Michael Koderick: Transitions: University Ave

Michael Koderick, veteran University Avenue taxi driver, shares his observations about how his job has been impacted and will survive once the light rail is running

Interviewed by: Devonte
Edited/Directed by: Jordan
Photos by: Enmanuel, Heileen



What is your name and what company do you work for?

My name is Micheal Koderick, I work for St. Paul Yellow Taxi.

How long have you been a taxi driver?

As a driver, probably 15 years but I've been in the industry for 28 years. One Friday night I went out and drove a cab, and I'll tell you what, it was the greatest thing ever.

Why do people chose taxis over buses?

Well, because a taxi will offer door to door service, and timing. Buses do take time and trains do take time to get people around, where taxis, my average time that I have a fare in the car is about 18 minutes. And that gives them door to door service so that they can get to where they need to be quickly.

Have you ever been held up or had a situation where it involves someone threatening you?

Yes, I had a young man pull a knife on me 20 years ago and he did it on the freeway. And through talking with him, I had him throw the knife out, or otherwise I was going to make sure the last thing I did would be to roll the car on him. So, it would have been an interesting deal.

So, what's the farthest placed you've driven to?

Mexico, Missouri. He offered me 600 dollars to drive him down there, so I did.

How do you predict your job as a taxi driver will change because of the light rail?

I don't think it is going to affect it that much because people don't want to carry luggage and groceries, etc. on the light rail.

How do you think the light rail will change University Avenue?

I don't know that it is going to change it that much.

How have you seen University Avenue change over the years?

Well, University Avenue, I don't think it's changed that much until the light rail construction. And now newer businesses are coming up, and older businesses, smaller businesses, have lost their, you know, gone away.

What is the easiest part of being a taxi driver?

The easiest part about being a taxi driver probably would be dealing with people. You know, you can pretty much take a person in a bad mood and put them in a good mood. It's your attitude; driving a cab is all about attitude. You come out here with a bad attitude, you're going to have a bad day. You come out here with a good attitude, you'd be surprised at the end of the day what you can do.

Thanks for the interview.

You bet, man. Good luck to you.

Made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008. Administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.