Hi Mad Cabbie- I just discovered your blog and I love it! I am working my way through the archives, and you have some great stories.
I frequently take cabs in DC, and one thing I've always been curious about that I am wondering if you mind clarifying. Do drivers get a cut of the cab fare at all? Also what is considered an acceptable tip? I've been told rounding up the fare and adding a dollar is ok, also I have been told to tip 15-20% like you would in a restaurant.
Thanks for any input on the matter!
Thanks Meg for enjoying my work! My vocabulary adds up to be about fifty words, maybe sixty three on a good day. So when someone like yourself appreciates my third grade level writing, it makes me feel good.
Meg, I can only speak for DC cabs, so to answer your question: 100% of the cab fare goes to the driver! That doesn't mean the full fare adds up to be a take home income for us. Like any business we have expenses! We pay for gas, taxicab insurance, dispatch fees, car repairs, car washes, license fees, schedule C income tax, inspection station bribes, hookers and the list goes on and on. I say if we're lucky we take home about 60 cents for every dollar we collect from cab fares.
Tipping your cabbie is usually like you said, people round up the fare and add a dollar if the fare is $10 or less. 10-20% is pretty typical assuming that the driver is skilled and friendly, driving a clean cab. If a driver is a complete jerk off and smells like a pig or smells like a typical DC Yellow Cab driver, you should ask for a refund and an apology letter.
I make great tips most of the time because I know my craft well, I know how to bull-shit and I also give great foot rubs. I can take you to any shithole address in Washington DC and no GPS necessary. I can take you places where you can get the best weed east of the Mississippi that may get you stoned until the November elections.
In a nutshell, tipping is usually up to the passenger's wallet and up to an informed driver willing to put in that extra effort to make the customer happy. I hope I answered your question Meg!
Please don't forget the homeless like Fenty did,