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October 02, 2012

Driving A Cab In Battle Creek: 'I watch their eyes'


Driving A Cab In Battle Creek: 'I watch their eyes'

Bright lights of the Yellow cab emerged out of the early morning fog and mist, on time, at 6:05.

It’s been years since they found that cab driver's body, left stuffed in the trunk, in the Riverside School parking lot.

But the cabbies don’t forget.

And lots have changed: Taxi cabs now have a bulletproof, sliding plastic barrier between drivers, and passengers in the back seat.

Rear door locks can be controlled by the driver.

But it's dangerous work. Not much money.

taximeter.jpg"I rent this thing (cab) from the company. $80 a day plus gas. Anything over that I keep," the cabbie tells me.

"You can make $100 sometimes, if you wanna work a 14-hour day."

Cold days are better than warm.

Rain better than sunshine.

He appreciates the approach of winter.

"People don't like to stand out and freeze waiting for a bus," he says.

"First, Second and Third days of the month, everybody’s busy. People get their (SSI or SS) money."

There are usually 8 to 10 'Yellow' cabs on call in BC, plus several other cab companies, if you don't mind the occasional lingering smell of puke in the back seats.

Could he refuse a fare, if worried about getting stuffed in his trunk?, I asked.

"Hey, if we fear for our life, we don't have to pick up nobody," he commented.

How do you decide?

"You get a sense for it after a while.

“Time of day.

“Where they want to go. “

Who'se with them.

“I always, always watch their eyes."

I pay the fare, push a $4 tip through the glass cutout, thinking that, race and class may also be silent passengers in many a cab ride.

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