Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More on Penn Station. -getting tickets. NO, getting passengers

Seriously; when it comes to Penn Station and how a cab driver should work with it, you could write a novel on the topic.

just a few days ago I heard someone from my garage got a ticket when he dropped off on the left side of 7th Avenue. And as word spread around the line of drivers waiting to pay their fees to the garage at the end of the day, each and everyone had advice to give and/or they listened to all the tips themselves.

helpful tips were about 32nd street. Pulling over to receive fares, said one, will get you tickets. making that left turn will get you a ticket.

I myself received two tickets in my first week about 5 years ago when I picked up a fare at the designated line on 7th avenue and then cut across all lanes to make that left turn. Luckily my lawyer managed to reduce it to a one ticket penalty at 2 points off my license rather than 5 points. the police were so novice at the job that they forgot to return my hack license to me, so I had to wait several minutes before I mustered up the courage to walk over to their car and ask if they were supposed to have my license, or if I could get it back. I thought my career was over and therefore they were supposed to take it. of course that wasn't the case and they just forgot to hand it back to me.

Other advice from that same helpful driver who mentions 32nd also mentions that he never lets his passengers off at 32nd street, no matter what they say to him, no matter how much they yell, he drives to the corner of 31st street and drops them off there.

As for what my driving style is, I prefer to always drive by the taxi line and drop people off at an open spot beside the curb past the cross walk and past the intersection, never in it. I tell my passengers that I'm going to find a spot to pullover first, so that they don't leave while i'm in a moving lane. hold on to the change, or don't take their money until I pull over, i try not to have to much of a moment stopped next to the taxi line so that they aren't tempted to leave the car. If they say they are in a hurry, and they look like quick people, I say "okay but make it quick." and I act like I had no control, nor' knowledge of them leaving the car. The key to getting a ticket is double parking, don't do it. find a spot near the curb. you can also make a left turn on 33rd street and drop them off at the corner there. 33rd street is fairly empty and allows for more space if you need to open the trunk and get their bags. I also don't like to pull into a moving taxi line to drop off passengers. The line moves so quick that I would than be blocking the flow of empty taxis to the awaiting passengers. If the line is moving really good, I sometimes drop the passenger off at the far west corner, always using my hazard lights and I stop there. If there is another cab behind me I wave them around. It is most frustrating when a full cab pulls into the taxi line and with 3 cars to go to the front of the line, the cab stops and lets out the passenger, hence putting the brakes on the whole pick-up line, and letting other cabs cut in front. These cabs may also get a ticket for cutting in the line.

Quite often on a busy day, but when the line is too much to work through and would most likely involve me blocking an intersection and running over pedestrians, I will move past the whole taxi line, pulling over after 32nd street as close to the curb as possible, and often one lone passenger asks if she/he can get in. I gladly take them, and off we go, a drop off and a pick-up, un-hindered by the nightmarish line. It is better if they don't even ask, but rather just hop in, because I'd like to pretend that I didn't give them permission to get in, as picking up anywhere near the taxi line could also be means for another ticket.

lately an entire line has developed in the morning on the left side of 32nd street, as most people walk across the street to get a cab to make that left down that street. There is always heavy police eventually, on both sides, on all corners there. I wouldn't risk double parking. If I see a quick enough pick-up rate at the Hotel Pennsylvania I'll wait there for 10 seconds. The doorman usually doesn't like anyone waiting anywhere near his hotel, and he talks for hours to the police in a police car marked as a taxicab. what is most effective is to wait for the lights to almost turn yellow as I go through 33rd street on the left side of the avenue, then slowly drive to the left side of 7th ave and 32nd street as the light turns red. Now there is nothing illegal being done here. I am legitimately stopped at a red light. when it turns green and sadly I didn't receive any fares I continue down 32nd street toward 6th avenue. I do not want to hinder the flow of traffic. I hate when other drivers drive slowly for their own personal gains when they are irritating the drivers behind them, so I pull over if there is a car behind me. I hope for another red light at 6th avenue and 32nd street. Chances are that people at all corners of this intersection will want a cab, as they are walking over from Penn, or coming out of the path train station there. If no fares are grabbed yet again, I repeat and make the left on 33rd only to try the left side of 7th avenue and 32nd street all over again.

Eventually the traffic gets tangled up badly at 32nd street, which means it'll be bad at 30th, and 28th, and Penn Station becomes a bad place to pick up, as people don't tip well, and too much time is waisted. I move on downtown to pick up to drive people aiming to get uptown, etc.. etc...

I'd say that Penn Station is good for pick-ups early in the morning from as early if you're lucky at 4:30 am to about 7am, and then the traffic makes it less of a good time. 8th avenue at penn station should be good till' about 8am. Again later in the day when traffic gets so tangled, at 11am, 10 am, noon, heck whenever, basically in the middle of the day, people are desperate for cabs there. I'd aim for only the 8th avenue taxi line at that later time, as there is more room for a taxi line less of a chance of illegal moves.

note- this advice of course is for the working days, monday through friday,

saturday and sunday are NOT GOOD to depend on Penn Station, and the police will be there everyday. use hotels, and middle class residential neighborhoods, people who work at hospitals work everyday. One cab driver told me a long time ago when I was new, to try going down Lexington Avenue and think about people who have to go to work on the weekend. I'm not saying to go down Lexington Avenue, most often, especially on the weekends, it doesn't make money in the early hours to go down any avenue for too long, you have to keep a lot of distance from other cabs, being at the very front or very back. try to do some studying as to which corners are the best for pick-ups, and plan your turns so that you arrive to those corners before others. Waiting in places looking as ready as you can be to pick-up is also a very good strategy, it keeps you rested, saves gas, and creates a better image of a safer driver.

And Please!!! Stop cutting over 5 lanes without a good amount of space between you and other cars. And if there is another cab lined up to pick-up a fare that you could get if you endanger an entire avenue of traffic's lives for, don't do that!!!