My first night at work left me an unforgettable impression because a snow storm had just reached Finland. It was promising to be an ominous night. In addition to the bad weather, I really didn’t know my driving area, except some streets I had memorized in school. I had no idea where they could be in real life, though. Worse even – I couldn’t understand where the highways and motorways which connect different towns and neighborhoods, were or which other bigger roads they were connected to. On top of all that I was sitting in a car I hadn’t even touched outside of a dealership – a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, sporty and comfortable as a cloud, worth about 50 000€/62 400$.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that all this swell equipment – navigator, taximeter, Data, plus all the fancy basic and optional equipment on the car itself made me even more anxious.
The navigator wasn’t the most reliable. For one, it didn’t function properly, secondly, the maps in it were old and didn’t show roads, streets or buildings built in the last few years. There are about 15000 roads in Espoo, Helsinki and Vantaa combined.
The most mystical thing in the car was the taximeter. You can use it for all kinds of shit. You can start a drive with various rates with it or you can enter “only” 49 different codes for a different bill. For example, if the client has pre-ordered the taxi, you can enter a code to add the cost of the pre-order to the bill. Or if the client needs help entering/exiting the car, or even getting in the house, you can add a “helping tax” to the bill. Or if you pick up a client with two big rottweilers, you can tax the transport of these kind of beasts with an “extra cost for animals”.
Anyway, the first night at work turned out to be really “fun”. There was a lot of stress. Usually, the worse the weather, the more clients a taxi driver has, so there was a lot of work. In Finland, a taxi and a taxi driver are a part of social help. If someone needs to go to the hospital or transport an old lady to a nursing home or “clean” a drunk citizen off the streets, they call a taxi.
The workload is especially heavy when the weather gets bad. People prefer taking a taxi to get from point A to point B, rather than driving themselves. They know it’s much safer because taxi drivers are considered to be real professionals of their craft.
For the first few months I warned clients that I had just started my career. Actually I said that even after a few months. Right when they got in the car, I told them it would be better if they direct me where they want to go. That way we got to destination without a hitch.
Most of the clients shared their knowledge gladly. A few of them just didn’t know how to go where they were going so I had the chance to get to know new and exciting places with the client.
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