The other night I took a cab ride home at a much later hour than I’d like to admit. My driver was a man with glasses and kind eyes who wearing mostly black. We hit it off as I asked him about his job out of curiosity. I told him about my journalistic projects and asked him if he would be interested in doing an interview. He gave me a card with a phone number and told me to give him a call in the next couple of days.
The driver works for a Canadian cab company in the town of Whitby, Ontario. Due to the nature of his occupation he wished to remain anonymous for obvious and professional reasons. There are currently two cab companies in Whitby, but according to the cabbie they are far from being each other’s biggest competition.
Uber has experienced a surge in popularity in the last few years, one that directly affects the cab business.
“Uber is killing us. It’s really eating at our business,” he says. “A lot of people would rather take a Uber than a cab now “.
But if we’re talking about money just how exactly is the money shared between the cab company and its employees?
“We split 50-50. The cab company gets half and we get half. It’s not too bad,” he admits.
When l asked him about his previous evening night shift his voice took a happier tone.
“A guy wanted a ride to Durham College on Simcoe [street]”, he begins. “He asked how much it [the fare] was. I told him $30 and asked me if l could do it for ten. I told him, ” Look, I’m a nice guy, but I can’t do that.”
This story has a bright ending, however.
“Someone outside the bar just gave him the extra twenty and said he owed him a couple of drinks if they ever saw each other again.”
He told me the highlight of his last shift came from a group that required him to make multiple stops.
“I drove girls from the club earlier. They all came as a group and l dropped each of them to their homes. I made $64 total so that’s not too bad.”
The cabbie admits the business is not as profitable as it once was and reveals he faces challenging prospects for the future.
“I’m making half the money l used to make 5-6 years ago doing this,” he said. “I only do this part-time on the weekends but it’s not what it used to be. My cab license expires in a few months and frankly l don’t know if I’ll still be driving a year from now.”
Next time you take a cab you might want to think about tipping the driver, especially if he or she is kind and friendly.