Challenged by a suggestion that victorian taxi drivers were “a new and disturbing category of the ‘working poor’ in Australia” journalist Konrad Marshall sought to find out the truth about exactly how much money cabbies make, as well as gaining some insights into what it’s like. Rather than reading ABS reports, or perhaps relying on anecdotal evidence or even interviewing other drivers he instead put himself through Taxi school and spent a week on the road as a driver. His insights are varied, emotive and honest.
“I have had nine fares in 12 hours. My total profit for the day is $128 – about $10 per hour. After GST and income tax, it is much less.”
“Two girls tottering on high heels approach the cab. One pours her semi-conscious friend into the front seat then smiles at me: ”Don’t worry, she’s not going to be sick in your cab. You’re not going to be sick in his cab, are you? Nah, she’s not going to be sick in your cab.” The friend hands me $20 and tells me an address in Richmond. I take the girl home and make sure she reaches her door.”
“Only after I drive past a pregnant lady and see her middle finger raised in my rear-vision mirror do I realise I’ve left my dome light on. I am not the driver I set out to be. This taxi deserves better.”
“In my three days and two nights on the job, I worked for 59 hours. I drove 1006 kilometres (477 of which were paid). I did 50 jobs in total, about 10 a day. Two-thirds of my customers sat in the back seat, and most said little more than ”Hello” and ”How much?”
After splitting the metered fare 50/50 with the operator, my take-home pay for the week was $618. Roughly $124 in my pocket every day. After paying income tax and GST, I was clearing roughly $8 an hour. This is a little below average, but not much.”
You can read the whole article here.
A powerful example of Genchi Gembutsu, going to the place of a problem to learn the truth for yourself; Or as Nick Sayer put it at MDX13 on Tuesday – getting dirty. Many thanks to Nick Sayer from Refletca for pointing me to this insight earlier this week.