Saturday, May 2, 2015

Human Behavior in Taxi Driving

Today is the first day of May, 2015. I am still driving the taxi but have been neglectful in publishing new blog posts about my and my passengers antics behind the wheel. So glad winter's over and spring has sprung in 2015. I have been meaning to write a post on the general behavior of taxi passengers and probably the most important lesson I have learned as a cab driver. From reading my blog it might seem as though there's lots of odd behavior from my passengers but the truth is there's much more stereotypes in human behavior than you might imagine. Most passengers behave in a pretty mundane and stereotypical manner although some do give me some insights into their lives, while hardly anyone asks me what I'm doing behind the wheel of a yellow cab as a white college educated guy. You might have read a previous blog post in which i detailed the various groups of people i see on a regular basis: Typical Night of Taxi Driving I wrote this post in 2011 and the stereotypes tend to persist throughout time.

If anyone will be giving me a little bit of trouble I expect it to come from the middle aged complainer variety - as previously described. One general rule of thumb is that the older and uglier a person looks, and the more disheveled, the more likely they are to have a problem with me or themselves or the TLC, or whoever they meet - better to mind your Ps and Qs with these guys... more information on this sort of thing to come....

The most business like are the just as you might expect the business men, the guys who get in dressed in business attire running to LGA for a biz meeting, never complain never have too much to say, pay a generous tip, get a receipt and leave. These are good guys if you want to make a buck behind the wheel.
Next up, there's always a lot of European tourists and when I say a lot I mean it. New York City is a dumping ground for Europeans, Brits, Irish, Scots, Italians, lots of French, Brazilians, Japanese, and Chinese. This past week I picked up a guy from Naples, Italy, nice guy with dark olive skin quite a talker, then two girls from Argentina with dark hair, a girl from Mexico on vacation, and some Swedish guys all in the same shift. Normally, they go back and forth to JFK airport. Its quite en vogue for foreigners to take a vacation in NYC, but doesn't anyone else visit? It seems as though the streams of foreigners will never end.

Next up, theres the young girls and guys i.e. white, good jobs, and below age 30 or so.... looking to go out in the city and get their freak on bar hopping. These sort of behavior starts around maybe 7pm or so. Normally they chit chat on their cells with their friends - having the most mundane sorts of conversations and this sort of thing just never ends but goes on throughout the entire night, its like "yes, we will see you at Wicked Willies on Bleecker with jimmy and susie! cant wait! hehehehe!" The weekends contain a lot more of these types of people whereas the weeknights are much more mundane; and let me tell you, the conversations are about as mundane and boring as you might imagine, most of the time....

One odd situation I found myself in a few years ago... I was driving around one Saturday night about 11pm or so, and I picked up a middle-aged lady on the right side of Second Avenue headed south. I could tell from the look of her that she might be trouble because she had a stern look on her face...she was standing in a sea of young people looking to pahtay. She had asked to go south to Third Ave and i believe 8th st or so. I knew something was a miss ...I turned on 13th i believe it was because 9th st has more traffic this time of night and of course she yells at me, I told you to turn on 9th .... no she never told me where to turn!!! or something like this, obviously her advice was wrong bc theres a ton of congestion on 2nd avenue below 13th, but this is just the sort of behavior one might expect from a middle -aged complainer - claiming some mistake that exists but does not really...This sort of behavior might also be considered the norm for some people in NYC in the way they treat customer service representatives. As a southerner, this isn't how we treat others and it just seems to be in a word odd.... but yet stereotypical for NYC its called NYC rudeness. just looking to get your goat.... the point im trying to get at, is that the other passengers out that night could've cared less about the taxi ride and were more concerned about partying down for the night....

The point being, the older and richer the person is the more likely they are to exhibit this sort of behavior, watch out for those guys wearing tuxedos on 5th Avenue and having lunch at the New York Athletic club, they might get your goat.

On the flip side of that coin are the ghetto guys who live in the projects. Watch out! They might hand you a counterfeit $20 or $50 or rip you off....and one way to tell is by how they look. If they can't afford the clothes or they missing a few teeth more than likely they gonna have a problem with paying a taxi fare. A few weeks ago I had a passenger, looking a bit on the poor side, a male riding with his  girlfriend. There was honestly no way for me to avoid passing him because he was right in front of another passenger who i had just discharged. Had I been cruising in an open area theres a chance I might have illegally turned him down. Anywho he gets in around the Wall Street area, and wants to go to midtown and of course he starts by complaining about the traffic, which was slammed this afternoon because of rush hour. He goes on about hows hes a native NYer and doesnt wanna be ripped by my wasting time in traffic. I said id offer him a discount but I knew this might not end well for me and thats just how things go sometimes. By the time we get upto the mid 50s on the east side the meter is at $38, the guy hands me a $20 and I'm getting ripped for half the fare! the point being I saw this coming ahead of time!

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