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Taxi 4

Who would want to become a taxi driver? It's not really a young person's dream job. More often than not it's a convenience job, in which one sometimes gets stuck. A long time ago, all that was needed was a driving licence and of course, knowing your way around town was compulsory. The car itself was on the road day and night, if it wasn't indisposed through an accident or a necessary repair, of course it was driven by various drivers.

When working shifts, there are any number of possible combinations for the drivers: they can work only during the day or only at night or combined with Sundays and public holidays. Some drivers are paid a part of the turnover, others draw a basic salary regardless of whether they are on the road or waiting at a rank. It becomes a bit tricky, when the driver gets a fare which takes him/her way outside the town borders. If a company has employees who are paid by both methods, then these tours are given to those earning a basic salary.

The name 'local knowledge test' doesn't say much about the conditions. Not only are they checked for having a clean traffic offense record, also, as far as health is concerned, they must be fit to drive a motor vehicle. Not only must one know the street names but also the network of roads and the places of interest.

Larger taxi operations are, to a degree, at an advantage. If e.g., they have a radio-controlled central, the expenses of the larger operations can be more effectively spread. The same thing is valid for the administration and, just as important, they profit by having their own service-station for the vehicles. With roughly 100.000 km per year, this can make a lot of sense. By the way, smaller- or one-man operations can also be carried out using mobile phones which can store the calls in their memory.

A certain amount of experience is needed, when the respective operations have to estimate how many taxis they can operate, and still make a profit. In the case of not particularly large towns, one could possibly close the service down completely between the hours of 10 or 12 pm until 6 am, of course, only on weekdays, not on weekends. Night calls, by telephone, are also far less frequent.

It would appear that finding lucrative locations for the various vehicles is an even greater difficulty. Although, the taxi operations almost always know where something's happening and when the fully occupied trains arrive. There is also the question of which car is to be called from the ranks to service a telephone booking, e.g., probably one which is nearer to the rear at one of the more well known ranks. Of course, the newest technology makes the deciding much easier, similar to the controlling of a haulage company.

The taxis also have their regular customers. People who always travel the same routes, e.g., to the doctors or to go grocery shopping. It's no wonder, that in this case, older people are in the majority. Some taxi drivers even develop certain qualities, one might say, that they even have to play the role of the psycholgist. They should be good listeners and not have patent judgements ready, this apparently, also has a favourable effect on the size of the possible tip. 09/13

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