EDIT: Currently 10:12 PM in China, just finished episode 10 of House of Cards and I'll be up at least an hour if people wanna throw more fuel on the fire. THIS DOESN'T ONLY HAVE TO BE ABOUT UBER! I was kidnapped at knife point ya know!

Hey guys. I used to drive for Black and White in Toledo, Ohio from Summer 2012-Summer 2015. Toledo is a mid-sized city in Ohio with a metropolitan population hovering around 350,000 people. It is a heavy crime city with a lot of poverty and "unspeakable" areas.

I was 25 when I started (making me the youngest driver in the fleet since you have to be 25 to start) and was shocked at the system. I drove both nights and days, obviously night stories are filled with danger (I was kidnapped early in my career), big money out of town runs, sadness (taking a hooker home after a "hard days work") and a lot of drunk men and women who wanted everything from punching me for taking the wrong road to pulling me in the back of the taxi for a roll.

The big thing I want to expose people to is the abuse of the contract system. BW's entire business is built on contracts, about 90% medical contracts and about 80% of those medical contracts are through Lucas County Job and Family Services. Within 1 week of driving I figured out people were scamming this system to death. Placing fake medical runs to locations near the shopping malls just to go shopping, asking drivers to drop them off at their dealers house instead of take them home and laughing about it, or the medical facilities having people come in for totally unnecessary visits (one individual would get driven $60 each way to have his boot tightened in a 10 minute procedure and one time he said they didn't even tighten it, they just sent him back out) not to mention the growth of the methodone clinic downtown, again on Lucas County Welfare, with people (about 250 people per day) being driven up ($15-40 each way) 6-7 days a week every week.

I was recently driving around with a fellow driver at night and Uber has totally decimated the night business with 2 companies going out of business (Checker and Yellow) and dozens of operators and drivers for the surviving companies hanging up their boots.

Since I'm sure one of the first questions I'll be asked will be about my thoughts on Uber here it is up front.

What you don't see about Uber is that they are not properly insured and there are dozens (maybe hundreds) of cases where the drivers are being totally shafted by the company and left out to dry. They are not screened with background and drug checks (lots of incidents of Uber drivers stalking and harassing female passengers) and above all they are not making any money.

I was in Toledo/the US recently for the holidays (first time back in 16 months or so) and I took Uber and Lyft to save money (because it is cheaper) and the drivers are literally pulling $5 an hour on average.

The cab industry is regulated by the city (this means the charging price is locked at $2 jump, $2.30 per mile and I forget the exact time charge) so even if a BW (or MNM or any company) wanted to compete they wouldn't legally be allowed but you wouldn't want to because your not making any money.

The average ride in the city of Toledo (I can't speak for other cities) for Uber is about $12 (figured this out by 2 nice Uber drivers letting me see their ride histories out of anonymity) (and BTW this $12 ride with a Cab Company would be around $22-25), they keep 80% of that (so about $9-10). Gas will eat about 20% of that, now we're down to $7.50 or so, car maintenance has to be factored in at about 15%, down to $6, and taxes, even after expenses, will bring you down to $4.50 for a 45 minutes ride (factoring in driving to the individual and dropping them off).

I have 2 close friends who did this job (one did Uber, one did Lyft), and they realized within 2 weeks that there was no money to be had. It is a marketing brainwashing scheme to take advantage of the young, old and unemployed to scare up fast cash without them seeing the long term taxes and car maintenance costs that will eat whatever profit they may be getting.

The only thing making this up is the surge pricing but in Toledo (this is from first hand accounts, I'm the kind of guy that bugs everyone I meet for first hand experiences of unique situations) the surge pricing is few and far between (only on a Friday for 20 minutes when the bars let out) and the surge pricing is the one area where Uber is definitely ripping the consumer the fuck off.

The whole "cash only" thing stems from the fact that BW charges the cab owners 15-20% (was 15% but pretty sure it is now 20%) to cover the credit card fees. If your run is, say, $7 that is a pretty big hit. I don't condone demanding "cash only" but I think we can all understand why, given the option (which Uber drivers don't), they would do this.

For all intents and purposes Uber is the "big guy" pushing around the "little guy", waltzing into town, refusing to adhere to laws and regulations that DO protect consumers (with background checks, as stinky as your driver may be he has passed a multitude of criminal and health checks) and drivers (by guaranteeing a fair rate to charge) and having a massive stockpile of investor cash to cover credit card fees and create a marketing campaign that brainwashed poor college students and the retired to go out and destroy their car for $5 an hour.

I think Uber is a great system and I use it to save money but I do so well aware that it is a system fucking everyone under the sun the same way you know your phone was built with tiny Asian hands making pennies an hour.

It is currently 8:32 AM where I am but I should be able to stick around for about 3 hours.

Here is my taxi license and a shot from right now http://imgur.com/LW6pTTj http://imgur.com/4s7ZXQu

EDIT: I know you all love Uber because they provide clean cheap rides but please read my responses and don't just kneejerk with brainwashed answers.

EDIT 2: It is currently 9:52 PM EST, I think I can stay another hour before I hit the gym

EDIT: I'm gonna call this over since it has deteriorated into a taxi bashing/Uber sucking fest. Thanks to the people who wanted to know about what it was like being a cab driver.

Comments: 125 • Responses: 34  • Date: 

bengye91 karma

Why do you blame uber when the real problem with taxi business is they had no competition so the service was abonimable?

Wears_Sweaters38 karma

Because they finally got some and almost overnight things went from cushy to...nothing. Their cars looked deplorable, B&W and others are comparatively harder to get to (making a call and waiting 30mins vs opening an app hitting two things and waiting 10 minutes). Their model just doesn't and probably won't compete.

Lived in Toledo all my life.

bwcabbie-28 karma

BW does have its own app, it is identical to Uber's app but is a little more buggy but nothing so detrimental that it is unusable. The price is the biggest difference and we come back to the Uber driver's being sold a false dream and the consumer's taking advantage of near-slave labor.

Wears_Sweaters32 karma

How is it slave labor? The price difference between B&W (as shown in the app) and Uber on a common route I take is almost a dollar. What kind of dream were you sold and why do you think its holier than theirs? They're whopping your ass since they supposedly put at cab business under singlehandedly. I'm sorry for being crass but I feel like they get attacked more than they should.

bwcabbie16 karma

OK, well I haven't driven a tax in almost 2 years and never plan on again so no one is whooping my ass. I have no dog in this hunt.

I have a hard time believing the difference eon your route is $1 unless it is incredibly short (less than 1.5 miles) as once you go over about 3 miles the difference is almost 40% lower.

BW never sold me a dream. In fact I was told up front by my fleet owner that it was a dead end go nowhere job that I would get sick of after 6 months (and he was right) but I could scare up some quick cash (and since I was living in my friends spiderman bed with negative money in my bank account I hopped on board and 3 months later had my own place and 6 months later took a vacation to Traverse City).

Uber has a massive marketing campaign that targets the young, the reitred and the unemployed with notions of $100+ days, which at one point were possible, but today are almost impossible.

Go to reddit.com/r/uber and look at some of the other message boards, Uber drivers are pissed. The fares keep getting lower, there are more and more incidents of them abandoning drivers after incidents who they allowed to operate without the proper coverage and their vehicles are wrecked after 6 months not to mention taxes gobble up their left over profits at the end of the year.

Cab driving was a full time job you could support a family on driving nights. Thats just not possible anymore and Uber can't make up that lost income for a driver who wants to switch systems.

TunaFace200019 karma

This is a good question. I did Uber for a short time. It's true that the drivers make pretty much no money, that Uber doesn't properly insure so the drivers get fucked a lot of the time, etc. It's not true that they don't do background checks, but I digress. The reason people like Uber is because 9 times out of 10 taxi drivers are rude, terrible drivers, and make their passengers uncomfortable. There have been incidents with Uber drivers as well, but most of the time your driver is just some random person that is pretty pleasant.

I have taken more taxis than I can count. The only one I can remember that was even close to being nice was a guy that drove around in circles because he didn't know where he was going, so I eventually told him I needed to get out because he had run the fare way up and I didn't have enough money on me to pay anymore than what I already owed. I say he was almost nice because he sheepishly said he would take me the rest of the way home for whatever cash I had on me. Should have been like an $8 trip, ended up being like $22.

bwcabbie2 karma

During New Years me and a friend went to Reset and my friend left his phone in the Uber driver's car. We had to login to his account and find the driver in his history. The Uber driver said he wouldn't get us until later but we said we'd give him $10 cash if he came back. When he arrived we asked him to take us up the road to Chuck's.

He was a rude asshole, said that he was about to throw the phone out the window before we called and had given himself a 5 Star rating on my friend's phone.

He called Uber the next day and they ignored him citing said 5 Star rating. He switched to Lyft from then on.

The longer someone does something as a "job" the more they will hate it. The rating system keeps the "rude" driver's out of the loop but all it really guarantees is that the driver's will have a forced short shelf life and you are always driving with a "wide eyed newbie" creating an artificial sense of only having "friendly" drivers.

Does that make sense? It is a system that works but trust me, there are plenty of rude (and dangerous) Uber driver's out there.

EDIT: I think were all aware of vote brigading. Not to sound too paranoid but this story is simply an account of what happened on New Years Eve and I'm at 0 points for this post.

TunaFace200020 karma

I acknowledged in my comment that there have been incidents with Uber drivers. What I'm really wondering is why taxi drivers are so consistently huge fucking assholes. I run into people all day long that are doing their jobs, and they're not wide eyed newbies. Sure there is a jerk here and there, that's life. Why is it almost every single time I'm in a cab that the driver is rude, condescending, driving like an asshole, etc.?

bwcabbie21 karma

Uber drivers don't have to deal with the bullshit cab drivers do. They don't have to deal with stiffed rides, $4 fares around the ghetto with drug addicts and the mentally ill, they aren't in jeopardy of being robbed. the simple fact you need a working credit card and smart phone to ride with Uber cuts the shared clientele in half and taxis driver's have to keep the bottom of the barrel.

Your "friendly drivers" come at the expense of keeping the bottom rung of society locked out.

I won't defend driver's I never met but I always bent over backwards to be a nice guy. I quit and moved on the second I realized if I did this any longer I'd snap. You either die a hero or live long enough to become a villain.

TunaFace200014 karma

Ok, so maybe I can try this one more time. I'm not asking about a comparison to Uber. I hate Uber as a company, and I don't use them. Let's not talk about Uber, since I haven't asked any questions about Uber.

I'm asking why cab drivers in particular, are such giant assholes all the time, despite the fact that the vast majority of other service workers (who yes, have to work the night shift, work in places that are terrible areas, deal with all different segments of the public, are not on their first day of the job, etc.) basically act socially normal? What about driving cabs attracts these people?

bwcabbie20 karma

Cab driving attracts the laziest of society. You set your own hours, little physical labor involved if any, you have a lot of control over who you pick up and don't pick up and there are high rewards ($350-400 a day can be easily attainable) and horrible lows (staying out from 9 PM-7 AM for $50 in hand).

One time on NPR there was an animal rights activist who went undercover in a meat processing plant. He made the comment most of the workers are nice normal guys but they want to go home after a hard day. Imagine your job is yo move boxes and those boxes are what keep you from going home. Of course you'll grow to hate the boxes. In this case the boxes were chickens so they kick and abuse the chickens. It was a form of stress relief like the printer in Office Space.

The cab passengers are boxes. It is our job to transport these boxes. If these boxes give you shit or keep you from getting home on time you will take it out on the next box.

Add about 5-25 years and you have a crabby bastard.

-SeekingBliss-3 karma

Not enjoying you job is not an excuse to be an asshole. It doesn't excuse cabbies for being rude and ripping off customers, which you admitted to doing personally in other comments, and it absolutely is no fucking excuse for people to abuse animals. If you don't like doing something change it, stop feeling sorry for yourself and fucking do something about it, but for god sake don't try and use it to justify being a shitty person.

bwcabbie1 karma

"Do something about it."

I did. I quit.

bwcabbie7 karma

I'm going to preface this by saying Uber has done a masterful job in brainwashing the public.

Cab companies DID have competition, other cab companies were the competition. There weren't always these regulations on the books, they came about because the other companies were undercutting each other and screwing their own employees as well as consumers. You think surge pricing was invented by Uber? The company I worked for, Black and White, dates back to 1911 when it was horse and carriage. The modern taxi regulating started in the 60's.

Even now a good chunk of Uber drivers online (and you can find a lot of discussion forums for drivers) are calling for higher fares and restrictions on the number of drivers allowed at any given period.

Uber is simply the newest competition and they are operating illegally, at a detriment to their employees and have a money machine behind them for marketing and fighting legal battles. If Uber was a mom and pop operation out of Minnesota everyone would be up in arms at overcharging consumers when demand is highest and paying their employees less than minimum wage.

I USE UBER! But let's not fool ourselves, they are what they are, an opportunistic tech startup with a billion dollars of play money lowering the expectations of what a driving-based job should pay.

EDIT: To add to that whenever someone says Why don't the cab drivers quit and move to Uber!" Would you happily trade a 60 hour a week job that pays a liveable wage with legal regulations that cover your ass in the event of accidents to make half as much money and lose coverage?

idiot90027 karma

What about the part where Uber rides are far more timely, dependable, and pleasant than taxi rides?

Uber can charge more if they like. Taxis do not compete on service.

bwcabbie27 karma

Preface: Uber is exploiting the young, retired and unemployed.

Uber driver's are forced into taking rides out of their zones. Cab driver's are not. It is simply not profitable for me to take a 15 mile trip to pick someone up from a grocery store for a $4 fare. With Uber if you turn down too many forced fares you get kicked out of the system.

As for dependable, because an Uber requires a smart phone, roaming data access and a credit card you immediately remove a gigantic chunk of "bad rides" that clog up the system. 1/4 taxi rides I would be assigned would be rejected upon arrival for either not being able to pay, not being there, spoofing for fun or being deemed dangerous on my part. These rides gum up the system.

The "pleasant" part I attribute to the rating system forcing the driver's to smile through bullshit and since they are likely young, retired or unemployed (plus with there being too many driver's on the road in most markets to make anything close to a liveable wage) they are more than happy for the $5 fares they get.

Taxi companies are built around fleets that are shared among several drivers, at minimum 2 to keep the car moving 24/7 whereas Uber is people using their own personal cars so of course they will be in better condition.

Most Uber drivers last less than 9 months because they see the damage and wear on their vehicle. If they lasted longer you would see a lot more shitty vehicles in the fleet.

I've driven 2 brand new taxis in my time and I got a million compliments. Give me 3 months and see how it fares after, especially since I'm doing 20+ rides a day while Uber drivers average 5-6 and only work 3 or 4 days a week.

Your taking advantage of a system that takes advantage of the drivers.

idiot9009 karma

Thank you. This is a very thorough answer.

bwcabbie11 karma

no problem, thanks for the questions

Shisno_-3 karma

I know. Uber drivers are just 100% more dependable, nice, and timely than taxi drivers!


bwcabbie2 karma

Look at all those downvotes! I don't know if Uber pays for the PR/brigades or if people are just that brainwashed but people don't want to see Uber for what it is.

DonutCopShitLord9 karma

This whole AMA is sour grapes. Cab companies were shitting on the public for how long and now that someone is eating their lunch suddenly it's unfair?

I have been working in the NYC area for decades and I can count the number of nice cab drivers AND clean cars on ONE hand and I'd still have fingers left over for a decent face slap. Let that sink in.

I have no doubt that Uber is abusing its position but there will be a natural equilibrium eventually though not a moment too soon if cab companies step up their game

bwcabbie2 karma

When I started this I wanted to talk about the Gov. waste and abuse but of course the Uber train took over and all I can do is give my point of view.

I think Uber is a great system for consumers but the drivers are getting fucked whether they know it or not. Oh well.

DonutCopShitLord-4 karma

I see nothing in your OP about gov. waste and abuse. you clickbaited with a trolly headline and now you are getting your ass handed to you. No sympathy here.

bwcabbie4 karma

"The big thing I want to expose people to is the abuse of the contract system. BW's entire business is built on contracts, about 90% medical contracts and about 80% of those medical contracts are through Lucas County Job and Family Services. Within 1 week of driving I figured out people were scamming this system to death. Placing fake medical runs to locations near the shopping malls just to go shopping, asking drivers to drop them off at their dealers house instead of take them home and laughing about it, or the medical facilities having people come in for totally unnecessary visits (one individual would get driven $60 each way to have his boot tightened in a 10 minute procedure and one time he said they didn't even tighten it, they just sent him back out) not to mention the growth of the methodone clinic downtown, again on Lucas County Welfare, with people (about 250 people per day) being driven up ($15-40 each way) 6-7 days a week every week."

In the OP

spgreenwood10 karma

Thanks for sharing your stories in such detail – you have a fascinating perspective!

What's the best / most positive thing you've experienced as a cabbie?

bwcabbie10 karma

Genuinely helping people, almost always at the detriment of my time and wallet.

Don't get me wrong, I ripped off plenty of people in my day. Business people going to the airport where I stayed on 75 for an extra 15-20 miles, I ripped off the Local government plenty by taking long routes on contract rides, but if I pick up a family from a bad side of town for a $16 ride and all they have is $12 I just want the $10 to cover my gas and the owner's split.

At least 10 times a week I broke even if not straight up lost money on rides in situations like this. People will knowingly place rides when they know they don't have the money for them and sometimes I will let them have it and put them on the banned list but sometimes you just know people are simply trying to survive for tomorrow.

Picking up at the Sparrow's Next, a women's shelter, was always the hardest.

One time I picked a girl up on the 1st of the month at 1 AM. They get their benefits deposited at 1 AM and she was so excited. She was finally getting her own place. She had $630 in her bamk and her downpayment was gonna be $500. She didn't know how she'd make it another month but she'd be out of that goddamn hell hole. She was older, about 40 (but looked 60), had a horrible smoker's voice and I'm sure a violent past but you could tell she just wanted to have peace of mind for the first time in who knows how long.

I drove her about 10 minutes from downtown to Maumee, pulled up at the bank ATM, and she had $9 in her account.

She screamed and cried and hit herself and swore it was "That goddamn bitch" who borrowed her card to buy cigarettes. I drove her back downtown, knowing damn well that was 40 minutes and $5 of gas I wasn't being paid for, but it was the least I could do for someone in an awful situation.

Most people in those situations got there by their own actions. Drugs, ripping people off, etc. but what can you do after the fact except drive someone back to their shelter so they can sleep on a soiled mattress surrounded by prostitutes and the mentally ill.

WigglestonTheFourth21 karma

Don't get me wrong, I ripped off plenty of people in my day. Business people going to the airport where I stayed on 75 for an extra 15-20 miles, I ripped off the Local government plenty by taking long routes on contract rides, but if I pick up a family from a bad side of town for a $16 ride and all they have is $12 I just want the $10 to cover my gas and the owner's split.

But darn that Uber! shakes fist

I'm honestly curious how you can take an extra 15-20 miles on 75 and have the passenger not remotely notice. Are you doing the entire 475 loop?

bwcabbie2 karma

Sorry, I meant when I was heading to the airport. In most cases they just don't know and are too busy to notice and in others the passenger is sleeping. Where 75/275 split you can stay on 75 and still hit the airport with an extra $40 on the meter.

And an Uber driver can easily rip you off if he wanted.

WigglestonTheFourth22 karma

And an Uber driver can easily rip you off if he wanted.

And there would be a route record for you to dispute and remove that driver. Uber actively polices that in their system too. Mostly I was getting at the exact reason why Uber exists; shit service with taxi services that, and you attested to, would happily rip you off if given the chance.

I'm still confused on what route you're taking to squeeze extra miles/fare by staying on 75 rather than taking the 475 split. The airport is on the west end, well outside of the city. Unless you're taking the entire loop and then exiting on 20/Airport I don't see how you're getting to the airport without adding an hour to drive to get through the city.

bwcabbie-2 karma

Detroit Airport.

Uber doesn't back up consumers as much as you'd think but you won't know until your in that position.

WigglestonTheFourth5 karma

Detroit Airport makes far more sense how you can stay on 75 then.

"Uber doesn't back up consumers as much as you'd think but you won't know until your in that position."

Ever call customer service for a taxi service? I get that you have bias having driven for a taxi service but damn, that Uber hate has blinders on it.

bwcabbie2 karma

I didn't know we were comparing customer service between the two systems.

I've had to go and give money back to customers who were just swindling me and the system plenty of times. IT goes both ways.

WigglestonTheFourth7 karma

Uber doesn't back up consumers as much as you'd think but you won't know until your in that position.

... you brought up customer service.

"I've had to go and give money back to customers who were just swindling me and the system plenty of times. IT goes both ways."

And you just admitted to purposely swindling customers.

Again, I'm just pointing out why Uber is succeeding. You can't run a business and grow like Uber does without consumer demand. If taxi services were not operating in conditions without real competition, Uber would never have gotten a foothold.

bwcabbie10 karma

Hey man, good for Uber. Its not going anywhere. But we should acknowledge the employees are the canon fodder the same way the kids who make your iPhone are.

EDIT: I would also wonder how the public perception would be if any other company, say Taco Bell, allowed on the spot anonymous ratings of front end employees that would lead to immediate termination if they ever dropped before a 91% approval rating. It is a cut throat system to force onto people.

JesseJaymz9 karma

Woo! Toledo!! Go hometown! What is your favorite place/most recommended place for tourists? If we even get tourist in Toledo... The zoo doesn't count.

bwcabbie9 karma

I never recommend people even go to Toledo but I do get these types who want to see the city.

The Zoo, the Museum, the Botanical Gardens. For some reason we are a hotbed for "gay tourism" from the surrounding areas so of course Bretz is a big deal (I heard it might've closed though but there is still 'R House), Bass Pro Shop is a MASSIVE tourist destination but.... past that I don't think Toledo has anything to really offer. I moved all the way to China just to get away from the city.

Sorry I can't provide a better answer.

Rtzx9r4 karma

No love for Pacos? Or driving east an hour to Cedar Point?

bwcabbie8 karma

I'm a vegetarian and have never eaten at Tony Pacos but I can't imagine it is much more than a hot dog place with pictures of MASH stars.

Cedar Point is as much a Toledo attraction as it is a Columbus or Cleveland attraction.

Jkizzle92 karma

Are you one of those Toledo people who is a Michigan fan

bwcabbie1 karma

College sports are rigged

TheRavisher9 karma

How has your experience been on driving people of the sex trade around? were any of them actually shitty people

bwcabbie16 karma

OK, hopefully this won't get me too much heat.

I'll talk about prostitutes and strippers.

Growing up I hated strip clubs. I went maybe a dozen time and can honestly say I never spent a single dollar. My cover was always paid and I would just sit in the back, usually with the strippers playing the little video game box they always have, and wait to leave.

They always came off as dirty and the men looked pathetic. Either fat, ugly or just lacking all confidence.

The majority of strippers are just attractive prostitutes. Most of them don't have cars because they squander their money on things and have criminal records keeping them from having a license, usually DUI's.. They will gladly show you pictures of an apartment decked out in giant TVs and a wardrobe that needs it's own house but don't have the means of transportation.

They talk about the men in the clubs in the most demeaning way possible, and I don't blame them. They see them as pathetic fools who outside of work they would never even look at. One stripper was laughingly telling me about how one of her regulars, a guy who has been seeing her for over a year and had spent $10,000+ on her in presents and cash, was thrown out of the club for touching her in public and she didn't give a fuck and hoped he never came back. She milked him dry.

The prostitutes are usually a little sadder.

They are either pimping themselves on Craigslist, going to completely random locations to meet God knows who for $50-150 (and they have to couch up $20-50 to me for transportation) to feed drug habits, or they have a pimp stealing all of their money and abusing them. I've taken some frightened girls (always in public housing, ALWAYS) to some very weird abandoned buildings (if your from Toledo over by Door/Detroit) and they just go inside even after I offer to take them somewhere else for free.

After picking up a hooker we almost always go to a dealers house before heading back to her house and I'll likely see her one more time that night.

The saddest thing I ever saw was around 5:30 AM Sunday morning, picked a girl up from one John and taking her to another. Her makeup was smeared, she was shiny from sweat and grease and she looked like she was gonna pass out. She was mumbling to herself stuff like "not much longer, one more..."

Halfway to the next house she just said "pull into this parking lot", an apartment complex on Airport Highway, and she just said "He's just not gonna get any tonight, I'm going to fuckin sleep."

She tipped me and went on her way.

Also had prostitutes openly tell me their HIV positive before.

IKingJeremy7 karma

What was the craziest thing you saw while being a Taxi Driver?

bwcabbie10 karma

This is always the hardest thing to answer because there are so many kinds of "crazy". Sad crazy, wild crazy, anger inducing crazy, etc.

I guess off the top of my head the craziest thing I ever saw was one night I was called to a nice neighborhood around 2:30 AM. Usually these calls are people coming home from a family outing.

As soon as I turned onto the street I saw police lights and immediately assumed domestic disturbance, calls I NEVER want to take because the guy is in a fuckin foul mood and he's gonna take it out on you. I was 99% leaning towards bailing on the ride out of my own safety.

The cops told me the story. The guy went out with some friends from work, blacked out and woke up in this stranger's yard without his wallet, keys or car. He had been drugged and robbed. The guy, on the younger side of 30, was crying his eyes out talking with the cops and I decided WTF. It was going to be about a $40 run into Perrysburg, a large "sticks" suburbs outside town with a lot of working class folks.

It was right out of the movie Vulgar. He was terrified what happened. He had gone to El Camino, a Mexican place in town, and his coworkers had some buddies join them and he blacked out. Absolutely no memory of what happened. He was openly wondering if they sexually assaulted him but he just wanted to go home. He could barely hold back tears the whole time. I got him home, he got some cash from inside (had to break his own window) and I felt bad for him but ya gotta make money. He seemed like a fairly wealthy BP oil worker.

Another thing was how bouncers would outright assault people outside of clubs.

One night I was sitting posted outside Bier Stub (anyone from Toledo knows the place) and around 1:45 AM a scuffle spilled out the door. A guy, about 23, was drunk and did something and about 3 bouncers were definitely pushing him with force. The big variable was he had a beer in his hand and they were trying to take it from him. In the scuffle they got the beer out of his hand and he flew backwards, turned and his a concrete pillar head first. I saw him sit up and blood start pouring like a faucet. The bouncers proceeded to pick him up by his clothes and toss him like a dwarf onto the pavement and then start gangstyle kicking the shit out of him. I was shocked.

The next day I (this woud be Saturday) I took a date to Bier Stub and as we went into the club I saw the bouncers that assaulted the guy and we had this conversation.

Me: "Hey, I saw that fight last night." Them: "Oh yeah, we get these fuckin psychos all the time. Had to show him he can't pull that shit." Me: "Well yeah, I mean you guys really beat the fuckin shit out of that guy. I'm amazed h didn;t need an ambulance." Them: "Well, I mean... he was ok after." Me (smiling): "No man I saw it, you guys assaulted that guy." Them: "No no, never, I mean, he was ok man."

And you could see the bouncers backing up fast.

Just typing this is bringing back memories of picking up a girl JUST in time for her to catch an AMTRAK escaping from a semi-hostage situation with an abusive boyfriend. She would show me photos of a surgery she had on her eyes after he destroyed her orbital bone. It was VERY hush hush with all her shit on the side of the road a block away from the address. If I was 10 minutes late she would've missed her train for sure.

pkonoff12342 karma


bwcabbie2 karma

Off of McCord and Central

Sporeian16 karma

What was your favorite type of passenger?

bwcabbie9 karma

I'll start by saying DON'T TAP MY FUCKIN CAR WHEN YOU GET IN OR OUT! Don't call me "cabby" or "driver" either. I would put a sign in the back with my name and picture, call me Steve, asshole.

My favorite passengers were either the ones who didn't say a word, didn't mind my mildly loud classic rock/alt. rock radio station and didn't demean me with questions about "when are you gonna get a real job" OR young people who wanted to hear stories about hot chicks and appreciated I was young, out of work and just looking to make some money to pay the rent. You get judged a LOT as a cab driver but I think because I was so young people just wanted to see me get out of a dead end business and I appreciate that but don't rub it in.

If you get in my car immediately complaining about something in the cab I'm going to just ignore you, do my job and drop you off.

I would do 20-30 rides a day on average, be one of the good guys and keep me smiling for that 30th ride.

Sporeian13 karma

Thanks for the answer!

bwcabbie5 karma

No problem, thanks for the questions

jettaboy046 karma

I understand your point of view and disapproval of services such as Uber and Lyft but let's face it they are here to stay. That said what do you think cab companies need to do in order to become competitive and gain back customer loyalty?

bwcabbie16 karma

Oh cab companies are completely dead in the water, no doubt about it.

Cab companies in Toledo are completely dependent on contracted rides, the majority of them medical rides. If I did 20 rides a day during day shift 18 of them were contracted to Lucas County Welfare. Cab companies operate as non-emergency medical transport and that business is expanding every single day.

I don't necessarily know why Uber can't crack those markets, I'm sure it is largely political, but part of it may be cabs are required to have fireproof blankets, first aid kits, driver's who ant to take those rides are CPR certified, trained to handle wheelchairs, etc.

But every day (EVERY day) 500 orders come out (250 going to and 250 coming from) the methadone clinic in downtown Toledo. That alone will keep them going until the cockroaches are kings.

I racked $400 a day in medical contract rides like it was nothing. We would take people to Cleveland Clinic for $300 to get their braces tightened for Christ sake, on the welfare dime, so as long as that business is there they will survive but the night time business has been cut by what seems like 75%.

jettaboy044 karma

I think your right about the political nature of those. I know here in Boston the cabs have priority for pickup at the airport for example. The only Uber drivers allowed to pickup there have to licensed livery drivers. Uber has also started charging a premium to get dropped off at the airport to make up for the toll road set up just outside the airport here, which makes cabs and uber cost relatively close to get to and from the airport.

I also heard that the cab services in Boston are working on using app dispatching instead of the required radio dispatch. But I'm not altogether familiar with the current requirements as I just recently moved to the city.

bwcabbie0 karma

Yeah, it is evolving. Like if I would drop off at the Detroit Airport it was FUCKIN ILLEGAL for me to pick up (I think the fine was $1,000) so the licensed Mich. drivers had control of the area. Which makes sense. But overall I think in another 5 years taxi companies as we know them will be dead and gone, replaced with dedicated medical transport and delivery systems.

I used to live in a town about 15 miles south of Toledo called Bowling Green and I would take my Toledo licensed vehicle down there on Saturday on my way home at 2:30 AM and illegally scoop up passengers hailing on the road.

Municipalities obviously want to protect their own businesses.

mgenson945 karma

Hey Toledo, yeah! Ever consider becoming a truck driver? If you could move anywhere in the U.S. where would you go? (I need ideas) Do you have a passion other than being a taxi driver? What do you mean when you say "sticks" when referring to perrysburg?

bwcabbie7 karma

Just compared to the city proper Perrysburg is much more spread out. "The sticks" was always a slang term I heard for the outskirts of a city. If you pick up in Perrysburg even to drive up the road your looking at a $15 fare minimum.

I currently have a job overseas I am more than happy with. Truck driving was an option I looked at but it is a sad, lonely life and the money isn't what you would expect after taxes and road expenses.

I currently live in China and I am pretty disillusioned on life in the US. I always talk about if I was going to move back to the US it would be a place like Anchorage Alaska, somewhere with growth potential and demand for work. I am not a laborer, before becoming a cab driver I was a grade school teacher (so yes I am doing ESL in China) and working with my hands and back was never an option. My little time as an office worker almost left me comatose so that is also just not up my alley. I seek a life of low work, lots of free time and adventure. Asia just speaks to me.

mgenson943 karma

Do you speak chinese? How's the air quality? I was interested in vacationing to Japan, I feel like I'd enjoy it.

bwcabbie3 karma

I speak almost no Chinese even after over a year, where I live the Air Quality is on par with a city like Chicago but Beijing is almost unlivable IMO and Japan isn't on my radar, too Western and too expensive.

stratdog252 karma

Glass City represent!! Where is your favorite chili-mac and why is it Nettie's? (Or that place off Dorr whose name I can't remember)

bwcabbie1 karma

Sorry buddy, vegetarian since I was 19.

I used to get chili dogs at Yum Yum's on Summit.

analogkid011 karma

I drove a cab briefly in Ann Arbor MI. The setup was this: you clocked into a cab and immediately owed the cab company $70-80. Then you owed them 50 cents per mile that you drove. If there was no business in one zone, you had to drive to another zone where there may or may not be business. So you spent the first four or five hours of your shift just paying off the cab company. Any hours you worked after that was money you'd keep, but that meant that to make any sort of serious cash, it was in your best interest to work the maximum number of hours per shift, which was capped by the company at 14. There was one crazy guy who worked 14 hour shifts, every day, then went to France for a month in August.

I don't know if all cab companies are run this way, but if I were still making a living from driving, I'm sure any offer Uber or Lyft dangled in front of my face would be more palatable. Is this how Toledo was run?

bwcabbie1 karma

The way Toledo ran was if you had a car on the BW company every week you owed BW

-$280 a week (I'm almost positive this has gone up) -about $200 for insurance -15% of all credit runs (which explains why we love cash) -If there is ever a call to adjust meters or do inspections it comes form your pocket

So about $600-700 a week in total fees. Add in gas and maintenance and it is looking like about $1,000 to pay off the car itself every week.

If you happen to own the car and rent it out to driver's the the split is 50/50 for owner and driver so you NEED 2 people running the car every day to make it profitable. The trade off is access to the BW contracts which can pile up fast since they have LCW, dozens of hospitals, train companies (which will take you out of town some days to anywhere from Elkhart Indiana to damn near Philadelphia but these aren't common), auto part company deliveries, etc.

TistedLogic1 karma

What you don't see about Uber is that they are not properly insured and there are dozens (maybe hundreds) of cases where the drivers are being totally shafted by the company and left out to dry. They are not screened with background and drug checks (lots of incidents of Uber drivers stalking and harassing female passengers) and above all they are not making any money.

This. I did night dispatch for a couple small taxi companies for a couple years. I can honestly say that we had some ex-Uber drivers become taxi drivers simply because of the insurance issue. One actually used some of his insurance money (he had been rear ended right after dropping a fare for Uber, so his insurance eventually paid out. But they told him that Uber did not cover him and if he were in a collision while "on the clock" with Uber, they'd drop him) to get his taxi license. He wound up making his hack money back the second week he worked.

Since I had my prior comment taken down due to not having a question, here it is.

What regulations should Uber be required to follow since they are, technically, a "vehicle for hire" service?

bwcabbie2 karma

I wouldn't argue that Uber should have to change their ways (although drivers need to know they aren't covered) but why should taxi companies continue to have to follow the guidelines of set pricing, mandatory background checks, etc? The pricing alone is such a massive killer to the taxi industry.

Look, Uber is nothing more than a logo and an app. The cab companies are all getting their owns apps that are identical to Uber so the only thing separating Uber from say Yellow Cab in NYC is that Uber can charge whatever they want. As much as people hate Yellow if Yellow was $1 cheaper (and Uber is on average 40-50% cheaper than taxi regulated fare fees) it would balance the playing field immensely.

I've been in stinky Ubers with laundry in the back, had my fair share of rude drivers, but that price will forever keep me using Uber.Let's ACTUALLY embrace a free market and NOT PLAY FAVORITES and let the taxi companies charge whatever they want.

Now all this will do is drive the wages down even lower until we're all making $3 an hour but thats ok because "its just a side work bro, chill out." Problem is people used to make a living doing this.

The reason taxis charge such a higher price is that they run local, dedicated call centers and with Uber they are just burning cash to gobble marketshare and put the competition out of business. They can keep burning money another 5 years because they have Google behind them WITH THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF NO DRIVERS AT ALL ONCE THE AUTOMATED CARS ARE LEGALIZED and at that point your ride that was $20 with a taxi, $12 with an Uber will be $4 with a robot and then probably a million driving jobs will be gone forever. It is inevitable.

Basically....the cab companies are fucked. You either stoop to their level and rob your drivers blind the way Uber is or you just watch the industry fall of a cliff slowly.

Guys, I'm sorry but Uber is the bad guy here. They are nothing more than a viral marketing campaign and cheap prices. If your ok with little Indian hands sewing your Nike shoes, cool, awesome, but see Uber as the same, the young, retired and unemployed destroying their vehicles for $5 an hour if their lucky.

A bit rambly but its what I got.

Bbs56-3 karma

Does anyone else sense a BS feel here?

WT149 karma

I'm from the area he is talking about and it seems fairly accurate with what I know about that company. I'm just some other random asshole on the internet too though so my word isn't really worth much either.

Bbs561 karma

I mean there is a large chance I'm wrong. His answers just make him seem bitter and sad.

bwcabbie6 karma

Hey I'm living in China, making plenty of money, work 8 hours a week at a University with 5 months paid leave a year, married to an amazing lady, I've since quitting driving traveled to Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Mongolia, South Korea, Vietnam, I just did a month in Nicaragua and another 2 weeks in Dominican Republic and just finished a marathon of House of Cards.

I genuinely wanted to give a point of view. I do think Uber/Lyft is driving wages to the ground floor and I think the drivers are being taken advantage of but people will see what they want.

NedryOS3 karma

Another toledo resident here. I agree with both of you. His story sounds legit but in the same time he's bashing Uber he's talking about all the crimes he's commited. He talks about all these problems he's witnessed but instead of pointing it out to someone who might be able to do something about it, he just abused the system as well. He mentions wanting totalk about gov waste but all he does is shit on Uber, strippers, cab drivers, toledo and the us in general. Okay buddy sure you have a perfect life and aren't bitter at all.

bwcabbie1 karma

I can only answer the questions I'm asked. If I wanted to write a novel I would. Why not ask me about the LCW contract system and I'll tell you all about it.