A few weeks ago they had their bi-yearly shift bid. This process is done twice a year where you bid on the sifts you want to work. The drivers bid based on seniority and being low on seniority most of the good shifts and days off are already taken. I was able to keep my days off of Thursdays and Fridays and Geographically Restricted medallion Saturday and Sunday, North-North on Monday and Unrestricted Tuesday. Even though North-North was good for me on weekends where you get the long runs to the airport or the Strip and with only paying 22% of the fuel you do not mind the ride back to the area without a customer. Mondays you get mostly grocery store runs which are short and low tips. You also spend time just waiting or driving around the areas looking for customers at shopping centers.
To earn extra money I try to work six or even seven days a week. Today, a Thursday as I am writing, is my day off. I do though plan to work tomorrow. With the days and hours I work, it does not leave much time for a life, but right now income is more important than play. During a typical day I get up at 1:30am, pour my coffee and chat with Elena on Skype. I then shower, dress and get to the taxi yard by 3-3:15am for my shift. I am home by 3:30-4pm, make a light dinner, chat with Elena again and in bed by 6-7, This does not even leave me time to watch tv, my old favorite pastime.
Because of some problem with the new shift change they had another shift bid process again. This time I was able to drop my North-North and now have Geographically Restricted Sunday and Monday and Unrestricted Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. All my shift times except Saturday start at 3:30am and have to be back in the yard by 3:00pm. Saturday I start at 5:30am and return by 5:00pm.
Without telling too much, it was clear to me I needed to get out and get my own apartment. Since I am no longer a young adult, I had some needs I wanted in an Apartment especially since Elena will be here in the future. I wanted a place in a nice apartment complex that is well maintained. With me driving a scooter and Elena at first will need to use the busses I wanted a location closer to work and with easy access to the bus system.
I spent a good part of a Thursday visiting many apartment complexes and finally made my decision. It is on Tropicana west of the Strip (Las Vegas Blvd). There is a bus stop just outside the gate for both east and west running busses. The apartment is on the second floor which is also the top floor. This way I get the added security and also do not have to worry about footsteps over head. The Facility also offers a pool, spa, exercise room with many machines, gated and because many residents work different shifts at different hours, there is a noise restriction 24 hours a day which keeps families with kids discouraged on living there.
Once deciding on an apartment, I then needed to look for furniture. I do not have a lot of money, but wanted to be comfortable. One driver I have been friendly with told me about a furniture liquidator that has the used furniture from the hotels. The bedroom furniture I decided on came with a king size headboard, two nightstands, two lamps, two pieces of artwork, large armoire, wall mirror and also a service cabinet with the service refrigerator. I was able to trade the service cabinet for a round table and four chairs to have as my dinette set. With the mattress, box spring and frame plus deliverer I was able to get this all for under $800. I then went to a furniture store and got a good deal on a sofa, loveseat, coffee table, two end tables and a three lamp set for around $1000 including delivery. Once all set up, I will publish some photos.
With my application for Elena’s Visa I am being told about five months for it to clear USCIS and it looks like the Senators cannot rush this process so we just have to be patient.
Next I will write more about my life and experiences as a taxi driver.