Monday, February 15, 2016

The kind of hassles NYC fleet taxi drivers put up with that can still make Uber X look good.

You can tell from the dispatch receipt that I was clocked in at the garage at 13:34 and I got dispatched at 16:00. That means 2:26 minutes just hanging around. I put the time to good use because the other drivers who got there before I did are kind enough to let me sit on a bench where I have a wall to lean against and a plug to connect my cell phone chager. So I blog, read the news, bullshit with other drivers, doze, etc. No one is paying me, not yet. Oh, I'm rated pretty highly too (Silver, 259 points of a high of 292 and up for a Gold rating). So I guess I don't get the worse treatment. 

So it's four o'clock, I've got the key and the key to my taxi du jour. Now to find the car. I go to the usual spots, and guess what? It's in the last place I'd look- the body shop. It's filthy.

It's filthy alright, and the body workers have had the engine running all day, my taxi is the one that they took their brakes, meals and naps in and they had the engine running and the heat on full blast. I  go to the dispatcher and get his permission to get on the gas line and have the car filled up.

The car is short four gallons but the gas pumps have frozen up.
So I take the car to the car wash, then push and argue my way back onto the gas line. Finally, my gas tank is filled. Three hours and twenty minutes after checking in, 54 minutes after being dispatched.

Ready to  roll. I made $182.00. A lousy night, not caused by Uber.- How do I know? I picked up a passenger who happens to be a stripper.  She only made $23.00. I smell recession in the air.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Uber drivers offer free rides.

Unfortunately this Google Play services pop up is driving me nuts.

It's been a couple of weeks that this pop up appears on my smartphone screen, sometimes four or five times in rapid fire, sometimes at intervals of several minutes.

I've Uninstalled all Google Play updates. I send reports frequently. 

My phone is a Samsung S4.

Friday, February 12, 2016

That New York City Taxi App, ARRO might use some improvement

As some of you know, I am a 69 year old veteran New York City taxi driver. Generally I drive whatever taxi my dispatcher has available for me four nights per week. I work more or less twelve hours a night. I don't own a medallion.

A few months ago the App ARRO was installed into thousands of taxis. It's not a smart phone app as far as the drivers are concerned, though of course for passengers it is a smart phone app. I always have been skeptical of the mix of taxi hail app and New York street hail (yellow) taxis. (Well, for the past few years). Back in 2013 I wrote a piece for the online Guardian that pretty much demolished Hailo in New York City. The management at Hailo weren't enough on the ball to take steps to prevent that article from appearing on their first Google search page in New York, and I know it hurt them. As of now Hailo doesn't operate in North America.

ARRO does not raise the same objections regarding driver and public safety that Hailo did. I do, however find a couple of problems with it that I hope can be improved upon. I suppose there is no way for the app to "know" what direction the taxi driver is moving in when he or she gets a ping. Also, I guess the app cannot "know" that the car being called is stuck in a traffic jam. That's too bad. Generally in "Yellow taxi land" (that's Manhattan south of West 110th Street and East 96th Street) I only get a ping when I am stuck in terrible traffic.There's no way I am going to accept a ping under that circumstance, unless I know where the passenger is, and that's my big beef with ARRO: The driver must first accept the ping in order to find out where it is coming from. This has led me to "bail out" on many ARRO pings. I accept it and find out that it is too far away and taking me too far from my passenger base to be worthwhile for me. Now, I get the impression that ARRO is in a bit of trouble, because of two things:

1- I get pings when I am in the depths of Brooklyn late late at night. I winder why a green taxi, which outnumber yellows in that time and place, isn't responding to this ping. My guess is for whatever reason Green taxi drivers have decided that they do not profit from this app.
2- When I "bail out" on a ping I get a message telling me that I am in jeopardy of not getting another call soon, yet as often as not I do get one fairly promptly after I have bailed out on one. This tells me that ARRO does not have many reliable drivers responding to its calls.

Now, I'm just a taxi driver. Maybe a lot of thought went into the decision not to let a driver know where their prospective passenger is until they've accepted the job..I'm sure I'm not the only one who bails out around half the time and.if that's true, ARRO has a number of ex customers spreading bad news about the app.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Frankie Boy Report and New York taxi vs. Uber update

Friday Uber X cut its rates by fifteen percent in New York City and in other places. I didn't drive on Friday night but I did drive Saturday night and Sunday night, so I have an impression of the impact of Uber's move in its war to destroy the New York City yellow taxi: Meh....

Saturday night I made clear, after every expense, even breakfast was subtracted $263.00. For me that's pretty good, but not for Frankie Boy.

I must admit that Uberx's nominal fare cut might have impacted my Saturday night by causing surge pricing as all the no tipping cheapskate app tapping cretins were seeking a cheap ride together, simultaneously,  causing a shortage of Uberx goobers available for exploitation. The cheapskates, I suspect, were weeded out of the Uberx market and went to hailing yellow cabs. So I was ferrying no tipping bridge and tunnel yo yos into the depths Brooklyn, Queens, and eventhe Bronx.

Frankie Boy is a remarkable guy who drives out of the same garage that I do. His detailed, colorful and loud nightly recapitalizations with commentary of his taxi driving highlights entertain many of us as we stand in line in front of the cashier's window. He even does Q&A.

Frankie boy almost always makes more than I do. He's a couple of decades younger. Also, as I receive a small pension that includes medical insurance as well as a monthly Social Security check I don't have the devil riding my back every minute of my shift like Frankie Boy and most of the other drivers. I can take a.lousy night in stride.

Right now I am sitting in my taxi for the shift at Pennsylvania Station. Sunday night was.good, in my context. Hopefully a nice long ride into the Bronx will find me before five this morning.