MS. REBECCA SHEIR
We move now to the streets where we'll meet a hard-working Washingtonian who helps other people get by and ahead by driving them around. Carolyn Robinson has been driving her taxicab for 36 years. Each day, she spends about ten hours picking up everyone from members of Congress to residents on welfare. For this month's installment of "D.C. Gigs" we join producer Marc Adams as he rides along with Robinson who talks about the challenges of driving in the District and what it is that's kept her in the taxicab industry for so long.
MS. CAROLYN A. ROBINSON
My name is Carolyn A. Robinson and I am a public service vehicle operator, formerly known to some people as a taxicab driver.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 1
So you're going to East Wayne. You’re going near the subway or are you going down near the Safeway? The District of Columbia has more cabs per capita than anywhere else in the world. There are over 10,000 licensed and a lot of times, with the tourists, they don't know, all they see is a cab. They don't know whether it's a D.C. cab or you know, whether it's a Maryland cab. Basically, they really don't care. They just want a cab.
We do have a lot of circles in the District of Columbia; Westmoreland Circle, DuPont Circle, Lowland Circle (sp?) , Scott Circle, and Sheridan Circle. I have an uncle who -- he called me and he said, I've been riding around this circle for ten minutes and I don't know how to get off this circle. I keep going around. And he's in the wrong lane so he had to keep going around. So will you come and either get me or tell me how I can get off this circle?
Okay, are you John?
Yes I am, how you doing?
Okay. And you're going to 8433 George Avenue?
It's not the driving that I enjoy about the job. It's the ability to interact with people. $55,000, you know...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 2
I mean, what about the rental?
I know. You know, you meet different people every day and that's the beauty of it so it's really important to be courteous, you know. It's important to treat people -- I treat most people like they are members of my family. Oh, my goodness, I didn't mean to do that. Senator Edmund Muskie was a regular rider. I've also picked up Senator Ted Kennedy. We also get jobs at the Naval Observatory where the vice president lives.
It's not just people -- rich people that catch cabs. You have people who are on fixed incomes that use cabs to go to the laundromat or that may take their kids to school. And this is a business and you're supposed to conduct yourself as if this is a business. This is my occupation. My taxicab is my office.
Okay, your fare is $13.25, Sherri. I've had challenges during my career, you know, during my career. Of course, I've been robbed at knifepoint. I've been robbed at gunpoint. I've also been robbed, kidnapped and sexually assaulted, but I believe in God and some things come with the territory. Some things you have no power over. You have to be mentally, physically and spiritually at peace in order to endure with this job. All right, thank you, you have a nice day.
For more on Carolyn's story, go to our website, metroconnection.org, where you'll find photos of her on the job. And if you have a D.C. gig you'd like to tell us about, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit us on Facebook, that's facebook.com/metroconnection.org
Time for a quick break, but when we get back...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 3
Because I was hurt and I was broken, it's a very scary feeling.
...overcoming homelessness in Maryland's most famous resort town, that and more in a minute on "Metro Connection" here on WAMU 88.5
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