LINDA JAGIELA: Your dispatch board has 200 jobs when you start your day on a crisp January morning. The weather forecasters start saying we may have missed this by a few — six — inches which will start at noon instead of six this evening as originally predicted. I don’t know about you but I think weather forecasting is the best job in the world. You can constantly be wrong and you will still have a job tomorrow. Let’s start a petition holding these folks accountable and asking for their resignations.
You get your reservationists on the phone and tell them to start calling clients to get them to either leave earlier or determine whether they want to cancel their trips. By day’s end, you are down to 62 trips. A 12-mile ride takes three hours. You normally charge the client $150 for this ride and they do not want to pay any more than that. The client that the same chauffeur is picking up after dropping these folks off is on the ground and he will soon want to know why his car isn’t sitting curbside, although his flight is two hours late.
Snow creates inconveniences for everyone. . . Have you ever witnessed a person screaming at the pilot because the flight was two hours late? I haven’t. That’s not to say I haven’t wanted to in my life but I am resolved that I am at the mercy of the airlines and I accept that fact. Why then don’t clients accept the fact that when roads are covered with snow, there is the possibility that your car will be late?
Now let’s talk Uber. They have surge pricing. The $150 ride that my client wants will net Uber $425. This aggravates me when my clients tell me that they use Uber when they travel out of my market. So now it snows and Uber charges surge pricing. Who are my clients using when it snows? You bet it’s not Uber.
Let’s talk affiliates now. The weather is getting bad in New York, Connecticut and Boston. You have four out of town rides in that area. You reach out to your clients to verify that they are still going and you aren’t having much luck reaching them during the business day. Your affiliate tells you that they are instituting a six-hour cancelation policy due to the weather. Two of your clients have their flights canceled with less than six hours. Who eats the cancellation? You, the affiliate, or the client? Dear affiliate, it’s been nice working with you!
The next shift of chauffeurs is due in to work in an hour. You have just enough chauffeurs to cover the work still on the books. The phone starts ringing with chauffeurs who either are having trouble getting to work or who have given up and won’t be coming to work.
Snow brings many problems, but tomorrow will be better. All of those cancelled rides will hop on new planes. Your 200 ride day becomes 300 and the roads are still not that great. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
— Linda Jagiela, LCT contributing writer
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