Tracy Painter is a third-generation taxi driver. His father and grandfather both drove cabs, and Painter has been in the business for almost 25 years. He recently moved to Greenville, S.C., from a smaller community about an hour north, where he says GoPayment “is the best thing to happen to cab drivers besides wheels.”
The GoPayment Blog recently talked with Painter about his daily routine, his biggest challenge, and his advice to aspiring cabbies.
GoPayment: Who are your typical passengers, and how does your ability to accept mobile payments meet their needs?
Painter: Greenville took off like a shot, so we’ve got a lot of businesspeople who come. We’ve got regular customers going to and from work, so it’s more convenient for them to use a debit or credit card versus cash. Greenville is a growing city, but it’s still a dangerous city. Carrying cash can be dangerous. With GoPayment, they don’t have to carry cash, and I don’t have to carry cash.
When is the best time to pick up passengers?
Downtown Greenville is a pretty good run. I work the night shift, and my shift covers the early morning, when we get a lot of business customers going to and from the airport, usually about 4 or 5 o’clock. That’s when it’s busiest, and we get the really good business.
What’s the most challenging part of driving a cab?
Probably getting your money. It’s dangerous and all, but I’ve been doing it for so long, I’m used to dealing with that. There are a lot of times you run into people who don’t have all the money to pay the fare. It’s less of an issue now. They’ll throw that plastic [down] a whole lot quicker. People paying with cash don’t tip as much as people paying with a credit or debit card. They love the fact that I have GoPayment. They think it’s so cool. I’ve had people calling me back special.
What are the best and worst parts of your work?
The best part is I work for me. We’re independent in Yellow Cab. I’m self-employed, so I just rent the car from the company. I’m a third-generation cab driver.
I can’t think of a worst part. It’s dangerous, but it’s not really an issue if you use common sense. I’ve been in bad situations and joked my way out of them. I did get shot in 1994, though. That was really bad.
What’s your advice to others getting into the taxi business?
Basically, just be friendly and do the right thing. That’s always the best policy. You don’t pad the meter. You just use common courtesy. You get out and help somebody with their luggage. The best advice I can give is to get a credit card reader like GoPayment. Some of the other drivers have gotten it. They think it’s the best thing besides wheels, too. It’s saved me money, made me money, and made my life a whole easier.