Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Flying in my taxi...

Back when I was diving cab in Belmar NJ at night I would get some drunk in the car pissing and moaning about his $12 cab ride. "I bet you guys make $300 - $400 a night." Uh, yea. I worked for a company that had about a dozen or so drivers, each working 12 hour shifts 5 days or nights a week. It was a company owned vehicle that my boss paid for the maintenance and insurance and we split the cost of fuel 50/50.  When fuel prices went through the roof, I had to spend $40 out of my pocket for half of the gas.

My paycheck was based on a 40/60% split of the night's book, 40%  for me, 60% for the company. A good "average" night would be $200 book, $80 for me, $120 for the boss. It was her car, dispatchers and overhead. $200 book might come with $50 - $80 in tips, so $150 a shift in pocket was decent. Of course along with it came abusive alcoholics, college girls puking on you and the constant threat of a crackhead stabbing you in the neck with a rusty knife. In the summer with the "Jersey Shore" crowd the driving was non stop along with the aggravation. A Saturday night in July you might take home $225 with your migraine and hatred for humanity.

When the economy started to take a dive bartenders in my cab were crying the blues too "Everyone is buying a six pack and staying home." I thought "Good, they're all assholes anyway." Of course this didn't pay the bills. The calls for cabs got fewer and the tips dropped off, on a Monday night in the winter I might book $80 with $20 in tips. After dumping $20 to $30 in the gas tank of my Crown Vic I walked away with less than fifty bucks in my pocket for 12 hours of sitting in the cold.

The last few months I drove, by payday I might have $100 in tips, and maybe a $200 paycheck. From the $200 paycheck $110 was taken out for child support. Now for the record I have no problem with paying for my kid. However the state of New Jersey seemed to be under the impression that cab drivers must not report thousands in gratuities. I was liked as a driver, but not that much.

I'd open up my pay check envelope to find a check for $90 for 60+ hours of work. I shared a house with two other guys in a winter rental off of 18th ave where we each paid $700 a month in rent. Yep, $2,100 for a winter rental where the landlord would let himself in unannounced and turn down the thermostat because WE were costing him a fortune. But that's another rambling tirade....

Why did I quit my job and move down here? Do I need to explain further?

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