Yellow Cab Blues: Learning The Ropes as a New Cabbie in the City

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 04:00 AM

New  York City yellow taxi, cab, (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

In New York, like a lot of cities across the country, the people who drive taxis are usually immigrants. At a school for new cabbies in New York, drivers learn to navigate the city streets and adjust to a new culture. They come from all over the world looking for a new life in the U.S.

As part of her documentary Yellow Cab Blues, the BBC's Cathy Fitzgerald visited the school in the basement of a restaurant in Queens where the city's newest drivers learn how to avoid tickets and charm passengers for better tips.

What's the most interesting thing you've learned from a cab driver? And if you're a cabbie, what's the most interesting thing you've learned from a passenger? Let us know in the comments below.


Comments [3]

AMHess from Harlem

I really enjoyed this story. I don't take taxis often, but during a recent ride the driver attempted to "charm" me by making disparaging remarks about the city, how crowded and dirty it was, and I wanted to ask what south Asian city he found so much better than New York. Part of driver training should be, don't insult your passenger's home city!

Jul. 17 2014 09:46 AM
Sherril from MORRIS PLAINS, NJ

My most interesting encounter with a NYC Taxi Driver took place in the winter of 2005, after experiencing "The Gates" in Central Park. It was an installation of Cristo and Jeanne-Claude. It looked like a long billowing saffron ribbon meandering through the park and it enthralled me. When I got into the cab to return to Port Authority, I felt like I was still glowing, much like The Gates themselves. I told the cabbie where I had been and he replied, "Oh, yes, I will miss The Gates". I asked, why" He told me that in his many years driving a cab in NYC, he had never seen New Yorkers happier. It was magic and for the moment a NYC taxi driver and a suburban NJ middle-aged woman were bonded in a beautiful NYC moment.

Jul. 16 2014 07:52 PM
Marc Leandro from brooklyn

On a cab ride home from my then-job as a Park Avenue private chef, a driven initiated a conversation and I reluctantly engaged. He asked what i did and when I told him he replied. " so you're an artist!" he was quite excited. I said, I'm not so sure about that. he went on to explain that there was no other profession where you use all five senses and that that made me an artist. I insisted this wasn't the case, but I lingered in what he said for a long time, and still do.

Jul. 16 2014 07:58 AM

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