I'm sure everyone is familiar with this scenario: You call a cab. You wait on the street, pretty much ready to fling yourself in front of any moving vehicle like a clucky spinster at a speed dating event. Twenty minutes later, still no sign of the cab. You call up the taxi company, tap your feet a little, throw a few swear words around and get them to "increase" your job. Twenty minutes later, still no fucking cab-bage. You call up again, incensed, and the operator assures you the taxi driver was there but there wasn't anyone to pick up.
This happened to me the other day, when I was inconveniently rostered on to work on a day when there were absolutely no buses running. When a taxi driver did rock up, about ten minutes after I was meant to start to work, he told me a very interesting story.
Apparently taxi drivers in each area are listed or ranked in a list for priority of getting jobs. Someone calls up, the highest ranked cabbie in the area gets first dibs. If he doesn't want to take it, that's cool but they take him off that list/the radio for half an hour. He probably wants to grab lunch or someone just hailed him on the street. Sounds like a great system, right?
Not so much. Apparently the job listings also show where the fare is going to. Lazy drivers don't want to "waste" their time on a $15 fare when they could get an airport job. But they're also sneaky bastards who don't want to get taken off the jobs list for 30 minutes, so they pretend they went to the pick up address and report no one was there, and thus keep getting first dibs on jobs. And then people like me get to work incredibly late and look bad.
Maybe when I book the cab, I should lie to the operator, and tell them that I'd be willing to go on a date with the driver because that's all the drivers seem to want from me. Maybe then I can get to work on time.
* If any of you lovely readers have any taxi horror stories, or actually know things about the taxi industry and feel like you need to correct me, please comment. In the mean time, read this slightly racist forum on Melbourne taxi drivers.
Thursday, July 22, 2010