Diary of a Ghanaian taxi driver 3

This post has been sitting in my drafts since June 2016, that’s how long I have been preoccupied with family, work and other equally important things. This is a continuation of my personal project of documenting my encounters with taxi drivers.

On this particular day my assigned official car had gone for servicing so I had to wait to be picked by hubby. He was also stuck in traffic around Kanda and we had to pick our daughter up from school latest by 6pm to avoid paying any late penalty fees. It’s not that much but as an accountant it’s a cost that could be prevented and utilised in other areas………….the opportunity cost of money…………in order to avoid it we decided that I would take a cab to her school for him to pick us both from her school. I don’t recall the name of the driver but we had an interesting conversation………

Date and time check: 30 June 2016 at 5:24pm

Me: How long have you been in the taxi driving business?

Driver: I have been doing this for the past 10 years.

Me: Is this your own car?

Driver: Yes. I initially started as a side driver, then later saved to buy my own cab.

Me: How much did it cost you?

Driver: GHS 6,000

Me: So how are your earnings like?

Driver: On average I can make GHS40 per day and GHS1,000 on a monthly basis.

Me: Are you married (Me and my small body with the BIG mouth!)

Driver: No am not. I got my heart-broken by a lady and since then it is difficult for me to trust ladies. Luckily I was saved and counselled by a pastor.

This is the part that kills me…………..

Driver: Although am not married, as a man I have to satisfy my desires.

Me: Please explain further, I don’t understand. (I asked in an innocent tone).

Driver: I patronize the services of the night workers at St. John’s (area at Dome).

Me: Why do you do that if you are not married? Your pastor and God won’t like it. And how much do you pay for this?

Driver: About GHS50

Me: Instead of going this way why don’t you save the money and settle down with a respectable lady?

(He laughs at my proposition then says he has heard me)

Ironically just when we got to my destination and I was about paying up his pastor called……..I told him to tell his pastor what he has been up to.

I discovered a new short cut the same day thanks to this driver. That’s the route I now use to drop and pick up my daughter which helps me escape the Westlands traffic.So sometimes it’s worth it to ditch your ride and pick a cab or troski!!!

Share your taxi driver experiences with us: the lessons and the fun stories and you would be featured on this blog. Use the hashtag ‘taxidriverdiaries’ and ‘omtsdigest’.

 

Diary of a Ghanaian taxi driver 2

This is the second part of my taxi driver interactive series.

I got a cab from Roman Ridge to take me to Dzorwulu for a meeting. There was the usual bargaining of charges then off we zoomed to my destination.

That was where I remembered I had started a blog post devoted to  the stories of taxi drivers. Just out of curiosity, I am interested in the multifaceted stories of these drivers.

For those who missed the first post, check it out here >Diary of a Ghanaian taxi driver 1

This is a summary of the conversation that ensued between us.

Me: Does this taxi belong to you?

Driver: No. I work and render sales account to the owner.

Me: How does it work?

Driver: The owner has a daily sales target of GHS40. I gain when I make sales exceeding this target and on the other hand, I have to top up when sales is low.

Me: With this arrangement, do you still earn a monthly stipend?

Driver: Yes I do.

Me: Who is responsible for the car’s maintenance works?

Driver: The owner sorts out all car maintenance expenses.

I didn’t want to pry too much so I didn’t ask of how much he earns in a month.

Me: Am sure you are wondering where I am going with all these questions.

Driver: Not really, you might probably be interested in getting a taxi and you want to understand the dealings of the taxi business.

Me: Thanks for your patience.

I learnt a new aspect of the taxi driver business. I previously thought they had to render sales daily of whichever amount they generated which I believed could not be trusted fully. It’s about setting a reasonable sales target just as the sales people do.

Cheers!!!

Share your taxi driver experiences with us: the lessons and the fun stories and you would be featured on this blog. Use the hashtag ‘taxidriverdiaries’ and ‘omtsdigest’.

Diary of a ghanaian taxi driver 1

I recently hailed a taxi to take my daughter for her monthly weighing. Whilst in the car, I realised I had never made any effort to find out about how this particular man ended up in the taxi driving business. The conversation I had with him was interesting and this has pushed me to explore further with other drivers. They might just have an inspiring story to share. So next time you hail a cab don’t just treat it as a transaction, try to be inquisitive and share your stories with us.

So this is a summary of what transpired between Yaaro (name of driver) and myself. We interacted in Twi. I have translated it as best as possible to still retain the essence of the conversation.

Me: Do you own the cab you are driving?

Driver: Yes it’s mine.

Me: Nice. Did you save to buy it or  was it through work and pay?

Driver: Prior to driving, I was into aluminium fabrication with my brother. It was through that, that I got funds to acquire this taxi.

Me (Getting impressed at this stage): So by aluminium fabrication, you do welding jobs too.

Driver: Yes

Apparently he landed a big contract in Togo so he had to partner other people in order to meet the contract as it was above his capacity. It was the funds from this big contract that he used to acquire the taxi.

Me: Nice. So which of your businesses is profitable?

Driver: Can’t really tell, I usually use funds from driving to finance my aluminium fabrication business.

Me: So how do you manage your time between your aluminium fabrication and driving?

Driver: I drive whilst my brother who is also an aluminium fabricator attends to the shop and customers. I only go there when there is something outside of his capabilities or when an extra hand is needed. Whilst there I ensure I get reliable drivers to attend to my taxi customers who need to get to places.

The good thing with this driver from my personal experience is, whenever he sends a different driver to pick me up, he follows up with a call to confirm if I was happy with the service. He makes it a point to keep his customers happy.

Good thing is we needed a welder so he might have just landed a new business opportunity!

Lesson: You do not need only formal education to be successful at managing a business.  It’s a plus but not the complete solution. It’s about learning to think outside the box. This hard worker of a driver is already exhibiting the following skills which he may or may not be aware of: planning, customer management and entrepreneurship. If you think of it, this driver is self-employed compared to a university graduate sitting at home waiting to be employed.

We mostly assume a taxi driver has been hired by the car owner to provide taxi services to customers.

Don’t be quick to judge others based on how they look or the work they do.

Follow my blog to find out what we can learn from my next taxi driver encounter or from other people’s experiences.