Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Profitable Night Before Impending Ice Storm

Okay, so I KNEW that weather was going to be bad way later on Tuesday night into Wednesday and that there was a good chance that I wouldn't be working on Wednesday (today). I was, in a sense, planning ahead, all day by hustling my butt off trying to make enough money to justify me even moreso in NOT working during ice, snow, sleet, cold, just bad driving conditions.

My first job on Tuesday was a $30 fare going from Worcester to Oxford. I raced over towards UMASS for someone who I knew would be needing a cab to Union Station and then at Union Station I got someone needing to go back to UMASS' Emergency Room.

This made me a little late in picking up my jail guys in Holden heading back to the jail, but... And traffic on 290 connecting onto 190 and then on to Shore Drive and even on Main Street in Holden itself was INSANE. Everyone was freaking out about impending bad weather and getting home early or just being out on the road doing whatever it is they felt they had to do all at the same time.

Dropping off at the jail, I knew there'd be another gentleman needing a ride to his work release job. The dispatcher hadn't announced this job yet, I assume because as usual, the work release job had neglected to fax over the guy's work schedule. I radio'd the dispatcher, told him I had Jim going to his work release job, same standard account number, same price, same desination, etc. Dispatcher says he doesn't have this job listed and that Jim would have to have his manager contact Red Cab before he could authorize me to get paid for delivering Jim to his job. Total ridiculousness. Total lack of communication between this place of business and the cab company. And all this guy wants to do is to go to work. And all I want to do is bring him to work and make $10 doing so. And all the dispatcher wants to do is make sure SOMEONE picks this guy up and brings him to work. But sonewhere along the way, the work release job just isn't adequately communicating with the cab company and you'd THINK it'd be easy enough to have a week's worth of cab rides scheduled and planned for. But no.

And before anyone tries to tell me how easy this would be to do if we did this or that or whatever... All the work release job has to do is fax the guy's schedule over ahead of time. It's as simple as that. Oh, and then the dispatchers have to make sure to put the job out when they're supposed to, which 9 times out of 10 is never the problem. Bad communication can kill a business and get a guy fired for not being on time for work.

Anyway... all that drama... Then the dispatcher calls me and says I'm up for the "mini" which is a short long distance trip. I drive from Worcester to Southbridge to pick up a guy needing to return back to Queen Street in Worcester for $50. I call the customer, inform him that it'll be at least half an hour before I can even get to Southbridge and he's fine with that. And I'm just happy that he calls me back a couple more times as I'm en route just to make sure I'm still on my way to get him. I find the customer and thus embark on a long voyage filled with expletive-filled stories of being done wrong, about how he broke up with his crack-addicted girlfriend, how he's probably on his way to jail for his umpteenth Operating Under the Influence charge (and all the legal entanglements involved in that) and how he got screwed over by the sprinkler-fitting company he worked for for a million years... and on and on. This is one of those cases where I was sympathetic for a little while, but once realizing that the drama was NEVER GOING TO END, I just had to go along with it until I got paid for the job and got him out of the cab.

The deal was that I was to deliver him to Queen Street, he'd go up to his apartment (now locked up by his landlord), get his ATM card and I'd bring him to the closest bank and then return him and his belongings to Queen Street. When I found out about the plan, I was skeptical about whether I'd get paid or not, but in the end he gave me $60 and I moved on with the rest of the night of cab driving. But man... how do you live with so much ridiculous complication? Alot of people do and as things get more and more complicated, it gets harder to straighten things out. Or maybe it's just easier going with the flow with this safety net of immense complication and b.s. surrounding you. You can just let all the drama carry you on to wherever it takes you, completely relinquish control and... oh my god that sounds pathetic. Oh well...

I spent quite a bit of time waiting at Union Station for train passengers needing rides home. I took care of my regular customers. I got a random fare going from downtown Worcester out to the back of Quinsigamond Community College on Burncoat Street for $12 and we had a great conversation about all kinds of stuff.

When I dropped off one of my regulars at the old Norton Company, I got a job out in West Boylston going all the way to Quuinsigamond Village for a whopping $27. I was very psyched about this! Especially when you've been waiting outside of this darkened business waiting to see if your customer is even going to be there after you've spent considerable time hauling ass to get there to pick them up... When she got in the cab and told me where she was going, I had to use great self-control so as not to start doing cartwheels or jumping up and down like I'd just been called on down to Contestant's Row on The Price is Right.

The night went really well and I ended up banking enough to justify not working on Wednesday, but...

The phone call that woke me up this morning was from a woman at Channel 4 wanting to know if I was cab driving today and if so, could they drive around with me to see what the road conditions were. Sorry. Not working. And if I was working, the roads probably wouldn't be all that bad at all and Channel 4 wouldn't want to pal around with me in the cab. Oh well.

And I just got texted by a customer needing a cab around 1 this afternoon, but I won't be out there today.

Where are these customers during nicer weather? And then people in general get all upset that they can't get a cab during inclement weather... Well, I have to weigh my options... Do I really want to run the risk of crashing a taxi cab and owing the cab company megabucks for repairs and possibly lose my job just because customers during bad weather need taxi rides? Sorry. Making $100 versus owing THOUSANDS doesn't add up in my book. And yeah, you can say "well that's what taxis are for", but I'm personally not going to drive in ridiculously bad weather.


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