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Mary Ashene
Taxi company: Beck Taxi
Years driving: two years
Languages spoken: Amharic and English
Photo Location: Casa Loma
Date: March 9, 2017
Interview Excerpt:
Was it hard getting into taxi driving as a female?
It’s not. You get a lot of support. I get a lot of support because there is – it’s unusual to see a woman taxi driver in Toronto. So the expression I got from the people is great. It’s amazing. Yeah.
How many drivers female drivers would you say there are?
When I started, I believe it was 16 to 18. Now I can say more than 40.
Do you think there’s any reason for that?
Well, I think it’s… a lot of women, they don’t want to drive a taxi because of the safety issue. But to be honest, I never had any problem. So people think it’s unsafe. But it’s very safe. So any woman who wants to drive a taxi, go for it.
Do you drive at all hours of the day?
I only drive at daytime. I don’t drive at night. So it’s more safe here to drive at day than night.
So you’ve never had any problems with any customer?
I never had any problem. I actually make sure that my customers walk out with a smile from my car. Some customers might have a bad day. So I was like, “How can I make it better?” You know, music. Sometimes I offer them coffee or a chitchat. I make sure – there was a smile from my car.
What do you do when you’re waiting for your next passenger?
I’m reading the book called Rich Dad Poor Dad. I read different books. I listen to the radio.
What do you love about Toronto?
Toronto is amazing. See, I grew up in Toronto, King and Dufferin area, and it’s multicultural. It’s not like you see one kind of culture. You see every different culture and in each street, it could be a Filipino. It could be Little Italy. It could be Jamaican. It's great. You're comfortable. I'm comfortable. Yeah.