Life: Taxi Driver Tips

As a resident of Los Angeles, I rarely ride the taxi.

But the other day, I had my car in the repair shop. I was planning to walk back to the shop (about 2 miles) but I got off work too late to start walking to show up to claim my car before the service bay closed.

Thus, I called for a taxi.

The stereotype is the talkative taxi driver. In my limited experience, there are indeed such chatty cabbies.

We started talking about whatever and I soon found he wasn't a silent steerer of the sedan though he was far from talking up a storm.

Somehow, we got onto the economics of being a cab driver. He mentioned that each day the cab company gets the first $120 of fares. The rest are his.

He dropped me off and my fare with tip came out to $10 for a 20 minute ride.

If he gets three such fares in one hour, he gets $30/hour and he pays off the cab company in four hours and the rest of the day's passengers provide his wages. If he drives an additional eight hours that is $240 for the day. Do the math: 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year means $60,000 before taxes.

Would you like to drive a cab for 12 hours a day for those wages?

However, does he get three fares an hour?

I'm sure at certain times of the day he might. But there might be stretches of time where he gets no fares. In a 12 hour shift, how many fares does he get?

Do the math.

As for me, I don't ride cabs often. But when I do, I'll be sure to tip generously.

But since I hardly ever ride cabs, what is a typical tip?

This is an item from CNN-Money with a guide to the various suggested tips for different service personnel.

Their advice: Varies depending on locality. Assume 15% will be enough; an extra $1 to $2 for help with bags.

What do you all think?