Friday, April 27, 2012

Taxicab Vacation: Visiting Santa Monica

I'm a few leases behind in my fare reports. Sorry about that. Maybe I will be able to catch up tomorrow.

A few days ago (must've been Wednesday) I left Arizona to visit Santa Monica, which is in the Los Angeles area. The excuse to my family was that I was going to visit the Multiplaz office, for a demonstration of their plasma welding machine.

To get to Santa Monica from Phoenix, you take I-10 to the end and turn right. Ferdinand kept telling me to get on California-60, but I ignored those instructions. While Ferdinand is usually pretty good about getting me to where I need to go, sometimes he's a hapless explorer...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


As of April 1st, AHCCCS patients now have to pay a $2 copay for non-emergency transportation. Since I'd been doing nights for 2 weeks, I hadn't needed to collect a copayment from any destitutes yet.

My 1st passenger from this day was at a doctor's office. The screen said to collect the $2, so I made sure that she was aware of the new policy. She grumbled, and paid up at the destination. The message on the screen says we're supposed to collect when they get in, to prevent them from hobbling away. I guess I should do that next time.

Not much to report from this night, other than it was the last time I shared the cab with the other driver. There was supposed to have been one more night, but his contract with the cab company was canceled, and I got some cash back instead.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

22: degrees of intoxication

My first fare of the evening was in the West Valley. I called the passenger when I got to the location where I was to pick him up - he talked very quickly, and 'no habla ingles'. I hung up, called dispatch, and asked if they had someone who could call and interpret for me. A few minutes later my phone rang, and I learned that he was walking as quickly as he could.

I asked the fellow to sit in the front, so that I could better read his non-verbal directions. One thing I noticed right away was the alcohol on his breath. He was friendly, and said that he was going to visit 'la novia' (girlfriend). I refer to him as 'the happy Honduran'.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

21: couples, foreshadowing, fast food, and foreigners

My first fare this Friday evening was a woman who works for a warehouse, right next to where my ride-share lives. It's not a big fare, but she takes the (city-subsidized) taxi home 5 days a week. I gave her my ride-share's number so she could call him directly. He could pick her up at the end of his day, and this small fare could really add up over time.

I picked the next fare up at a bar. The tension between the couple was palpable for most the ride - the lady was not happy, for unknown reasons. I caught something about them having cats, so I asked what colors they were. One is black, the other tiger-striped. The black one's name is 'Raisin'.

The tension instantly melted when the conversation was shifted to their beloved cats. Raisin named himself.

My third fare remembered me from the night I had the sprinter. In literature this is known as 'foreshadowing'.


Monday, April 9, 2012

20: round-trips, the company cabstand, and a super-debugger

I'm a little behind - I hope it's okay to post two diaries on the same day.

On this evening I found my first passenger at her gated townhouse complex on a major street in north Phoenix. Her destination was a house about a mile and a half away. After I dropped her off, she asked for my card, and said she'd be ready to go back in two hours or so.

The next passenger was a long time in coming. I went to the Desert Ridge Marketplace and bought some mini-carrots at Target. They were rather repulsive (preservatives? manufacturing residue?), but I ate them anyways. My next fare finally came an hour after the previous was dropped off. He was at the hospital, and supposedly had a hand held voucher.


19: antidotes for women, and a different kind of 'candy'

This evening started out with a visit to the John C. Lincoln hospital near home. Two women emerged when I approached the emergency room entrance.  Eventually I decided theirs was a mother/daughter relationship - mom had gone to the E.R. with stomach problems.

The daughter wanted to make her mom something for dinner, but mom was NOT hungry for the fish that was being offered. "you've got to eat", "I'm just not hungry."

I asked what kind of fish, and they said 'salmon'. They did not, of course, offer whether this was wild or farmed salmon. But even that doesn't matter: even though wild salmon does have a lot more antioxidants than the farmed variety, it still gives you fish burps after you eat it. I too would avoid salmon if my stomach was bothering me.

If I was sick, I'd make jello. I told them that this is the kind of protein that keeps me going while taxicab driving. Mom immediately perked up - this was something she could eat.


Friday, April 6, 2012

18: refugees from Phoenix, drunk indians

At the start of this shift I headed to Scottsdale, figuring that there are plenty of people in that area who can afford to take a cab. I picked up a passenger in east Phoenix that took me to Scottsdale Rd, then took the guy from a massage establishment further north on Scottsdale Rd, to his hotel in Oldtown Scottsdale.

Then... nothing. There were a lot of cabs in the area, and this was a Monday. I surveyed the available fares, and it seemed like the east valley was being neglected. I got on the freeway headed south for the greener pastures in Tempe and Mesa.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

17: A charity fare, the dancer and her patron, and the allure of 'candy'

This diary is about Fool Day 2012, which fell on a Sunday. My first passenger was going from his apartment on Camelback to Oldtown Scottsdale so he could get his car.

My brother called as I was later driving north on Scottsdale Road, and I absentmindedly turned east on McDonald. Two miles later my next fare was offered. Zones can be pretty large, but my absentminded turn put me within a 1/2 mile of the address.

This fellow punked me good for Fool Day 2012, and he and the next two passengers perfectly positioned me to lend a ride to someone who needed it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

16: Three trips to the Corral

Not much exciting to report from Saturday night. First passenger was dressed up in a tuxedo, and was sort of drunk. He had a flower on his lapel, and confirmed the event was a wedding. Hours later I found a polaroid-type photo on the back seat. If I had a scanner I'd post it, if K5 had image tags. Cest la vie.

Around 1am I considered a fare in Zone 208, even though it was probably quite a ways. I asked for the fare, and was told "14.8 miles". I decided to take it, and started north on Scottsdale Road to Cave Creek. This was a good decision - not a lot of cabs make the journey to 208, and I was able to work the bar for a couple fares, including a group of boisterous women who paid well.

The passengers were at Harold's Corral, which is a western-themed restaurant/bar. This was the end of bike-week (?), and there were lots of motorcycles in that city. I pulled up looking for Taylor, and a drunk old dude tried to get me to ditch Taylor and take him instead. My responsibility was to the person I was assigned, and sure enough, eventually he appeared.

Monday, April 2, 2012

15: The sprinter, the addict, advice from a cop, a cutie, and a player

Two or three weeks back, when I took the two special-needs fares to their pizza party, I rolled down the window to chat with another driver for the same cab company (who had also brought a fare to the special-needs pizza party). He leases his cab for a week at a time.

A week ago he called me to see if I was interested in a 'ride share'. He works during the day, but spends the evenings with his family. This leaves the cab sitting in his driveway all night. The company charges an extra $157 to put a second driver on the cab - if you work 7-nights it can add up to a significant savings. I don't know if I'll stick with it, because I'd sorta rather sleep at night.

But night fares are mostly cash, and you get a different type of passenger. This past weekend I worked my first Friday night, and met my first sprinter. And I'll certainly never do better in terms of $-per-foot than the (likely) meth addict who'd refused medical intervention.