Rides are a stretch

AT WORK

Among limousine driver's celebrity clients was Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts

Working

July 19, 2006|By TYEESHA DIXON | TYEESHA DIXON,SUN REPORTER

Philip Rolfe

Chauffeur

Classic Limousine and Sedan Service LLC, Baltimore

Salary --Earns 29 percent of each job, tip included; about $3,000 a month

Age --27

Years on the job --Three

How he got started --About five years ago, Rolfe began driving a limousine part time. Two years later, he decided to go full time because he liked the commission Classic was offering.

Typical day --Rolfe's work week is usually split between airport and chartered work. He usually works from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. when he does airport runs, making five to seven trips between BWI and local hotels. To accommodate early and late flights, his day can last from 4 a.m. until midnight. Chartered work can include proms and weddings. Clients pay hourly. "To me, for that one night, passengers - they're special."

Tipping --Recently "a client took me to the Prime Rib for dinner, because he was pleased with the service. Not a common thing at all." In addition to dinner, Rolfe said he made about $237 from that job alone, plus a $190 cash tip.

Requirements --A passenger-for-hire license is needed from the Public Service Commission, plus a Class C commercial driver's license from the Motor Vehicle Administration. Applicants for the latter must get a learner's permit for six months. That requires a valid Maryland driver's license, vision and knowledge tests and a U.S. Department of Transportation card attesting to the driver's physical fitness. A commercial driving test is required to get the permanent license.

Worst limo to drive --"The Hummer has the worst handling."

Stars driven --Orioles Daniel Cabrera and Brian Roberts and announcer Joe Angel.

Gas prices --Rolfe fills up after each shift, which he charges on a company credit card. He said the firm is less willing to let drivers run personal errands or take the cars home at the end of the night because of rising gas prices. His boss said a stretch limousine typically gets about 12 miles per gallon and costs about $45 to fill up.

The good --"We can make a lot of money in a short period of time."

The bad --"The worst part about this job is it's not an hourly job. To be on call is inconvenient in any job."

Tyeesha Dixon Sun reporter

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