Face it dear reader, the snow and slush and unpleasant brown muck of a New York winter is just around the corner. Sure, the first snowfall can be really pretty, and everyone gets excited for the holiday season, but after awhile, eye-watering north winds start to get a little tiresome. So how does the season effect the cabbies? NAME WITHHELD Where I hailed him: Midtown East Where he hails from: Why should I tell you? I don’t like that question. Years as a cabbie: You do not even want to know Previous profession: I have three degrees! I don’t see any sort of increase or decrease in earnings from one season to another. The weather is one factor — perhaps the only factor you’re thinking about. You’re thinking, ‘cold weather must be good for picking up passengers.’ Well, that’s true. But there are other factors you haven’t considered. Consider, rain, snow and ice drive people into taxis, but can I drive correctly in these conditions? No! A five-minute trip may well turn into 20 minutes. I must be cautious to avoid an accident. Which, in the winter, your odds of an accident shoot through the roof. When it’s warm and dry, I can drive fast. I can create turnover. Get that $2.50 up front and get them out. Except the turnover is mitigated by the decreased demand for my services in nice weather. It all averages out, despite your preconceived notions. [Ouch. Sorry for asking.]
Zaki Where I hailed him: Greenwich Village Where he hails from: Egypt Years as a cabbie: 4 Previous profession: Limousine driver January to March is murder for me. Absolutely dead. The taxi business slows down like any other New York business I guess. Christmastime is not so bad. Lots of people in a good mood. The tips get a little better. August is the worst month. It’s worse than the dead of winter. I guess it’s because all the New Yorkers leave the city. The tourists don’t know how to tip. Things are pretty good right now — they will be until the weather gets bad. The snow — it’s horrible. Many days when it snows I just stay home. It’s not even worth coming out. I might have well stayed in bed. Who wants to take half an hour to go one avenue? Not I.
Jaswinder Where I hailed him: Chelsea Where he hails from: India Years as a cabbie: 4 Previous profession: Student I like driving in the winter better. Half the time in the summer I drive a car with a bad air conditioner. Twelve hours on the day shift burning up is not fun. Not fun. The passengers — they want air conditioning, but they get inside the car and it is on fire. No tip for me, but what can I do? If I had air conditioning in the car, I would use it, lady. At least I do not feel like eating during a bad summer shift. That increases my profit. In the winter, driving can be much more pleasant. The car is warm and people are grateful to get inside after freezing on the street. I probably make a little more money in the winter, but not much.
Napole Where I hailed him: Murray Hill Where he hails from: Haiti Years as a cabbie: 15 Previous profession: Waiter Oh yeah, in the winter you can make money like that [snaps fingers]. It’s cold, people will pay you to go four blocks, you make four dollars, money like that [snaps again]. When it is snowing you make a lot — not so many cabs on the street but people need to go places still. The best though is when it is cold and clear, because in the snow you have to be careful. On New Year’s you make a lot, because it is usually cold and also lots of people are out. You can make for yourself, 200, 250 dollars. And when the streets are busy here, then you can make money at the airport, because everyone is staying in the city, so you can get fares easier there. •