A couple reasons:
They drive long hours for little money: the average cabdriver earns $27,060 a year, before expenses. They are at high risk for traffic accidents and, because they carry a lot of cash, for robbery. When drivers turn down fares to neighborhoods like mine, it’s not because they don’t want to miss a second of The Diane Rehm Show while they take my cash and make change. Those trips, where they probably won’t get a return fare, and must instead burn time and gas while the meter’s off, can mean the difference between profit and loss for the day; cabbies can’t afford too many of them.