Monday, June 30, 2014

A Greyhound Bus story

Heading down the interstate towards downtown, she starts talking on her cell phone. She seems to be arguing more then anything. I have often noticed that people who live marginal lives seem to exhibit a lot of frustration, and of course, poor communication skills. Even after many years of driving a hack, iI've never gotten used to shit people. I find it amazing how much people will talk about their personal lives in front of a total stranger. I guess that is the point. We are invisible. We don’t really exist. We are nobody to them.

We pull up to the Greyhound Bus station and there is nowhere to park. There never is anywhere to park. The front spots are reserved for taxis and they are always taken. The bus station is located on Cass Street. That used to be a cable car street back in the day. It also has train tracks running down the middle headed for the dock area. I am left with now choice. I park next to the first out taxi and pop the trunk.

This is the point when the fare will usually pay you, or get out and help unload the luggage. She did none of this. She took off and went inside the bus terminal. That left me with the task of unloading her stuff onto the sidewalk. Much of the stuff was in boxes and many items were loose. She had hair dryers, makeup cases, and all kinds of junk. It took several trips back and forth to do this.
She still had not come out. I now had to go find her. That meant I had to leave my taxi in the street and all her shit on the curb. I was not comfortable with this and was wondering why I need to do all this just to make a living. You would think driving a cab would just be taking people were they want to go, and that would be it. This job is not for everyone.
I find her not at the ticket counter but at the pay lockers that most bus stations have. She was yanking more shit out of there. Come on, this is getting ridiculous. She turns around and gives me twelve dollars. She was not aware that the meter continues to run as I continue to do more work. I will let it run all day as long as I am engaged in the ride. The meter had twelve bucks on it when she got out - but not now. That did not even cover the load time on the front end. This ride had now become a pain in the ass.

I started walking back to the front door too get here stuff and I saw him. It was one of the ‘cabbie cops’ from the Hillsborough County Transportation Commission. He was looking for the driver of the taxi that was double-parked out front. That would be me.

He demanded to see my hack permit and my drivers’ license and started yelling at me about leaving my cab on the street and blocking traffic. I tried to explain to him the circumstances but he would have nothing to do with it. The fact that there was no room to park meant noting to him. I asked him if he wants customers unconvinced by parking on the side of the building (which would now block bus access) and having the fare schlep their stuff. He said he had a better idea.
He said to park on the railroad tracks in the middle of the street. There was no way I was going to ask him the obvious question about what would happen if a train came by.

He went back to his ‘squad car.’ That is what gets me, the only people they police are the taxi guys, but they wear Rambo gear and carry side arms Is that really necessary? I swear to God, the only reason they exist is to shake down cab drivers who just trying to make a living.

He came back over to me and had me sign my $75 ticket, which gave me two weeks to pay. The TPC prides it self as not taking any tax payer money to survive, they do it all on the fees they charge drivers. This was just a fucked up way for them to raise money off my back.
While all of this was going on, the chick had finally gotten her stuff off the sidewalk. I got back into the taxi and there was now way over twenty bucks on the meter. Big deal now. I now had a long way to go to make up for this stupid ticket.
posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Huson Beach

I often work the airport on Sunday because you can get cash fares. These are mostly recreational travelers who have real money. I need money. The $113 trip to Hudson I was not going to turn down even though the lady said she was going to use a credit card.

The problem with credit cards is I cannot cash them out. When the economy went bad, I got $1,400 in the hole. I have now beat that down to $72. However, when you are in the hole, they won't cash you out. They just keep it, and apply it to the books. I am close but I often don't have money for gas or food. Its not a good way to live but I'm close to putting all this recession shit behind me, and get on with my life. This is how I have been living for years.

My computer died; my tv died; my stereo died; my DSLR was stolen, my phone is all I have. I hope to get a laptop when I get out of this debt.

Anyway, it was a beautiful day at the beach. I wish I could have gone swimming.

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Grilled chicken

These chickens in front of the barbecue place don't know they are on the menu. I mean there are a flock of them hanging around. I'm having chicken tonight, to think about it. Go to I will explain later.

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, June 27, 2014

Spanish clothing store

Tampa has a rich Spanish heritage. We have many Spanish shops and restaurants. There is something about clothing stores that kind of gets your attention.

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Gators and golf

I got a decent ride to a golf course out in the country. Florida is known for great golf courses with water hazards. My only advice is don't hit your ball into this water hazard. I should say, don't try to get your ball out of them. This was on the warm up green!

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Go to "Tim in Tampa" on Blogger

Over the years I have moved on from just being a taxi driver. Since the taxi business in Tampa is on the rebound, and I am having the best summer I have had since 2008, I have come up with a new blog theme. I driver taxi, take photos, hike, camp, and have many hobbies. This new blog is about me, and who I am. I feel much happier on this blog. Please check it out. at Tim In Tampa


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New FaceBook background

This was when Teri Lunge and Kevin Thomas kehl went with me on the trail cam retrieval. It was the first cold day of the fall season and it felt great. The media card had the best wildlife images we have got yet, but no Bigfoot...yet.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, June 23, 2014

New Facebook background

This collage is now my background image to my FaceBook. You can find me at "Timothy Fasano" which is my original site. I have not been on it in a year and had a help of a time remembering the password. But I got it. I had 87 friends request and did not know a damn soul.

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Summer Solstice

The summer solstice was today at 6:52 a.m. which means its the longest day of the year. Tampa is close to the Tropic of Cancer and we have our own observation of the sun I call the "Tropic of Tampa." No way around it. Enjoy summer folks. Its hot man.

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, June 20, 2014

Why I do this blog

Take one cab driver, one digital camera and one computer and you end up with Tampa Taxi Shots written by Tim Fasano.

This is really cool. He share cab driver insights, and photos he has taken as he goes around the city. There are photos of models C.J. and Raquel Gibson (who just hit the big time), actors in period costumes in a History Channel production at Plant Hall, Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission Regulationsvarious waterfront photos and others, including an interesting insight into the Tampa Trib's newracks. He advised us where are the best places to flag down cabs.

We all have our daily routine, seeing the same things every day. As a cab driver he cuts across those routines, giving him the opportunty to show us slices of Tampa, that we might not see.

The *TBT! or the Weekly Planet need to do a story on him. ----------------------------------------- This was posted about the original TAMPA TAXI SHOTS by the Seminole Heights blogger when it was new. I was an innovator who created a new genre of blog. He makes reference to a History Channel enactment of a William McKinley speech at the Plant Hotel in Tampa. The did several takes of him going up the stairs. I found the old photos, even the general officers on the veranda that is now the University of Tampa

He stated in the speech that "American expansionist policy ends today.' He was wrong. It would end with Obama.

posted from Bloggeroid

A trip to the Vinoy

I got a ride out of the airport to downtown St. Petersburg (Florida not Russia). These guys were on their cell phones talking business the whole way. They were totally oblivious to the beauty that surrounds them.

When you get me as your driver, you get a lot. I can point out things of interest, historic places, famous places, beautiful places, and places to go. These guys wanted nothing of that. I'm sorry guys but you were wrong. I learned a long time ago to smell the roses. Your ducking smart phone can wait.

To come to a beautiful place like Tampa Bay and even bother to look. Life choices all wrong guys. The irony is twenty years ago you would not have had the option. You don't know what you missed

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Teacup the cat at Haslam's Book store

"Teacup" the cat at Haslam's Bookstore seems to be doing fine. I once photographed Teacup in 2006 and used it on the first Tampa Taxi Shots blog. It was such a good portrait, that image is now being used on Pinterest. I am flattered. It seems people just love old, comfy bookstores. I do. Haslam's is the oldest, and largest old bookstore in Florida. Some say the place is haunted. We do know that Teacup and his siblings roam the place freely and beckon for scratches and belly rubs.
Teacup circa 2006 (TAMPA TAXI SHOTS)
Unfortunately, the Internet allows people to buy books cheap. However, isn't there something to be said about the experience of browsing, sipping coffee, petting Teacup? I mean you can take a pill that will give you all the nutrition of a steak. But, wouldn't you rather eat the steak!? They can make babies in a test tube. But, wouldn't you rather make babies the old fashion way?!

I'm not really sure what Pinterest is but they like my image
Teacup circa 2012...doing fine and likes his belly rubbed

What a fare!

The call came out over the tablet saying the lady had to "run some errands." Is say so! She went all over the place for hours. A lot of this was waiting time. I didn't mind. It beat trying to hustle fares. It was the longest cash fare I have ever had in nineteen years. Who would have known.
posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

World Cup crowd at MacDintons pub

A hugh crowd showed up on south Howard to see the USA play in the World Cup first round. The hipsters waiting outside had no idea the USA scored in the first 32 seconds. What's funny is most of these people don't even know the rules of the game. It is just the trendy thing to do.
posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ghost Investigation Fort Desoto documentary

This is the famous ghost documentary I shot at Fort Desoto two years ago with EA. George and Kevin work in local TV production and they were awesome

Life savings to life saver

There is this coffee can I have that has my life savings in it. This morning my first fare used a credit card and I needed gas. I was out. So I went home and raided the coffee can and took the $8 nice out which I was going to retire on.

Things picked up and I got some hospital charges that allows me to pay two days of lease. I also picked up a charter that put a hundred bucks in my pocket. Today was a good day. When I was headed home, I saw a piece of paper blowing in the road. It looked like money!

I jumped out in traffic and ran toward it. "Please be a hundred" I kept saying. It turned out to be a twenty. People were blowing their horns and shit. "Are you crazy" someone yelled.

I got back in the cab and took a picture of it. The serial number ends with 499. It will go in the coffee can and my net worth is 2.5 times greater then this morning. It was a good day.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The cleanest of my dirty shirts

When your living in a state of semi-homelessness, you have tradeoffs. Consider I pay the cab company $92 a day six days a week, and have to buy the gas, I don't always have money. I have not had the $4.50 a load to clean my clothes.

Some drivers opt to eat Vienna sausage, Raman noodles, dog food, and so forth. I use my laundry money to buy better food (pasta with Ragu). I also buy my generic prescription drugs for blood pressure. So, the laundry gets recycled dirty. There was a country music song "The Cleanest of my dirty shirts."

A fellow cab driver called me aside and told me candidly that my shorts were so dirty it looked like I'd shit in them. He said I also smelled badly. The customers must have noticed as well.

So I broke down and used rent money to do laundry. I literally shorted the motel manager where I live to clean my clothes. Those Raman Noodles are delicious.

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I did not drive today

I spent the day going into a restricted area to put up a Reconyx)RC60 covert trail camera. They are on loan from the Olympic Project by my friend in Washington State. With the rainy season upon us, I had to act today. I was amazed at the number of diamond back snakes that where in this watershed. Anyway, back to cab driving.

This camera has battery power to last six months, and a media card that will hold 14,000 images at 3.1 megapixels. Its motion activated and shoots infrared images in total darkness. How cool is that!

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, June 13, 2014

RNC documentary film by Tim Fasano

This was my first attempt to be a documentary film maker. It was shot during the Republican National Convention in Tampa 2012. It was a challenging task but I worked hard at it. My friend Kevin (who works in TV production) helped me film and edit this. But it was mostly my work. Please watch and let me know. I hope to cover a wide variety of topics.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Uber is slave labor - don't believe the hype

This review is from a former Uber driver who figured out Uber's scam.

Uber's advertisements to make "$25/hour in bookings" as a driver are a bald face lie. Remember "in bookings" means that you must immediately subtract 20% from "$25" because Uber takes that amount from each fare. In the final analysis, please keep reading to find out why you will make LESS THAN MINIMUM WAGE if you become and Uber "partner". Notice how they don't use the word "driver"? Their legal department came up with this euphemism so that when you smash into a pedestrian while driving they can argue in court that you aren't actually an employee!

(1) Be prepared to put 60,000 miles/year on your car if you do this full-time. How much will you need to make to compensate for that vehicle depreciation? How much will this wear and tear cost you in maintenance? Please run the numbers.

(2) Be prepared to pay for the iPhone they provide you they are currently charging $40.00/month for a "data plan" which is really a disguised way of stealing more of your %. Even if you do not turn on this iPhone at all during a month, you will pay! Brilliant, now they are incentivized to pass out as many of these iPhone as possible -- eventually they can start their own cellphone company with the revenues! Oh, and you will also have to pay for your own smartphone in order to communicate with riders since the Uber iPhone is only an interface to receive calls for rides! No, you can't download their app on your phone!!! That would allow hundreds of thousands of dollars to slip out of Uber's fingers! "YOU MUST USE OUR IPHONE!!!!!"

(3) You will have to juggle around 2 phones in your car in addition to playing around with your GPS (required). These are accidents waiting to happen! Many states already have laws in place to prevent people from playing with technology while driving. Uber forces you to do this by the nature of the work!

(4) Does your insurance company know that you are operating as a taxi service? You could find yourself in serious trouble in the event you are involved in an accident.

(5) The police can stop and ticket you for operating a livery service without a license at any time. Driving for Uber is illegal and it won't be too long before it is outlawed altogether. Uber is hoping to do their IPO before that happens but we should do our part to make sure it never happens. Boycott Uber!

(6) You will make about $6/hour on average after excluding vehicle depreciation, fuel costs, cell phone costs, income tax, etc. Don't believe me? Then go be a driver and find out for yourself. You will be so sick of sitting around in your car for hours that you'll start screaming. Been there, done that.

(7) The "surge pricing" is a farce designed to call drivers to certain areas with the hope that drivers will make 2x or 3x the normal fare. Don't believe it. You many also win the lottery! I drove to the middle of surge pricing areas several times thinking I would instantly be called instantly but ended up sitting for over an hour in my car and received exactly ZERO calls while this supposed "surge pricing" was indicated. It is a lie. There is no "surge" demand, and customers should be aware that their money is literally being stolen.

(8) What company discourages service industry tips? Answer: UBER! What company in the service industry steals your tips? Answer: UBER! They say tip is included in the fare and then take 20% of your fare!

(9) Do you like driving around at night putting your personal safety in jeopardy at the worst times to be out on the road? That is what Uber wants you to do. Be online until 4am in the morning while the drunks and cops and prowling around. Never mind the chance that you might get car jacked!

Don't believe the hype!!! These so-called "ride-share" companies are slave-wage exploiters foisting all of their cost and liability onto unsuspecting drivers who believe they have finally discovered freedom! How fitting that the opposite is actually true. Uber's advertised "$25/hour in bookings for drivers" is such a farce it forced me to write this review. Their entire business model is based on slave wages and danger transfer to "drivers", and they are in fact operating illegally. Uber and other companies like it are on the precipice of bankruptcy
all it will take is law enforcement to start ticketing and stopping drivers or a few more high profile accidents and these companies are toast. Don't be seduced by their lies. Citizens: Do not patronize them with your hard earned money and do not put your personal safety in jeopardy!

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A cats life

This is "Flat-Top." This little kitty lives in the yard at United Cab. He survives by drivers feeding him. He is tame, and very nice. He has been hanging around for years, playing peekaboo under the lot taxis.

He has been here for years and I always wondered why no driver has taken him home. He would make a fine pet. I can't have pets where I'm at or I would have.

Anyway, Flat-Top was soon on his way to wait for the next morning when J.D. will arrive at sunrise with cat food. He has been fixed, just like the black cat that has been here for eleven years.
posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, June 9, 2014

Late start on Monday morning

I was up late last night watching the season premier of FINDING BIGFOOT. Turtle Man and Neil were on and I knew it would be fun. What is not so fun is how much the summer taxi business has dropped off.

I just got home and I'm tired. I have to use an android phone to do this post because my laptop died a few months ago and I don't have the money to replace it
Maybe Christmas layaway at Walmart will help me get one.

Anyway, doing some tweaking of this blog design and I'm ready to roll. Just need to get to a library.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Great news - Tampa Taxi Shots is back

The Blogger URL Tampa Taxi Shots has now become available. I jumped on it for that was my original name with TypePad. I have assigned it to a proxy blog I have had since 2007. You have no idea how important this is to me. Check it out and hit the archives.
posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The reality of taxi driving in Tampa

The Marriott Waterside cab stand
Dozens of taxicabs snake into a queue. Men shout and engines start. The line barely budges.
Rene Jeune is up front now, having waited two hours for one customer. Farther back, Jean Bourdeau watches birds fight. He has just $25 in his pocket for five hours of work.
A few men play cards. Others read. Some doze off.
All tell a similar tale: They work 80-hour weeks, yet take home what a waiter earns in tips — about $200 to $300. Some are said to be homeless, sleeping in their cabs and living for their next fare.
This is the taxi business in Hills­borough County.
In most Florida counties, including Pinellas and Pasco, supply and demand work themselves out. Here, the rules are different.
Hillsborough's taxi regulating agency — the only one of its kind in the state — restricts prices, limits the number of drivers and enforces two companies' domination of the market.
The resulting system caters to customers and companies, but it leaves drivers working double just to get by, more than 50 drivers told the St. Petersburg Times.
To operate a taxi here, drivers must enter expensive lease agreements — up to $545 per week — with one of eight local companies. Drivers said the arrangement puts them at risk: To meet their weekly debt and fuel costs, they often drive unsafe hours without health insurance and on company car insurance that covers passengers' luggage, not the drivers themselves.
Still, company executives said the system succeeds for drivers who know how to work it. And the industry's top earners agree.
Now state lawmakers are weighing in. Matching bills moving through the Florida House and Senate could revamp Florida's taxi industry. The change would strengthen company positions but also open the door for cabbie independence.
This week, a local activist and a few veteran drivers hope to gather the more than 500 local cabdrivers to talk policy and their options going forward.
"We're a ragtag bunch," said veteran cabbie Vincent Tolbert, who is pushing for a driver association. "But everybody should be entitled to have something to look forward to, other than working all the time."

Friday, June 6, 2014

Feeding birds

There's a driver from Iran that feeds the birds at the airport. He does it so much they are expecting food when any taxi pulls up. This bird keeps landing on my sideview mirror looking for goodies. Today, I gave him popcorn which he seemed to enjoy. They seem to eat anything and are becoming aggressive. I've even had seagulls land on the mirror.

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Does this look any better?

I don't know. I now have a triple antibiotic cream with pain relief. I need a good nights sleep. The swelling in the foot is gone. I guess that's the good news.

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I saw the abortion truck today

I heard about the abortion truck on FOX news. They are trying to out pharmaceuticals that are making abortion inducing drugs. There are more then one truck and somebody is financing this. I bet Google would have more info

A closeup of the back of the truck. I never did get a good view of the front or side.

Getting better

The redness and swelling are going away and I can actually walk now. I just have to stay on the antibiotics and dressing the wound. I should be in rare form soon. You have no idea how bad I've felt.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dog out the window

I'm not feeling so good today but I did get this dog hanging out the window. Check the category list and you will see many dogs doing this.

My leg is still not doing well. I am treating it and taking the antibiotics. That's all I can do.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Camp the next day

At night I stoked the fire to get it going. Teri and Kevin had to leave and it was George and I for the night. What I did not know was the raccoons would raid our camp in the middle of the night.

They had raided the trash and even bit open the Irish tea. I guess the decided it was not food and abandoned it on the camp perimeter. I hate those bastards.

I was able to salvage some tea and boiled water with the only pan I had. I prefer instant coffee but the tea had enough caffeine to do the trick.

Another tradition is a nice photo of an early morning campfire. Its not camping if you don't get the smoke going early. I was also able, before I left, to walk down by the river and found the canoe launch. That is something we need to do more of.

Anyway, this is the sign at the entry to Hillsborough River State Park which could be your gateway to a nice camping adventure. We were at campsite ,,#27 which I recommend.

Taxi driver recreation

I went camping last week with friends. It was at a commercial site which is a change of pace from our usual primitive/backcountry outings in Florida. You can see the taxi and my tent (I have two tents) and I enjoyed having a bathroom across the way.

This is George who brought most of the gear and got us started on chopping wood. He is a guy that will have a gadget for everything. He also happens to be the host of a local TV show about the paranormal.

We really had a nice fire going just before sunset and were waiting for Teri and Kevin to show up. They soon did and Kevin became "Children of the Corn" which is a tradition for us.

It all went downhill after dinner when we decided to go look for Bigfoot. That is when I got hurt skidding down a limestone rock face. I have been out of commission but I am on the mend.


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