If you depend on transit, occasionally, you’ll find yourself in a cab, like I did today. I was downtown at a breakfast for the Georgia Conservation Voters (I’ll write more about that later) and clearly missed my bus. I knew I would, but did not feel like driving down there and finding parking, when the depot is right outside of the MARTA station. I had resigned myself to calling a cab from Arts Center to get to the office. I really should have taken the bus to CTC and hopped a cab there, but I thought I’d get one quicker in town. They fooled me!
But, I learned a great deal about the life of a cabbie today. I used Atlanta Checker Cab, my cab of preference, but don’t ask me why. I guess cause they seem old school, with their Checkers. Anyways, I sat up front with my cabbie, and, like usual, started asking questions because this is what I do. Perpetual three year old (can I get a WHY!?!?!?!?) But I noticed that he had lovely colored stickers on his cab, one for January, and one for February.
“Do you have to get a new sticker every month?”
“Yes, they are from the insurance commissioner and we must have a new sticker for each month.”
“How much does that sticker cost you?”
“It costs me nothing. It costs the company $140 and that is included with my weekly fees, but it is not itemized.”
“What are your weekly fees, then?”
“$600 for the sticker, dispatcher service, and maintenance.”
“Geez! So how much do you clear in a week?”
“Sometimes, not even the $600. When times are good, I can make a thousand, when not good, $400 – $500.”
So, cabbie dude works 12 hours a day and clears $600, not including gas, and there are no benefits. This is a little over $30,000 a year, and less than minimum wage.
So now my question is, how much are you supposed to tip the cab driver?