I’m saying from the outset that this post may be wrong. Illogical. Off base. Often times, when I start going places with math in my head, it turns out not to work out so well. But here goes.
When I get into a cab these days (which I do more often since I live in a place where the nearest 24-hour bus is a mile away on both ends and the Brown Line stops running at some point and my only other option is North Avenue to Blue Line, three block walk home), I am struck by my sticker shock at the flag pull. $3.65? Really?
There used to be a cheaper flag pull and a $.50 fuel surcharge which seemed more reasonable, to be honest. I’ve been flinching at the price and trying to remind myself that everything is just more expensive and gas is so expensive, etc., etc. But then I started doing the math.
For some reason tonight, it occurred to me that the flag pull was roughly equivalent to a gallon of gas. Now I realize in taking a taxi you’re paying for the convenience of having someone take you somewhere, etc. It’s much more expensive than driving your own car (or someone else’s car) with your own gas. But shit, that’s a gallon of gas. And let’s say very conservatively, it gets you 20 miles (some of those cabs are hybrids, yo). That means … by just *getting in the cab,* I have paid for the first 20 miles of my trip, of the next dude’s trip, of the woman’s trip after that. Cause let’s be real. I think my trip was at most, 5 miles tonight. That’s a lot of extra miles. And total? I paid like $18 for that ride.
Speaking of which … tips. I’m lost. A long time ago, it was completely standard to tip $1 a ride. I felt a long time ago that wasn’t right … when prices went up, I guess. Then, for a long time, I bumped my standard to $2. Now, it seems like I’m almost feeling like my standard tip is $3. About the price of a pull? That can’t be right. Is it? Cause my fare was like $15 and that’d be something like 20%, so I don’t think I’m that off.
I don’t know. I remember a very, very long time ago, moving to the city and listening to my then new roommate and her old friend having conversation somewhat along these lines. About cabs. And how much they cost. And how you couldn’t do much about it. And at the end, they just went, “Cabs, man. Cabs.” That still pretty much sums it up today.