Taxi driving in New York City, or any place is a service business. In the case of taxi driving, revenue is derived from one source, for two reasons. The basic rate of fare. This is how much a trip costs according to the posted price. This is usually controlled by a municipal organization. In New York City the rate of fare is controlled by the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission.
The other source of revenue comes from gratuities, or tips. This is, to some degree, controlled by the driver, based on the level of service he provides to his client.
No two taxi drivers earn the same amount. Earnings averages run the gamut, from less than a hundred dollars per shift to as much as three hundred fifty dollars per shift. This is net earnings, after expenses, in the pocket, before taxes.
What makes the difference? The key variables are:
o Time working per shift.
o Luck can play a small part.
o Talent or skill.
o Money spent on gasoline
o Time spent looking (cruising) for customers
o Safe Driving (A cab in the repair shop earns nothing)
Like any profession, the tricks of the trade a taxi driver develops will help as he becomes an accomplished professional.
KNOWING WHERE TO GO AND WHEN TO BE THERE:
By knowing where to be and when to be there the scope of cruising a taxi driver does looking for fares can be kept to a minimum.
No one can limit where the passenger wants to go. This makes knowing where to go and when to go there all that much more important. As soon as a taxi driver knows the passengers destination, he has time to plan where to point and drive the taxi after the fare in hopes of finding a new utaxi passenger as soon as possible. In some cases a fare will be standing waiting for the taxi as the passenger exits the cab. But this is not always the case.
Theaters, transportation terminals, convention centers and hotels all generate demand for taxi service. Knowing which show gets out at what time, when planes and trains will arrive, or local movie schedules and even what time shifts change at certain businesses are part of being a professional taxi driver.
Opening a door is not an outdated act of chivalry. It is the act of a conscientious chauffeur aware of the comfort and value he is adding to the experience of his client.
Can a taxi door be opened by a taxi driver every time a passenger gets in or out of a taxicab? Probably not. The street hail aspect of the industry the riding public is used to, has many passengers hailing, and quickly getting in to the back seat of the taxi with no help from the driver. That being said, it still allows for a large percentage of clients to have the door opened for them.
The exact amount of extra income opening a door is worth in terms of revenue to one New York City taxi driver will never be known. But, how many of those doors needed to be opened? All of them! The only question is who does the opening. Knowing this is part of being a professional.
By limiting how far you cruise looking for a fare a taxi driver can conserve gasoline. this will reduce expenses and increase earnings. This can be done by knowing where and when to be places, such as the Theater District when shows let out or in the financial district when workers get off from work.
This does not mean a driver should avoid cruising. It means a driver should have an idea of why he is cruising towards a certain area. There is no reason to cruise towards a warehouse district if all the buildings are closed. But, if there is a night club in one of the warehouses a taxi driver might want to check out the area and see if anyone needs a taxicab.
The second largest part of the income equation for a taxi driver is earned from gratuities. It is the custom in New York City and most places to tip a taxi driver for good service. Some people tip very well and others less so. Nonetheless a taxi driver in New York City can expect to be tipped for most, if not all rides.