I was hanging out in "the cage" waiting to pick up a cab. I guess after 9 months of hardly working as a driver, you are in a place to tell people what is up. There was a guy there that was obviously new, something I could empathize with. I asked what he was up to, and he said it was his first day. Trial by fire. I asked if he had gotten the list yet, and he said "what list?" How much do I show this guy? I cant baby him along or he will be eaten alive later, but he seems like the type that will stand here all day.
He is a white dude in his late 30's, glasses, bald, chubby. Probably me in a decade or so. I wonder what happened that he is here now? What in his life led him to yellow taxi when he is supposed to be comfortably making a living and counting his retirement money. Whatever.
"Go ask the dude behind the bulletproof glass 'Do you have anything available?' He will then give you a list of numbers, those are the cab numbers. Go outside and see which one you want. Make sure it turns on, has 4 wheels, the lights work and the dispatch system works."
He laughed. I wasnt joking. I once pulled off the lot with a car with no computer in it. No meter, no dispatch system, no radio. I thought it looked big when I was checking the inside.
"Oh, make sure it has gas too. You can top it off and be reimbursed if its more than 3 gallons." Some guys figure out miles per gallon, and fill up that many miles before they turn in. 16 mpg x 3 gallons = anything less than 48 miles free. That is why I was waiting, somebody I know and trust was turning his cab in. I knew it ran and had a full tank, and only 270,000 miles.
The guy comes back a few minutes later and sits down with the list.
"Did you find something?"
"Yeah, only one started and its filled with garbage."
"Ok, tell the guy behind the glass that you'll take it,and give him a dollar."
New guy walks over there and does it all sans dollar.
"You must want to drive shit cabs forever... you arent ever going to get a good cab that way."
Its true. If you are argumentative or don't tip, the guys in the cage give you a list of shitty cabs, or they just give "your" cab away. I got one last week that way. It was a guy's regular cab that he put into the shop WHEN THE WHEEL FELL OFF. He got a replacement, and they gave me his. He saw me at the airport and tried playing it cool, then got argumentative. He tried scaring me into turning it in, so he could get it back. You never own a cab, you just lease it, but guys do believe they are entitled to the same piece of shit for years on end.
I wonder if the new guy made any money?