Saturday, January 16, 2010


Drivers' lounges at taxi garages across NYC vary widely in the ways they operate and in what content they post on their walls. Most of the signs, however, are announcements and warnings for the cabdrivers. In this post I've included a few signs from the previous fleet I leased from in Long Island City. I like referring to them as the Russian mafia because of the sneaky sleazeball vibes they put out in their dealings with us (the workforce.)

Above is a notice that says, "We are letting you know that car wash located on 43rd Avenue, corner of Crescent Street is opened to serve you." The garage has an account there, since it is not the duty of the driver to pay out of pocket to keep the cab clean. Below is just a random, funny, unusual scene. Taxi roof cones, etc. stored haphazardly on top of a vending machine.

And now for a bit of hypocritical irony. Above is the chart that tells you how much it costs to lease a taxicab at that garage, depending on what time you start. Though a normal shift goes from 4 or 5 am until 4 or 5 pm (or pm to am), this garage likes to charge extra if you wish to begin your shift early.

Now look at the sign below. It says, "A driver shall not operate a taxicab for more than 12 consecutive hours." Does that mean this garage expects its cabbies to return from the streets as early as they left, after being that much further in the hole with their overhead expenses? If you've ever driven a taxi in NY you know that is total Baloney.

The only motivation for a cabdriver to be an 'early bird' is to try and hope that a couple extra hours of exposure to the boroughs might inch them slightly closer to a living income. To have to dish out more money for this slim gamble of an opportunity is frankly an abomination to our morale, and illegal if I'm not mistaken.

My current garage in Brooklyn does not engage in such . They respect the extra effort I make to improve my own lot by showing up at an even ungodlier hour. That's why I refer to them as the Greek gang. They too are greedy, but not as rampant as the Russian mob. Their garage feels more like a family, drivers included. Their dispatchers (a Trinidadian and a Bangladeshi) often dissuade us from tipping them (out of solidarity), as opposed to demanding it like black mail.

Between me and you, I've never leased a cab from this garage that had a spare tire, a jack, or a wrench. And if you ask the management about it, they'll send you to the mechanics. And the mechanics will tell you, "tough luck." The sign above is a crock.


  1. Btw, love that top picture, the garage has good lighting, but it looks like you got a steady hand, as i like the blurry worker counteracting with the stillness of the place, and the garage door partially open it's like transitional, or like busy yet also serene, as the hours in between the two 5 o'clocks always are.

  2. If you post more, I'll comment more!


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