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How To Be A Cab Driver
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How to Be A Cab Driver

When I was a college student I drove a cab in Salt Lake City. My department head at the university wanted me to work only for him and he wanted me to quit. He asked why I would prefer to drive a cab to working in the engineering laboratory. The answer was simple. I earned on the average $1.75 / hour driving cab and sometimes I got lucky and made more. I earned only $1.00 an hour in the laboratory. I was married, had a son who needed his mother's care, and the money I got as a veteran wasn't all that much. So that is why I learned how to be a cab driver.

My Department head was not stupid. He immediately raised my pay, finally paying me about $3.50 / hour when he landed a good research contract. Then I could get by although I had no money at all when I graduated and had a hard time getting to my first engineering job in Colorado. My new boss paid my first month's rent and put some food in the house. I know some men who paid all their college expenses by operating an Internet business. That is a lot better way to go than driving a cab part-time.

After I graduated, I remember looking at cars at a dealer lot and the son of the owner of the business said that I could buy a 1939 Chevrolet convertable for the $1.39 cents I had in my pocket as a down payment. He knew that I was an engineer and that I would soon have my first pay check. At least then we had wheels.

People drive cab when they can't find other work or they just want the independence of being a cab driver. We leased our cabs for six or twelve hours. I always leased for six hours in the afternoon because that was when people were actually using cabs. Mornings, evenings and weekends were usually for the birds, few passengers and low tips..

In some areas, cabs are owned by the drivers. If you don't have a cab you can drive for an owner. To qualify to be a driver all I had to do was obtain a chauffeur's license which was a simple thing to obtain. Some localities may and do have other restrictions but there were none placed on me. I was told to drive on through streets so that if I got into a collision, I would most-likely be in the right. I was told that if I drove out of town to pick up a spare tire first. They were the only rules.

One think I liked about driving a cab was the people I met. Airline pilots and attendants were good tippers as were entertainers. One entertainer paid me in nichel coins he had won on the slots at Las Vegas. Business men were interesting to talk to and sometimes a business man would have me stay with him a good part of the day. I made less that way but I enjoyed watching them work if they were doing something that I could watch.

Sometimes patrons would reserve my cab for a certain time the next day. If it turned out that I could not get to them, I always radioed to the dispatcher and told him to send a cab.

Now days some cab drivers have computers in their cabs. They can scan the net while waiting for a fare. I use to communicate by a jitney operator in Atlantic City by Morse code, he had a key strapped to his leg. With cell phones, nobody is short a communication method these days.

Because of the ability to communicate, a cab driver can actually operate a business from his cab. If he is selling on the Internet he can take orders and have the products shipped right from the cab. I guess that if I could have done that, I would have been able to make more money, especially at night and on weekends when things were slow. At any rate, business can be conducted by cell phone.

If you are driving a cab for a living, you also can do other profitable or enjoyable things during lag times. What would you like to do?

Fly Old Glory!


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