Home / Blog / Into the Driver’s Seat: On the Eve of the First Shift

Into the Driver’s Seat: On the Eve of the First Shift

I’m trekking over to Team Systems Taxi Fleet at 4.30am tomorrow with two goals in mind:

  • To watch the sun rise in New York City from behind the wheel of a yellow cab
  • To prevent my passengers, my cab, and myself from running into any serious calamities

Naturally my ridiculous purse will be stuffed to overflowing with all the things I assume will be essential:

  • Caramel Nips for nice passengers
  • 5 borough street atlas (We actually get a ticket from the Taxi & Limousine Commission if we don’t carry this in our cab at all times.)
  • Receipt book (Even though the meter prints receipts, we get a ticket if we don’t carry this, too.)
  • Pop-up map of Manhattan (which details all those pesky diagonals in the Village)
  • A list of taxi stands, hospitals, department stores, tourist attractions, transportation terminals, hotels, parks, major museums, Central Park transverses and street entrances to water crossings
  • Manhattan street decoder (to find cross streets when a passenger only has an address)
  • Snacks (almonds, goat cheddar cheese, an apple, a banana and a hard-boiled egg) and water
  • Umbrella
  • Tape recorder (No recording passengers without their permission, of course)
  • Cell phone (which I am not allowed to use under any circumstances while the cab is in motion)
  • Note pad + many pens
  • Camera
  • $20 in small bills + extra money for coffee
  • Portable coffee mug
  • Hack license
  • Driver’s license
  • Pepper spray
  • Team Systems instruction manual for new drivers
  • Tissues
  • Paper towels and tea tree oil (my cab is gonna smell great -at least until someone barfs)
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Celtic good luck charm my first boyfriend gave me for graduation

You’d think I was flying to Fiji.

Even with all the supplies, I can’t hide the fact that I feel totally unprepared for what I’m about to do. Not only have I never been behind the wheel of a cab in the Biggest Apple, I’ve never even had the pleasure of driving a car in this crazy city. In other words, the bulk of my New York geographical knowledge is in the abstract.

So I’m guessing that sliding into the driver’s seat in the wee small hours of Sunday morning will feel something like the difference between reading a cookbook and standing in front of a stove and whipping up a fillet with red wine reduction and truffled mashed potatoes.

Still, there’s a chance that they might be all out of cabs over at Team Systems tomorrow…

Stay tuned.

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  1. The caramels made me smile… :) I wish you all the best tomorrow, I know that you are nervous but everything will turn to be great! Can’t wait to hear all about it, I wish I was the lucky one to get in your cab for the first time! :) Break your leg, my friend!!

  2. I thought of you because I am trying to turn what would have been a jackolantern in October into pumpkin curry for our potluck tonight… not sure how this will go, if I open it and it doesn’t smell good I will redirect the mission. So I finally logged onto your blog – having an easy to remember site is great! Now I want to know more! How did it go?



  3. ohhh, I looove driving in NYC. It is so exciting. You really have to get the ‘way’ of the city and at night you can catch greens for 60 blocks. It is remarkable how few accidents there are actually. And people are so focused that you don’t have time to say thank you, you just drive, let people in, assert yourself, be safe and look out for others. It’s an exhilarating synergy. Be safe and confident!

  4. Becca! Wish I could taste that pumpkin curry. The first shift went pretty well, though it had its rocky moments. I’m trying to chronicle the adventures as they unfold…

    JO – You are so right. Driving in NY is all about synergy. There is some strange mojo that allows all of us to somehow fit and share these tiny streets. It’s a crazy dance, and I’m slowly beginning to learn the steps. Be safe and confident – right on!

  5. What a list! Who knew a cabbie needed so much stuff? I’m learning a lot. :)