I keep wanting to make a blog but putting it off because I know I'm bad with keeping up with what I do online but decided I better just jump in and do it when I do it or I'll never start.
I've been a dispatcher for about three and a half years now. This is by no means my dream job. In fact I hate it. I have plenty of past call center and customer service experience, and past management experience but none of that really adds up to how ridiculous this job is.
I should note that since we're a fairly small company (we've stayed pretty consistently between 25 and 40 cabs during the time I've been here and usually have 30-35) I am here by myself. Unlike larger companies that have separate order takers and dispatchers my job actually entails taking the orders, doing the customer service, dispatching, general office work, and sometimes what feels like driving the cabs FOR the drivers (What do you mean you can't find SAM'S CLUB? See that ridiculously huge building next to Walmart...?).
Please keep in mind that I realize every generalization I make will have exceptions. I know this. I will still make generalizations. The most common being- taxi drivers like to make no money. This is part of a general theory I have concerning how in any given situation 75% of drivers will make the choice that is going to make them the least profit. This is not just a matter of me having the schedule and thus more information, this is basic math. Drivers will turn away 4 customers in an hour wanting to make $10.00 runs because they'd rather have one $30.00 run. I also have a foul mouth. I think fuck and its variants are probably the greatest descriptive terms we have today. If you find this offensive this is not going to be the place for you. I'm still trying to decide if I will come up with some font based indicator of what I'm saying when talking to customers and what I'm thinking. I decided I'd like a dispatcher's blog both to try and preserve my sanity and also as a counterpoint to all the taxi driver blogs I have found. The only other "dispatcherish" blog I found was Blanktop Chronicles by an order taker and much to my chagrin it seems to have been taken down. It was EXCELLENT. If nothing else though I will be able to use this name to comment on taxi blogs without always having to start out with "I'm a dispatcher and.." so that's useful.
Some basic terms I may use:
10-1- A 10-1 is a walk-up. A customer that the driver got on his own either because someone came up to him or called him over while he was on a post or flagged him down. This is an order that was not placed through the dispatcher.
Post- A post is a cab stand specific to a cab company. Drivers line up on a post to get trips dispatched in the vicinity of that post. (Our posts are all hotels.) There are secondary posts- we will call the post closest to the post that a trip is in for cars if there are no cars on the post that the trip is in before calling for light cars.
Light Cars- are cars that do not have a passenger.
Starter- Starters are glorified security guards who are also a tiny bit like dispatchers. The St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission has granted a monopoly cab stand at the airport. Other cab companies are allowed to pick up there but they must be called by the passenger and given the passengers name and flight information before the cab is allowed to go to the airport to pick up. The starter sits in a booth in front of the airport taxis and guides people to the airport taxis (in theory) he is supposed to stop other taxis from stealing fares from the airport taxis and make sure they only take their reserved customers. The Starters also act on behalf of the Taxicab Commission issuing tickets for violations of the MTC code. This puts some Starters on ridiculous power trips that lead them to do things like issue tickets to a driver who is wearing the regulation white collared shirt under black sweater but whose collar has tiny cream pinstripes on it while the passenger of that driver is angrily yelling at them for holding their driver up.