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Friday, February 24, 2006


BTW - All photos can be enlarged for easier viewing by just "left clicking" on them. :)
This happened sometime on Tuesday night's shift. The day driver found it on Wednesday morning. I called the owner Wednesday night after the day driver called me. He told me not to worry about it. We'll fix it if the hotel complains. No big deal. All I can figure is someone scraped me when I was away from the vehicle.


This is my friend Tammy. She is a bartender at Neptune's, one of the clubs in the "bar-muda triangle". Tammy is one of the most positive people I've ever met. I don't think anything will ever give her the "blues". Luv ya, sweetheart.


Last night was the busiest that I have seen since the new meter rates went into effect on January 6th. I started an hour later than usual. Just needed that extra hour off to "recharge the batteries". One of my last trips from the previous shift were 3 ladies going to the airport, at 4:30am, for a day-trip to Honolulu and Pearl Harbor to see the USS ARIZONA, USS MISSOURI and Waikiki. I had given them my card and told them if they needed to be picked up on their return to just give us a call. And golly-gee, they actually called and wanted me to meet them at the airport at 7:30pm. The owner called me at home around 6:30pm, just as I was getting out of the shower (good omen - I wasn't IN the shower when he called) and told me about this "special request". I boogied down to the garage and me and ONE-NINE headed for Mau'i International Airport (I won't say our airport is small, but both the departure and arrival terminals could fit comfortably inside an average Wisconson milking barn). Greeted them at the bottom of the escalator and took them back to Kihei. They had had a great day and were exhausted.

They are departing the island on monday (my day off), so I made arrangements for another driver to pick them up and take them to the airport.

The more ambitious drivers in the company do that to help each other out. Also, they really do need a van. Three ladies, here for two weeks, do tend to bring a lot of luggage.

And even though my Soprano's car can hold four dead bodies in the trunk, it ain't big enough for that much luggage.

As the shift progressed, I was to make 4 more trips to the airport. Add that to 11 long in-town runs and the night ended very profitablely. GRIN


In most of the U.S., cab drivers pay a fee to lease their vehicle for a specific period of time. Once they earn back that fee during their shift they start making a profit from thereon. This makes the business very "cutthroat" for the drivers. Out of their profits for the shift they must also buy their own gas, usually from the "company store", since the cab must have a full tank at the beginning and end of their shift.

On Mau'i, very few companies operate that way. Here the drivers total up the trip dollars at the end of the shift and pay the company 60% of that amount, keeping 40% and their tips for themselves. Any monies expended for gas/oil/etc. are deducted from the company's share of the proceeds. This is actually a pretty good deal for both sides. The busier you are means both the company and driver share the shift's profits. Conversely, the driver doesn't get "the shaft" if the shift is slow.

Long runs mean a higher total meter but a lower tip percent for the driver. Short runs earn less on the meter but people are more generous with their tip percentage. A run from The Grand to the airport takes about 1 hour for the round trip. The fare is $53.30 and most people give you $60 "and keep the change". During that same hour, a driver staying in Wailea could do 5 hotel-to-hotel runs, for an average of $6 per trip. The passenger usually gives them $10 and "keep the change". Thus the driver who went to the airport earned $28.02 for the hour and the driver who stayed in Wailea earned $32. The company earned $31.98 off of the airport driver and $18 from the driver who stayed back.

Unlike New York, where a driver who makes a run to one of the airports will then queue up at the taxi terminal there for a run out of the airport, thus earning money in both directions, we have to "deadhead" back from the airport.

The State of Hawai'i, Department of Transportation, has an exclusive contract with Mau'i Airport Taxi for all non-scheduled taxi departures. Any other cab company and/or driver trying to poach in their domain will lose their airport usage permits. Outside companies and drivers are only authorized and permitted to make pre-arranged pickups from OGG (Mau'i's FAA designation).

Most drivers at Royal Cab do a blend of both types of runs during their shift.

Night shift drivers do have one advantage, and disadvantage, over the day shift drivers. We deal with drunks most of the night. Drunks can be a real pain in the ass but generally tend to be very gregarious when tipping. Obnoxious drunks are the main reason most drivers hate to work at night. Those of us who do, are very adept at making a legal profit from them.

Day shift driver have the ability to take tourists on tours of the island. Before the rate change, we charged $50 per hour (2 hour minimum) to do this. I think the rate is now $75 per hour. This isn't really as expensive as it sounds. The tour bus companies charge $200 per person for the same service. A typical tour is about 10 hours long.

A family of 5 would spend $1,000 if they went on the tour bus or $750 dollars with us. And we will stop anywhere you want on the tour rather than only at designated venues. Our drivers (Jim and Susan) who specialize in this service are really knowledgeable and personnable.

BTW - If, perchance, you are headed this way and this sounds interesting to you. Just call us at 808-874-6900 and ask for Jim or Susan to call you back. We'll need your name and telephone number to do this.

And as the Moon and Venus watch, the sun begins to creep up on Mt. Haleakala ("house of the sun") and brings another of my shifts to a close.


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