Passengers of taxis think of cabs and cab drivers as a way to get from point A to point B and, it’s true, that is what they are there for. Rarely do passengers consider, however, the job of the driver, what their experience is like, and what their day entails. If you think about it, it must be difficult to deal with so many people in one day, especially if the taxi driver works or lives in a densely populated city.
Can you imagine what it would be like working as a driver in New York City or Los Angeles for example? Not only is it highly crowded, but chances are you will run into or have to drop off at least one customer who is disgruntled and having a rough day and decides to take it out on you. It seems like a job that requires very thick skin, that’s for sure.
It also doesn’t seem like it’s the safest job in the world. As a taxi driver, there is no barrier between yourself and the passenger you pick up. So if you happen to pick up a lunatic or a murderer, your chances don’t exactly look good. Now that you’ve started to consider what it might be like for cab drivers, here is a list of facts you probably did not know about the job:
1. Speaking of it probably being a bit dangerous, a recent survey reported that the occupation of a taxi driver is the tenth most dangerous job in the United States. it’s not very surprising given that if a person is driving they are a much easier target because they can’t keep their eyes off the road.
2. Drivers who work for taxi companies usually do shift work. The hours can be the same every day or can vary slightly and early morning/late night shifts are very common. The shifts can last anywhere between 8 to 12 hours. Taxi drivers also need to be available to work on very short notice.
3. Here’s a tip for you: if you see a taxi with a light on top displaying the word ‘TAXI’, that means that they are available to pick up a passenger. Once they have picked someone up, the driver will switch the light off.
4. According to a CNN survey, the French Minicab drivers are said to be the rudest. This was closely followed by Italians and Greeks. That’s too bad, but they’re probably dealing with annoying tourists on the regular so who can blame them.
5. On the flip side of the coin, New York City taxi drivers have a reputation for the best story-telling skills. They can begin a conversation with a simple ‘hello’ and weave it into a tale of endless myths and wanderings.
6. Many taxi drivers are migrants and though it’s easy to assume they’re uneducated, a high percentage of taxi drivers have degrees from their home countries and find it difficult to land positions that correspond with their qualifications.
7. In Morocco, small taxis are available in major towns and are metered according to the distance that is travelled, whereas larger taxis are used for travelling to areas across towns and can be shared between travellers.
8. Lastly, a history lesson: The two-way radio that allows cab taxi drivers and dispatch officers to speak to one another and serve customers like you more effectively, first appeared in taxi cabs in the 1940s. If it wasn’t for the radio, you would just have to wait till you saw a cab.