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Old 29th November 2008, 17:03   #1
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Post Myself, Studies, Cabs and Caffeine

Hi Everyone as few of you already know I have done my MS in Telecommunication Engg. from Australia. This Thread is going to cover my journey on why I decided to drive cabs for 8 months and how I managed it with studies and the complete cabbie experience. This document will be devided in three sections:
1) Acquiring Cabbie License
2) Cabbing Experience
3) Understanding Cabbies

Please excuse any typo and my grammar I am not at all a good writer but am still giving it a shot hoping to share the meaning of word 'cabbie' with all the members.

ACQUIRING CABBIE LICENCE
Well to be frank when I decided to go to Australia for further studies I had planned everything in advance and I knew I had to do a part time job as I wanted to be independent and not take any money from home. It all started with an education loan, my admission and before I knew I was in Melbourne Australia. After Enrolling and getting my classes right which took approx two months I started looking for a part time job. I am not going to discuss much about my studies as its off topic. So Initially I started working as a cashier at grocery store and after a couple of months I decided to start driving cabs.
Reason for driving cabs:
1) Passion for cars
2) Big Bucks
3) No fixed shifts and
4) Desire for Adventure.
Hurdles to driving cabs:
1) Acquiring an Australian Licence
2) Acquiring a Taxi Licence which included a written test and a practical test.

Acquiring an Australian License

Acquiring an Australian license was the easiest thing except for getting a date for my driving test which was hard manage because of my busy study schedule. Any ways it was an easy test as Australia is Right hand drive like India only difference being you actually have to learn all the road signs in the book and yes follow them too. The toughest part for me was getting used to the give way signs and round about rules (Circle) everything else was just fine.

Acquiring Taxi License

This was the toughest (Not to mention most expensive) part it included 7 days of course work in which you have to memorize each and every road in the city, hospitals, stations, airport, hotels etc etc. It has One written test based on Melbourne Road maps and important locations. Written test being a multiple choice is very easy and finished it in no time. The practical test is tough and most of the people fail the test in the first attempt and retaking the test costs a bomb. To avoid this I rented a car for one day and went driving all over the city trying to get familiar with all the important locations. To clear the test it was not only important to know the locations but also the fastest and the shortest way of reaching there from any point in the city. Test day, with me there were three other students in the car I was the first one to go and I opened the test paper it Says : Camberwell Station voila that’s where I used to live and was a cake walk for me (Lucky I must say) the sad part was from there on all the other students failed. But I was not shocked as only 1 in 10 people pass the test on first attempt. If you guys are wondering how I got time to do all this while studying , I took this test during my summer vacations and was whole lot of fun.

In two more days my ID was ready my license had arrived and I was ready to drive a cab but where is the cab as a newbie its hard to get a cab that too on a weekend where the money is (I was not interested in driving weekdays as I was going to resume classes soon). I got lucky again over there one of my friend had got an offer to drive a cab on weekends which he refused as the cab owner used to live on the opposite side of the town which happened to be my side of the town. And there I was even before I realized it I had a brand new Ford Falcon to drive just on the weekends.

Well this very much concludes my journey on how I got my Cabbie status. I am sure most of you must be wondering did I ever study in Australia at all I would say despite of fulfilling my hobby and earning money I topped the class throughout my course with an average GPA of 3.7 (that was my purpose of going there right i.e. to study)

I will be posting my further cabbing experience and a couple of incidents as soon as and I get time. I am sure a few of my experiences are worth sharing.
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Old 29th November 2008, 17:58   #2
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Cabbing Experience

I drove cabs for 8 months mostly on the weekend’s night shift. I had classes from Monday to Thursday so Friday night and Saturday night were the best nights for me to work and yes Friday and Saturday nights has max $$ too. During 8 months I must have done 80 odd shifts of 8 to 12 hours, which would include a total of approx 800 hrs of cabbing. In each shift I would drive around 250 kms, which would be approx 20000kms of cab driving.

Cab Owner

The owner of the cab (Samuel) was rich, fat and Russian who had total of two cabs. The fact that each cab with license cost over 2 lac AUD is enough to know how rich he is. His house was approximately 20 kms away from the city and was huge. He also had two hot daughters I wont go into much details about them. I used the drive the same cab, which he would drive during the day shift, hence I had to go 10 kms from my house to his house and then another 20 kms to the city to start work. This was the time when I ended up buying a 1989 Nissan Pintara red in order to commute. The tie up with Samuel was what ever money I made was to be shared 50:50 with him and he would bear the fuel cost. I shared a great friendship with the cab owner and on Sunday early morning when I would finish the shift he would always call me in his house for breakfast. All in all a great person to work with and yes no nonsense type.

Security

Security was my main concern and did a lot of research on the same before I started driving cabs. All the cabs are equipped with a wide angle night vision camera situated just above the rare view mirror, it also had a radio with a display where I used to get most of my jobs from, my cab also had a GPS. Also all cabs have an emergency panic switch which when pressed alerts the cops and sends a radio message to all the other cabs and gives information about your location. Also the live audio feed from the cab is heard in the control center during this time. In my case I never even came close to using it and nor did I know anyone who used it which is a good thing.

A typical Working Night

My typical shift would included lot of caffeine multiple passengers, yes drunk passengers, hot chicks mostly drunk, few business people and occasionally Indians (who always got 50 % off) . Most of the days were ordinary traveling from one nightclub to another, Crown, Hotels, etc. I will highlight a couple of my experiences, which set a normal day apart. I would normally end up eating either at McDonalds or at the airport cafe and take atleast two power naps of atleast 15 minutes each. And yes I always had good music in my cab. I met a lot of people of different type, religion, nationality etc and the experience is one of the most cherished memories of my life.

Example of Inexperience

This was around the 5th time I was driving a cab and at the end of my shift I got a ‘fare’ of young girls. Normal practice and advice to me from other cabbie friends was to always take the money upfront till this date I never did (I was dumb). So when I stopped to drop them off guess what happens they open the doors and start running. Frankly I did not know what to do nor did I try and follow them but yes learnt a lesson not to trust anyone. I told this to Samuel and asked him to remove the video footage but he advised its not worth it. Yes had to pay the 50% from my pocket. From there on drunk passengers had to pay upfront the approximate amount of the journey.

4 Drunk girls

If you are driving cabs that too on the weekends in night shift you are bound to come across groups of drunk girls. On one odd night I picked up a group of 4 girls from Chapel Street where a lot of parties happen. It was a multiple drop all girls were to be dropped one by one. Money was paid upfront and off we went. Dropped off the first three girls and the last one was far most from the city. She was drunk and started talking I just broke up with my boy friend blah blah I was not concentrating on a single thing she was talking. When we reached and asked her to leave as I was in a hurry to drop the car, she says “I wont leave” I say “You have reached home” she said “I know” a pause of silence and I was thinking what should I do in such an event. She said “kiss me” first I though I heard something wrong she again said “Kiss me” I am like ‘what!!’ thinking at the back of the mind she was good looking for sure but trust me it was not at all fun as a matter of fact it was scary. After thinking a lot I again politely told her “madam please you have to leave now I have a job waiting please don’t force me to call the authorities”. On listening the word authorities she immediately hopped off blabbering “what a waste” and I took a deep breath almost the same way when you see your mark sheet in blue instead of red. At the back of the mind I myself started wondering what a waste lol, but was sure I did the right thing.

Drunk Rich Man

If you think above part was fun this one was more fun for me. Again I don’t remember the exact day but it was one of the weekends when I was fed up of no work and was heading back to drop the car. On my way back a man in a black suit waved at me he looked like a person in his mid 50’s and a businessmen. It was around 4.am. I stopped and he immediately said I am drunk and I need to get home he gave me his license which had his address, 100$ and said please get me home no taxi is coming. How would he get a cab, it was too late on a slow night almost every taxi driver was either at the airport or home. I looked at the address and it was a long ride it was on the out skirts of Melbourne similar to how Mumbai and navi Mumbai is. But still 100 $ was much more than the actual fare. I picked him up and headed off towards the address with my GPS guiding me all the way. By the time we reached the guy was fast asleep. I woke him up “sir we are there the gate is closed”. He had a private house with a Main gate. He wakes up presses a couple of buttons on his cell phone and the gate opened. I couldn’t stop thinking what he did when he asked me to drive in. The driveway was long and looked like a rich mans house. Parked along the side of the drive way where 3 Mercedes S classes in a row and two cars which were covered and looked like sports car have no clue which they were. We went along the driveway at the entrance I put the headlights on high beam what I saw was a shocker there was a Helicopter Bright blue in color in the back yard. By this time my eyes were wide open. He stepped out and removed his wallet out came another 100$ bill and said thanks Mate!! This was one of he best nights I ever had. I still wonder who that man was and what he does for a living. Oh yes I dint have to share the tips with the owner.
Well these were few experiences which I felt are worth discussing the 3rd part I have not typed yet will do that soon which will highlight what a cabbies life is, they play a small but important role in our society and why they drive the way they do.

Friends feel free to ask questions.cheers:
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Old 29th November 2008, 18:04   #3
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thanks taz, as someone who is torn between wondering if i should go abroad to study and whether i will be able to make ends meet, i was quite inspired
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Old 29th November 2008, 18:13   #4
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tazmaan that was a good experience.

I do agree with greenhorn. Well i am in the process of applying right now
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Old 29th November 2008, 18:28   #5
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Nice, I am eagerly awaitng your experiences writeup
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Old 29th November 2008, 18:36   #6
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I've put my feet up, the glass with Gorbaschov & Orange Juice is on the side table along with some cold cuts and am all eyes.. Bring it on. Very ineteresting first part..
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Old 29th November 2008, 19:52   #7
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Taz,

I'm hooked. Awesome story. This is the stuff life is made of.
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Old 29th November 2008, 20:14   #8
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Somewhat this reminds me of the movie, Taxi Driver although that movie has a different dark angle to it. But helps me in visualizing your descriptions. A really unique and refreshing writeup. Please go on, we are waiting eagerly.
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Old 29th November 2008, 20:18   #9
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tazmaan, great stories mate. Please keep them coming
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Old 29th November 2008, 22:01   #10
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Excellent write-up Tasmaan. Keep it coming.
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Old 30th November 2008, 02:36   #11
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Excellent memoirs tazmaan, keep them coming.

Cheers
M M
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Old 30th November 2008, 02:52   #12
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Amazing
just loved it
waiting for more


its an inspiration for me too since i am also looking forward to further studies.
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Old 30th November 2008, 04:06   #13
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Beautiful...Just beautiful. Have dreamt of doing this sometime(either this or being a truck driver). Keep the stories coming, I am living it !
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Old 30th November 2008, 13:23   #14
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Awesome stories man! Keep them coming, it's fun to read such experiences!
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Old 30th November 2008, 13:47   #15
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Nice start. Waiting for those stories to follow.

Just one small request. Put some full stops in between your writing. It's not very tough you know! Just like you take breath.
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