Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 10: An entrepreneur vs. St. Patrick's Day

An early fare yesterday was a 32-y.o. woman who'd just had a relapse. She'd gone out drinking with a friend, possibly some drugs... She'd been clean for a year. Unemployed for 4 years, spent 7-months in jail sometime for defending herself against her abusive boyfriend/husband with a meat cleaver.

The one after her was going to his narcotics anonymous meeting. Then I took some high-functioning special needs-types to their weekly lunch at the pizza buffet (long ways away - $23), then picked up another woman to take to the same event (2 miles, $6).

Then picked up someone to go to a women's meeting... 2 miles away. "gotta get out of here", so I headed north-west. Went 12 miles to a fare in a zone that had good potential, but no one was home at the address, and the neighbor said both their cars were gone. wtf?

Found a small fare or two, then I met the German couple, and my day got much better after that.

My intuition said to head east. After a mile or so the computer buzzed with a fare: "97 Yds, ACCEPT/REJECT?"  Turned left on the next street, and found a couple standing at the driveway of an RV-storage yard with a pair of suitcases. I asked if they'd been waiting long.
They thought they'd used the automated system to ask for a cab, but when they called after an hour had passed learned they weren't actually in the system. Which was very fortunate for me, because someone else would have gotten their 35-mile trip. He'd worked in the U.S. for about ten years, and when the R.V. didn't sell they put it in storage. They were flying out the next day. Four baseball fans came out looking for a cab just as we were taking out the suitcases, so that was really cool. I don't have to pay $2 to the company for the people that I find.

The Germans' hotel was in the best part of the valley for St. Patrick's Day festivities. Took several people to the party they'd selected. Then I accepted a fare. Called him, "hey I'm on my way, what kind of address is this, an apartment?"  He was at Radio Shack.

This guy commented on how he'd waited for an hour, and had seen any number of green cabs pass by. He was working on an invention, and was at Radio Shack to buy parts. Touch screen, and some other stuff for android development. He said he now likes Radio Shack much more than Fry's Electronics...

Cool guy. He show me his workshop, and his prototype.

After that ... I picked up a guy at an apartment complex. He was quiet at first, distracted. "what's that?"  I said "sorry, just small talk. You're kinda dressed up, but not like you're going to a wedding."

He manages a restaurant... Was out partying the night before, and his ignition interlock didn't let him drive to work. I guess it's a rather expensive restaurant, and sometimes people give him what's left of their $120 or $500 bottles of wine. He says there's a real difference to a good bottle of wine.

Picked up some partially-intoxicated sorority girls. They were annoying - had to wait quite a while before they all piled in. Shouldn't have allowed the fifth one in the car... Oh well. I also had to tell them they had to keep their alcohol in the back seat. Really ought to verify that that's okay...

After the girls I was almost out of time... I told myself "no more drinkers," and rejected a bunch of fares that were all 2+ miles away in the downtown drinking district. (The system offers up the oldest fares first.) Then I was offered one that was .7 miles. My intuition said to take it, and it was an arab-looking guy (?) with graying hair. He was rather pleased that I called only 5 minutes after he'd scheduled the cab, because he was told to expect an hour's wait. Dropped him off at the adult book store. He tipped rather well.

I picked another zone on my way back to base, and was assigned a $6 fare to take an AHCCCS patient to the urgent care clinic. Someone at a bus stop tried to flag me down. I said I couldn't, but his destination was on the way to my $6 fare, so I changed my mind and picked up another $6, which basically paid for the late fee ($5/15 minutes).

Didn't offer any suggestions to the AHCCCS patient - people tend to have a lot of investment in their conditions. The medical system works Medicaid for all the charges they can get, for most of them. If there was a motto, it would be "treat 'em till they die".

When I got back to the cab yard, it was basically empty - almost all the cabs were checked out. There were tons of fares outstanding fares from regular people, but my impression was that most of those  cabs were working the party districts in Scottsdale and Tempe. I would have worked for a few more hours on the non-party fares, but my time was up.

It was my best day so far financially, thanks to the Germans... Much better than the weekdays.

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