rider Driver
     1 year ago

    1.) Learn the city you work in.   (AGREED)

    2.) Listen to your customers rather than blindly following a machine's directions.  (MANY CUSTOMERS ARE ABSOLUTELY CLUELESS.  Learn your city and ignore the backseat drivers)

    3.) Cultivate your own clientele. None of these companies are your employers. You're running your own business and can do a better job if you're not hampered by middlemen.  (That may work for a taxi, but it's strrictly forbidden for TNC drivers)

    4.) Don't use dedicated bike lanes as if they're your curb to idle in for minutes at a time. It's elementary to demonstrate some minimal human decency in sharing the roadway.  (Agreed.  I just wish they learned to use their own damn lane and stayed out of mine)

    5.) Treat the job as a job rather than some "fun" side gig to earn a few extra bucks. It's a very difficult way to make a living even if you're good at it but a complete disaster for the amateur.  (DISAGREE.  If you aren't...

    Read more...

    1.) Learn the city you work in.   (AGREED)

    2.) Listen to your customers rather than blindly following a machine's directions.  (MANY CUSTOMERS ARE ABSOLUTELY CLUELESS.  Learn your city and ignore the backseat drivers)

    3.) Cultivate your own clientele. None of these companies are your employers. You're running your own business and can do a better job if you're not hampered by middlemen.  (That may work for a taxi, but it's strrictly forbidden for TNC drivers)

    4.) Don't use dedicated bike lanes as if they're your curb to idle in for minutes at a time. It's elementary to demonstrate some minimal human decency in sharing the roadway.  (Agreed.  I just wish they learned to use their own damn lane and stayed out of mine)

    5.) Treat the job as a job rather than some "fun" side gig to earn a few extra bucks. It's a very difficult way to make a living even if you're good at it but a complete disaster for the amateur.  (DISAGREE.  If you aren't enjoying it, you're better off finding another career that you can get excited over)

    6.) Light a candle each night for self-driving cars to arrive and free all of us from the nightmare of driving.  (Self driving cars are a techie pipe dream and won't be around for many, many years.  When I was a little girl we were told aboout miraculous Jetson's style flying cars tat would one day come, but eventually reality set in and people moved on.  Someday, so shall you)

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      cheesehead
      521 Driver Rider
       1 year ago

      Yeah the self driving thing is waaaay further off than people think. Maybe in 20 years. Maybe. There are so many issues people don't think about. What about driving in snow? They're testing these things in frigging arizona and california. Half the year in the north they can't handle the weather.

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    GregoryMoran
    9
     1 year ago

    Did you own a medallion?

    Show Hide  2 Replies
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      Samarov
      OP 1421 Rider
       1 year ago

      Luckily no.

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        KamelKamelKamel
        79
         1 year ago

        NYC Medallion was $1.5MM.  I heard yesterday they are selling for $150K in the bankruptcy market