VerticalResponse Blog

This article by VerticalResponse CEO and founder Janine Popick originally appeared on

Sf taxi cab

Driving a taxi is a small business and a tough one, especially in San Francisco, where I live. They’ve got a ton of rules and regulations preventing them from making good money, and get this: The city’s bus drivers get paid more than they do! On top of it all, they are probably the last bunch of taxis in a major city to hop on the credit card bandwagon.

So now that almost all cabs in San Francisco take credit cards, they get beaten up even more. In addition to the banks taking their ~3 percent fee, the cab companies take a ~3 percent fee on top of that. It’s no wonder cab drivers don’t want to accept credit cards.

But I saw a pretty smart thing the other day as I was going to pay my cabbie. I gave him my credit card and he asked the person he was talking to on his phone to hold on. He then inserted his Square into the top jack of his phone, swiped my card and asked if I wanted to leave a tip. This way, he only has to pay the bank a 2.75 percent fee. Then he just pays the cab company whatever he rung up on trips, saving him the additional ~3 percent fee that likely would have been taken out of his tip.

Small businesses are always thinking about new ways to save money, and cab drivers are no exception. Are you using clever technology to save you some bucks? Would love to hear about it!

© 2012 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

  • Dean Clark

    Many in San Francisco want more cabs on the street. The current situation has been greed demonstrated by the current cab companies and medallion owners who take advantage of the gates and gas driver. The current system is not working and if cab companies and medallion owners were smart in the past they would have taken care of their own, instead of taking advantage of the poor working class of gates and gas drivers. The taxi industry should be ashamed of themselves instead of blaming the SFMTA from breaking up the current corrupt system. Taxi Medallion Owners and Taxi Companies for years have been eating their own by not providing safe working conditions, proper safety nets, and an appropriate working environment. This was the seed that was sewn. Its too late for the evil to continue. The SFMTA could clean up some of the corruption and make a more level playing field for all of those involved in the taxi industry! After all the medallions are ultimately owned by the city anyway. Imagine if all of the gates and gas drivers who got screwed by the industry in its current state came out and spoke out to the public! Imagine if all of the people who have been discriminated against by the current drivers in the industry came out to speak, people who just wanted a ride but got kicked out of the cab because they were gay, a woman, or an ethnicity that the driver did not want in their cab! Go ahead and put your ballot measure on, there will be lots of opposition to your measure. This is not a labor issue, it is a greed issue for the taxi companies and medallion owners so they can keep what they got by taking advantage of gates and gas drivers for years to come, and not give the gates and gas drivers anything to protect themselves!

  • sally

    Yes! I just got signed up with my square yesterday and can’t wait to use it. It’ll save me hundreds of dollars a year. No more “knuckle scraper” (credit card swiper) for me!

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