The bad? LE: The worst for a female driver is when you pick guys up from a brothel and they compare notes. You’ll have to go “Ahem!”. MA: I had a female customer once who had fallen asleep. We got to her destination, I couldn’t wake her up. I can’t touch her so I put music on loud. Put air conditioning on, low temperature. There were police patrolling. I said can you please pick her up, she’s costing me money. The police woke her up for me.
Famous passengers? MA: I had a guy from Big
Brother. People started pointing when I stopped at lights — and I asked him who he was. LE: If someone famous gets in I don’t let them know I realise. It makes them feel more at ease. Passengers must tell you all sorts of things? MA: We get a lot of advice. Don’t get married, I get that a lot. LE: You often hear a person’s whole life history in five minutes. A lot of business people are straight on the phone. MA: Yes, a lot are busy Facebooking and text messaging but 90 per cent of people generally want to talk.
Shortest and longest fares? MA: From Gold Coast Hospital to the discharge lounge — if you hang a left, it’s around the corner ... literally 200m. He was pretty old, you can’t say no. Flagfall is $2.80 and with a set of lights it’s about $6. The biggest was to the Sunshine Coast from the casino on the Gold Coast. It was 2am, these two guys. I thought maybe they were drunk so I said “no”. They said “how much?”, I said “$600” and they gave me the money. One of our drivers took five people from Gold Coast Airport to Sydney. It took him two days to come back. Larriece, you’d recommend owning your own taxi? LE: I think it’s a good idea if you’re in a position to do it. We bought it as our superannuation investment. There are some drivers who shouldn’t be driving cabs. They are only doing it because it’s the only job they could get. I never let anybody in where I don’t get out and open the door. Has light rail affected business? If anything it’s created more work for us because they have cut a lot of the buses. We get a lot of work out of Main Beach now because a lot of old people there have to walk to the station which is near the Sundale Bridge. You’d be surprised how many jobs you get for people who want to go to the tram station.
Worry about drunks? LE: I had a young girl off a plane. She went green. I gave her a sick bag and she just threw up. When we got to Burleigh there was a big industrial rubbish bin. I said “quick, chuck it”, and off we went. “Oh thank God,” she said, “I didn’t know what I was going to do with that.” MA: If someone is sick in your car, you have to give it a proper wash, leave windows down and leave it in the sun for four or five hours. We charge the passenger $120 too. You must have solved a lot of people’s problems? LE: Too many to mention. I picked up this young guy from a brothel, he got in and said “I’m never going back to that place, or any place like it”. I said “why go in the first place?”. He said “I had to find out what it was like”. I didn’t give him any further advice — I don’t think he needed it.
Best snack place? MA: Tugun, Zarraffa’s coffee, you get a discount, only for the cabbies. In Surfers, the Pie Face pie shop do a discount only for cabbies. And there is one very good Indian shop in Harbour Town, you get a free naan.
How’s Uber affected you? MA: I’ve had a few customers try Uber but they came back — they didn’t feel safe. There’s no identity of drivers, no cameras inside, no insurance of the car.