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Deserted
12-31-2015, 01:36 AM
I've been driving for Big Green Cab Co for more than 3-1/2 years now. I like driving the cab, for the most part. Lots of good things, not many bad things, and the bad things I can tolerate... except...

I'm sure that most people in the States are at least aware of Uber. For those that aren't, it's similar to calling a cab, but it's people driving private cars instead of cabs, and tends to cost quite a bit less than traditional cabs. Unfortunately, Uber's rates are so low that we literally can't compete. (In Desert Hell, Big Green Cab Co charges $2.25/mile + $0.50/minute wait time (moving less than 5 mph) + $2.95 flag drop (hiring fee). Uber's base rate is $0.90/mile + $0.16/minute (regardless of how fast you're moving) + $2.00 in fees. Their prices increase based on demand, called "surge pricing", while ours can't, due to legal requirements.)

Big Green Cab Co spearheaded a lobbying attempt to get Uber illegalized, or at least brought under some sort of governmental supervision. (The meters in all legal cabs in Desert Hell are licensed and monitored by the Department of Transportation, and there is additional licensing for the vehicle to be considered a cab.) That lobbying effort failed when our current governor was sworn in at the beginning of the year. Gov. Cold Stone turned out to be friendly toward Uber, so much so that he (supposedly) performed the ribbon cutting at Uber's new call center in College Town.

So yay, my income has suffered one hell of a blow this year. Wheelchair biz hasn't really been affected by Uber yet... but it was affected by Big Green Cab Co tripling the size of the WC fleet... and now Uber has introduced wheelchair vans to Desert Hell (I checked; there's at least one in town now). Also, regular cash calls are/were a non-trivial part of my income.

As an additional slap in the face, Big Green Cab Co has some pretty sweeping changes coming in the next few months, some of which only affect wheelchair drivers, and they're all for the good of the company and not for the good of the drivers. (I won't go into what those changes are. They might belong in Morons in Management, but my feelings about them are definitely fratching material.)

So now I'm looking for something else. I really hate to do this, especially since cab driving is the first job I've had that I really liked, but I need to cover my bills, and I'm late on most of them. (Rent and phone I keep current on; everything else... I'm working on it...)

My first thought was to apply for a job in Big Green Cab Co's dispatch center. (Not the call center that receives customer orders, but the part that directly supports the drivers.) I'm fairly certain that none of the people working there have ever driven a cab, and I'd like to think that having an actual driver on staff would be helpful. Maybe. The questions are, do they have any open positions, and how much do they pay? (Rumor has it that new hires start around $9/hour, and that just won't cut it for me.)

Another option is working tech support for Large National Drug Store Chain. They have a corporate center in More Money Than You City (one of my regulars is a tech support lead there). Same questions as working for Big Green Cab Co, plus... it's more than 23 miles away in a straight line, and I don't currently own a vehicle. (I haven't needed one; my last car was about 10 years ago.) So it's a 2-hour bus ride that starts with a 2-to-3-mile walk (no bus stops near me). (That's a temporary problem; my lease is up in a few months and I intend to move anyway.)

Another option is a call center that handles customer support for Overnight Shipping Company. It's fairly close by, and I'm told new hires start at about $12/hour... which I suppose I could make work.

Yet another option is working IT at Holy Crap HUUUUGE Health Care Company. My brother's ex-wife works there and she makes about $18/hour. That's close to what I was averaging before my income fell through the floor, and it would let me use that stupid "degree" I got from Defunct Computer Trade School a hundred years ago. (Plus I imagine potential promotions and raises would increase that number.)

Sigh. I hate being a grownup. I vote we all just go back to high school. Or kindergarten! Yeah! Break out the fingerpaints!

wolfie
12-31-2015, 02:26 AM
Would be interested in seeing a MiM story about the changes (or possibly in Social Woes on Fratching if you think it would go "off the rails").

Have you considered other driving jobs? You mentioned both the overnight shipping company with a call center nearby - are they hiring for their local delivery? - and the buses - they might be hiring (but you'd need a license upgrade). You do, after all, have 3 1/2 years as a professional driver under your belt.

Not too familiar with out West, and with the U.S. (so I wouldn't know who might be hiring in your area), but you might also consider OTR trucking (again, would involve a license upgrade).

Deserted
12-31-2015, 03:22 AM
Would be interested in seeing a MiM story about the changes (or possibly in Social Woes on Fratching if you think it would go "off the rails").

Sorry, I'm not really comfortable discussing it at this point, beyond what I already said. What it boils down to is more money in corporate's pockets, less money in ours. I understand that corporate has to do what they feel is best for the corporation, but down here in the trenches, I gotta do what's best for me.

Have you considered other driving jobs?

Yep. That's about it though -- considered.

You mentioned both the overnight shipping company with a call center nearby - are they hiring for their local delivery? - and the buses - they might be hiring (but you'd need a license upgrade). You do, after all, have 3 1/2 years as a professional driver under your belt.

Not too familiar with out West, and with the U.S. (so I wouldn't know who might be hiring in your area), but you might also consider OTR trucking (again, would involve a license upgrade).

I'm not very good with large vehicles. I even have trouble with box trucks (think Uhaul). I don't really want to be responsible for lots of lives or lots of merchandise.

If I stick with a driving job, it'll probably be non-emergency medical transport, if any of them are hiring.

Shyla
12-31-2015, 05:59 AM
Non-emergency medical transport can almost always use some decent people. I know a lot of people who use it to get to dialysis. I have no idea what they pay.

Good luck finding something.

Deserted
12-31-2015, 06:16 AM
Non-emergency medical transport can almost always use some decent people. I know a lot of people who use it to get to dialysis. I have no idea what they pay.

The big companies around here tend to have contractors drive their vans, just like cabbies. I'm looking to get away from per-trip pay and more toward per-hour or even salary.

Good luck finding something.

Thanks.

wolfie
12-31-2015, 06:28 AM
I'm not very good with large vehicles. I even have trouble with box trucks (think Uhaul).

Before I went to truck school, the biggest thing I'd driven was a Mercury Sable (corporate twin of Ford Taurus) rental many years earlier.

Javarod
01-01-2016, 01:58 AM
I'm sure that most people in the States are at least aware of Uber.

Ah yes, Uber, i won't use them, don't trust them, won't work for them as they firmly eschew rules. Seriously, far as they're concerned, all their drivers should need is a D license and basic insurance. Supposedly they have insurance to cover the difference, but considering that your basic insurance has every right to refuse to pay the claim, there's an issue there before you get into Uber's unwillingness to show what they have. Heck, i carry a class E here in STL because i was delivering newspapers, even though no one really enforces the law. Then there's lift with their big pink mustaches on the vehicles, is it me, or are they relying on gimmicks to get customers? Doesn't sound viable long term.

Could do your own thing, with a reliable vehicle, overhead is significantly reduced, especially if you go the car service route. Unless they've tightened up the rules, there's a lot you can get away with, including rates, or are they finally regulating those? I remember Sunset undercutting everyone, i drove for them and made surprisingly good money, plus despite being an independent contractor you were required to work a shift. Mind you their equipment left something to be desired... I was considering starting a shuttle service along I17 in the Metrocenter area since its packed with hotels. A VIP cab back last time i worked there ran $42 metered to the airport, you could easily undercut that with a shuttle service if you can get enough passengers per trip.

If you're talking CVS, i wouldn't advise it, my were worked with them when they bought out Albertson's drug division, and he can tell you stories about the way they run that place, none of them good. As to transport, ever consider a scooter? I use a 50cc, actually 49.3cc which means no insurance or registration, and 95MPG. It ain't fast, but ifn you're patient, it'll get you there, and its a cheap way to do it.

If you had a truck or a van, i'd suggest looking at AZ Integrated Distribution, Aaron is a great guy, and they've all but cornered the market on print distribution last i heard. Apparently they moved three times in one year since College Times got bought (Scottsdale Airpark News or something, don't quite remember the title, the guy all but cornered the market when the economy tanked), each warehouse bigger than the last, and finally gave up and leased two warehouses to handle everything. You won't get rich, but you can make a decent living on it.

wolfie
01-01-2016, 02:33 AM
Seriously, far as they're concerned, all their drivers should need is a D license and basic insurance. Heck, i carry a class E here in STL because i was delivering newspapers

Uber thinks people need a "non-articulated cargo vehicle over specified weight threshold" license to drive for them? You have a "school purposes bus under 15 seats" license because you were delivering newspapers?

The same letter (or number) can mean different classes of license in different jurisdictions - what I wrote are what classes D and E mean in Ontario, Canada.

Is it safe to assume that in your jurisdiction, D means "ordinary car", while E means "driving commercially in the same class of vehicles covered by a class D, but not carrying passengers for hire"? After all, newspaper delivery is commercial driving, you're likely to be using a vehicle in classes 1 through 3 (ordinary cars and minivans are class 1, an F350 pickup/Sprinter 3500 van is a class 3), and newspaper delivery does not involve carrying passengers for hire.

Sliceanddice
06-26-2016, 03:52 AM
Uber thinks people need a "non-articulated cargo vehicle over specified weight threshold" license to drive for them? You have a "school purposes bus under 15 seats" license because you were delivering newspapers?

The same letter (or number) can mean different classes of license in different jurisdictions - what I wrote are what classes D and E mean in Ontario, Canada.


D here means basic driver, E is chauffer licens, M motorcycle, A,B,C all commercial

Shyla
06-26-2016, 04:28 AM
Up here I think my regular license is Class C.

I believe Uber is breaking the law with the insurance requirements. Something bad will happen and it will be exposed. But it takes time for stuff to work its way through insurance companies and courts. Meanwhile it's a mess.

CyberLurch
06-28-2016, 05:39 AM
Up here I think my regular license is Class C.

I believe Uber is breaking the law with the insurance requirements. Something bad will happen and it will be exposed. But it takes time for stuff to work its way through insurance companies and courts. Meanwhile it's a mess.

The insurance companies are already working on making it mandatory for drivers working for Uber and similar services to carry commercial insurance. I know my insurance company already has it in their revised agreement. I briefly considered driving for Uber, but the rate increase makes it prohibitively expensive in my case.

Deserted
06-28-2016, 05:38 PM
The insurance companies are already working on making it mandatory for drivers working for Uber and similar services to carry commercial insurance. I know my insurance company already has it in their revised agreement. I briefly considered driving for Uber, but the rate increase makes it prohibitively expensive in my case.

Here's an explanation (https://www.metromile.com/uber/) by a company that appears to specialize in insuring Uber drivers (in only 3 states).

One of the reasons I've never bought my own cab (which is an option for Prius drivers, but not wheelchair drivers like myself) is that the company's $1,000,000 insurance covers me regardless of whether or not I have a passenger, or am even logged in to the system. (Well... covers everything except me personally. If I get hurt, it's up to my health insurance to cover me... and all I have is the VA.) I don't know about you guys, but I certainly can't afford that much coverage on my own.