In the few years I’ve driven a taxi, I’ve witnessed the evolution of the typical cab customer: from the old standard of cash-paying clients, to plastic paying ones. The cabbie’s hatred of plastic has cast a negative shadow on the industry. A fare is a fare, and all cabdrivers should happily accept your credit card (I don’t care how my customers pay me), but I think it would be helpful to understand why paying with plastic can break your cabdriver’s heart.
A cabdriver’s operating costs are around $50,000 or more each year, assuming they are a legal, licensed and insured business. Broken down, that would be about $20,000 for gas, $26,000 for the cab lease, and rest is miscellaneous ( car washes, city licenses, and out-of-pocket upkeep). Assuming a cabbie works 6 days a week, 52 weeks of the year, he or she will have to earn over $160 a day just to cover operating expenses. So next time you cringe as you watch the meter climb, know that there are real costs behind that meter.
We get paid in three ways:
With certain cab companies not paying their overages on account customers, and with banks taking 5% off the top, that leaves the driver with fewer resources to meet the bare-minimum of their operating costs, much less to pay their bills. Keep this in mind the next time a cabbie looks deflated when you offer your credit card in payment. For me it’s all the same, but I’m not fare to fare like some.
At the end of the day, all cabbies are in the service-industry, which means we need to offer what our customers want in order to be successful, but my advice to people is that if you liked your driver, had good service, and can pay cash, you should do it. I’ve also observed cabbie behavior long enough to have seen that cash paying customers get better service, and get cabs quicker. Cash paying customers are worth their weight in paper-gold.