“It’s not enough to drive. You’ve got to become a driver. You’ve get to get the right attitude, understand?…The road is a jungle, get it? A good driver must roar to get ahead on it.”
– Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger
The road may be a jungle, but before I join the other animals, I’ve got to find a garage that will lease me a cab. At this particular economic moment, when the number of hacks in New York far exceeds the number of yellow cabs available to drive, this isn’t going to be easy.
The day after I got my yellow cab license, this reality smacked me upside the head when I discovered Gil Avineri’s blog.
According to Avineri, who offers insights from behind the wheel on Taxicab Almanac of NYC, “These days the only way a garage will secure you a cab is if you agree to slave away six days a week. That’s 12 hours a shift. That’s 72 hours.”
Part-time cabbies like Gil – who work three or four 12-hour shifts per week – sometimes show up at the garage and are turned away because there are no cars to drive.
Most of the time, they have to wait: “I show up at the drivers’ lounge between 2 and 3 am, in order to be first in line among the ‘non-steady hacks’. I wait until 5 am or so to be assigned a cab by the dispatcher.”
Since I plan on following Gil’s lead and taking the non-steady hack route, I’m bracing myself for long waits and cab-less shifts. Unless I can find a garage that’s sympathetic to my part-time plight – and is into the idea of leasing one of its taxis to a shrimpy brunette who doles out candy to passengers.