Taxi drivers suffer from high gas costs

April 27, 2008 4:46:17 PM PDT
You might think a busy day at the airport should pay off for cab drivers when you're at RDU and hear the dispatcher frequently asking,"You need a taxi, ma'am?"

But cabbies tell us they're hurting because they drive hours at a time all over the Triangle, and must pay for their own gas. The cost of regular keeps inching toward four dollars a gallon, so several long trips a day cost them big bucks.

Cab driver Gubrrab Boubaker says during a trip in his Mercury sedan from RDU to Chapel Hill, he can spend "just on gas, maybe like ten dollars, with AC. One trip. So from the fare, you have to deduct the ten dollars!"

His cab's tank holds about 15 gallons, and he often has to refill it before he's done for the day. It's even more expensive for Ahmed Mayour, who drives an SUV cab. It's not something he thought he'd be doing after he moved here from Morocco.

"I've been an executive sous chef," he said. "I lost my job, then came here. I got this opportunity to drive a taxi but right now, it's been hard for us!"

Now the problem is that even higher gas prices loom on the horizon for cab drivers, a situation so dire that some are thinking about getting out of this business. But where can they go, in a tight job market?

"To be honest with you sir," said the former sous chef," maybe I'm gonna go back to my kitchen. If I don't make money, I'm gonna leave, seriously. Because it's very hard for us!"

A nice tip could help put a few more gallons into their overworked gas tanks.


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