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I love the gambling analogy.
Airports are a goldmine, or just somewhere to watch planes.

There is an element of gambling, even fishing, in how it runs in cabbing. Maybe it's that that keeps us going in an underpaid industry.

I had my charmed run at Warrnambool on Labor Day (a dead day - I was only on at all as a favour to the manager).

I got a radio call to go to our local hospital and collect some pharmaceuticals to Terang Hospital, about 45 km away. Nice work at about $84. But that was just the beginning.

Having got there and delivered to the nurse-in-charge, she then gave me some blood samples in an esky to take to Gribbles Pathology Laboratory at Warrnambool Hospital. This would normally have gone to the local taxis except that it was unclear when they'd be there and I was 'on-the-spot'. The sample was perishable and needed to be there as soon as possible. Another $80+ fare.

Finding someone at Gribbles was no easy task on a holiday, with the main entrance closed. Eventually I found the technician herself. She said that if I liked to come back in half an hour, she'd get me to take it back to Terang. So I went and had lunch before coming back. She was a bit later than that finishing the tests, but I wasn't complaining with most other cabs sitting around. Another $80+ fare gave me $229 just from the hospital errands.

Three days later I was at near the top of our out-of-town roster cars. Actually I was home having breakfast when the 'immediate roster' call came up - so missed out. It was a trip to Camperdown, about $115. Pretty small beer by roster standards but you'd always take it if offered.

Believe it or not, I got another roster offer about 11am, also to Camperdown. This time I was able to take it. Not only that, but it involved a return trip, shuttling railway crews between Warrnambool and Camperdown (plus some waiting at Camperdown Station). Came to about $238.

So it was a pretty good week. Alas, like all gamblers I quickly forget all the miserable long days when nothing much other than very short jobs happened.

Never mind, Adrian...better luck next time! ;)

Don, great account, in each respect. And $115 is 'pretty small beer by roster standards!? Ahh, the luck of the regional cabbie, I'm sorely tempted to join you. Cheers,

10% Eftpos surcharge is highway robbery. Every other business in Australia charges 0%. Typical of the taxi industry.

Yobbo, you'll find many merchants levy a surcharge on credit cards, usually a nominal amount covering the processing cost to the merchants, around 1%. But yes, 10% is unique and a blatant rip-off, approved as a one-off Sydney Olympics provision and retained ever since.

This highly inequitable charge overnight negated rounding-up of fares in the cabbies favour, none of whom defend the surcharge. Whilst "typical of the taxi industry" a fair distinction needs to be made between taxi operators/mafia and the humble cabbie.

Regarding this and knowing your long-standing antipathy towards the industry in general, you may be interested to read the current submission on behalf of drivers to the IPART taxi fare review. I commend the document as a rare inside look at the real economic burden borne by drivers, as distinct from industry profiteers,

Governments, in NSW and elsewhere around Australia, as well as the dominant industry stakeholders, represented by the NSW Taxi Council Limited, and its equivalents, use and abuse the industry workforce - the bailee taxi driver- with a regulatory structure of below minimum achievable earning rates, unsafe working conditions, excessive, and unregulated, working hours and, at least in NSW a fare structure without logical verified and tested foundation.

Meanwhile, welcome back Yobbo. For some strange reason I briefly considered whether your blogging absence was due to obtaining a taxi license and making a killing in Perth. I must have been pissed !

Sorry to bring up the Out-of-Town rosters again, Adrian, but the eftpos thing set me going.

I took a lady to Melbourne Airport (fare from Warrnambool $452). She paid by eftpos, making her cost with the 10% levy $497. She wasn't too worried because provided she had a receipt she could get it all back from Vet Affairs, but I thought it was outrageous.

And your point is well made that Cabcharge and the owners are getting away with a lot. On short haul fares it is not so noticeable. But the other ripoff is that we drivers only get our 50% of the actual fare. In my example the $45 went to the owners and Cabcharge. (Not that I'd necessarily want to be party to this extortion.)

The one thing about our industry is that we've had an early exposure to what's in store for the workforce in general under the HR Nicholls- Workchoice plan. At least I know I can survive in it, but if I was young ... there's no way I'd wear it.

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