Friday, September 2, 2016

The Perpetual Quest for Decent Fares

Most taxi fares are short trips. The taxi company's meter started at $2.95; some people's fares only got up to $3.20. The minimum for an insurance-paid trip was $6. It’s hard to make money with a bunch of $6 fares.

Every taxi driver has a strategy for getting large fares. Some drivers will spend hours in certain areas hoping for a 30-mile trip from a resort to the airport. Some will stick to the areas where they’ve gotten lucky before. There are good fares everywhere, so I went to the areas my passengers took me and listened to my intuition.

A friend of mine recently pulled up to a random house in the east valley. The passenger started to bring her bags out. He asked for her destination, so he'd be ready to depart. She was going to Snowflake. My friend was floored: “you know that’s a $300-400 trip, right?” The passenger had been quoted a price by the dispatcher, so she knew what to expect. My friend couldn’t take her because he would have been 2 hours late getting the cab to the night driver. But he transferred the passenger to his friend, who appreciated having a nearly $400 fare.

In my 3.5 years of driving, the best fare I ever had was a trade. It was a relatively short trip. I made out like an bandit.