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FINDING THAT NEXT TAXI FARE: Is it just luck or is there method to enhance your chances?

Image credit: DALL.E (AI generated)

Securing the next fare as a taxi driver is less about luck and more about strategic decision-making and understanding the urban transport dynamics. From the outside, many might believe that finding work is a matter of being in the right place at the right time, and there is always an element of luck, but there are effective strategies that can significantly enhance a driver’s ability to secure more fares over the course of a working shift.

It would be great if passengers are always readily available immediately after a driver completes a trip. Ideally, this would be true, with a seamless flow of customers hopping in as soon as one set departs. However, the reality for most taxi drivers is quite different.

Effective Positioning to Meet Passenger Demand

One of the most effective strategies for finding new passengers is to identify and target areas where there is demand, yet other taxis are scarce. This approach should mean less dead time empty and not earning, reducing idle time and increasing overall efficiency. For example, being aware of local events, peak business hours, and key social hours can guide drivers to locations with heightened demand.

Drivers should also consider the broader spectrum of potential passengers beyond those on the streets. Utilising digital hailing platforms, in addition to traditional street pickups, can open up a larger pool of customers. This dual approach allows drivers to tap into a more extensive network, reducing the risk of long waits in areas oversaturated with taxis.

Diversification of Location and Time

It’s crucial for drivers to diversify their locations throughout the day. Areas with high demand can vary significantly; morning rushes are different from lunchtime peaks or evening surges. For instance, business districts might be lucrative in the mornings and evenings, while tourist spots could prove more profitable during afternoons and weekends.

Understanding these patterns and being flexible can lead to more consistent fares. For example, knowing which local businesses and offices use taxis for transporting staff can be a game-changer. Knowing when shifts end or when major events let out can position a driver strategically ahead of competitors.

A common pitfall many drivers encounter is following the lead of other taxis. If a taxi driver simply follows an empty taxi, they will never be in a position to pick-up a passenger from the street. Instead, breaking away and exploring different streets or areas can lead to unexpected pickups.

Many drivers tend to cluster around taxi ranks, especially at train stations and airports. While this can sometimes yield quick fares due to high passenger turnover, it often results in unnecessary waiting due to the sheer number of taxis present. Exploring less obvious but busy locations — such as hospitals, theatres, and large shopping centres — can, when timed right, prove more beneficial.

Leveraging Technology and Local Knowledge

Today’s taxi industry is bolstered by technology, with various apps and tools available to help drivers predict where and when to find the next fare. Using these technologies can provide real-time data on traffic patterns, events, and even passenger preferences.

In some cities, maintaining a good relationship with local businesses, hotels, and restaurants can lead to direct calls for service. There are some establishments who prefer calling on recommended drivers they know to their customers or use a set booking platform over others.

Ultimately, the key to consistent success as a taxi driver is to build a strategic approach based on understanding and reacting to the dynamics of urban transport. This includes:

  • Staying Informed: Keeping up-to-date with local events, peak times, and traffic updates.

  • Being Adaptable: Changing locations and strategies based on time of day and passenger flow.

  • Using Technology: Leveraging apps and digital platforms to access a broader customer base.

  • Networking: Establishing connections with local businesses for direct referrals.

While driving a taxi may appear to be unpredictable, drivers who open up their pool of customers wide and take an informed approach can significantly improve their chances of finding more regular fares.


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