Why do Boston Taxi Drivers hate taking credit cards?
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This past Sunday night as I was dropping at the Midtown hotel in my Boston Taxi on Huntington a young blond woman approached my Boston Cab drivers window and shyly asked if I would not mind taking a credit card to bring her down to Beacon and Dartmouth.
I of course agreed, as is my duty under the law, and planned to explain to this dear young woman why under the raw deal we have been given we HATE the credit card system. This woman however had already been told. Her previous night’s driver screamed and cursed her while tossing in some facts about why he did not want credit cards. I won’t judge the man since I was guilty of the same behavior at the meeting the city arranged for us with Verifone . However I will say I think it is important we treat all customers with respect especially now that our economy has hit the skids! I personally have not tossed out any annoying drunks in months now!
With that in mind here is a list of facts I think we should agree to calmly and coolly explain to our passengers:
The Boston Taxi credit card system
came with a dispatch system that replaced the friendly knowledgeable dispatcher with a horrible computer generated voice that says ” You’ve got mail!” every time a customer loses a white scarf or someone needs an airport update. One recent Friday night whoever was on the other end of that thing announced 4 times in a row he had work in Southie after the first time I got it pal thanks!
The deal was shoved down our throats and NO ONE likes being told what to do!
5 or 6 % credit card processing fees for Boston Taxi rides is INSANE!
Gas stations and restaurants typically only pay 2%. The reasoning behind this high rate was the initial expensive outlay of equipment the companies had to make. I would think that would have given us a better rate given they had 1800+ anchor customers to use as a springboard to get the other 2000 cabs and 9000 liverys in the Commonwealth.
4) We were told repeatedly by “Duane” from Verifone that we would be paid within 24 hours. In actuality it takes as much as 4 days. In discussing this with other people who were given the same sales pitch we now remember his careful word choices ” It should only take 24 hours..” you know the typical fork tongue salesman stuff. This would not be a big deal but the owner still wants his money on Monday and I often spend a few days penniless until Verifone pays me.
If I had wanted to be an accountant I would have. I am only a Boston Taxi driver
I now spend at least 2 hours a week carefully checking back and forth between the Verifone website, the bank and my slips to ensure I was paid every penny.
6) Although I only work 3 shifts a week I often have to perform the hard reset on the equipment getting out of the car and pulling the fuse out getting my delicate manicured hands filthy. Why couldn’t they put that fuse on the dashboard? If I had wanted to be a mechanic I would have.
7) There seems to be a complete communications breakdown between Verifone and Top/City dispatch. Recently I was told by hackney that I would soon only be able to log into the system with a swipe card. I went to Verifone and got the card and suggested they get Top/City to announce it on the annoying “you’ve got mail” dispatch system. Verfione told me they announce it all the time. That was almost 2 months ago I still do not need the card to log in and have yet to see it in my Verifone mail. Rumors that Verifone has taken a controlling share in Top/City persist and now they have announced plans to take over the advertising business from Clear Channel. It’s good to know my buddies Amos and Duane are building an empire with my 5% Lets hope they run the Top lights just as well as they have the credit card PFFFFFF!
8)There seems to be no end to Verifone’s creativity when it comes to imagining new fees. Recently I was surprised to find out that if I wanted to change the account my money was deposited into then there would be a $30.00 fee. Somehow when I do this same task with Ebay/paypal I wind up making .30 cents.
In closing I would like to say that mandatory credit cards in taxis was a great idea! Fabulous even! Its convenient for customers and safer for drivers to carry less cash. Its just a rotten shame we have allowed this great idea to be enacted like so many other great ideas this city has had. Charlie cards, The big dig, The route 1 connector,The deer island sewage treatment plant..did I leave anything out? Oh ya.. Hybrid Boston Taxis!