Cabbies feel the pinch at the pump

Signs of gas prices rising
Signs of gas prices rising
John Mendonca
John Mendonca

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The rising price at the gas pump means pain in the pocketbook for people who earn their living on the road.

John Mendonca has driven a cab for TheCab for sixteen years.

"Service is the most important thing," he said.

Putting on 250 miles a day has made him a pretty good predictor of gas prices.

"I can see it going to $4.00 a gallon, maybe $4.50," he said of the present spike.

From 7 in the morning to 8 at night seven days a week, Mendonca transports people from place to place with one eye on his trip meter and the other on his gas gauge.

"How often do you have to gas up your tank?" he's asked.

"Every day," he answers

"How much does it cost you?"

"Roughly between $35 to $40 a day."

As an independent contractor, Mendonca bears the brunt of his business costs. Still, he says he's one of the fortunate cabbies. He has been at it so long he's built a base of regulars.

"If you are courteous to your passengers. If you hold a conversation. Chances are you're going to get a tip," he said.

The higher gas prices climb the more important tips become to cab drivers.

He said no matter how tough it gets, he still can't see himself doing anything else.

"You don't have that kind of flexibility when you're tied to a desk," he said.

Mendonca is careful not to waste fuel. He keeps his car in good running condition to cut down on consumption.

"It helps," he said.

It would help a lot more if the cost of a fill-up started heading south.

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