Sunday, July 09, 2006

Camaraderie? What Camaraderie?

I started tonight’s shift with a “scream up” at another cab driver. He was on the point of the Paddington rank and I was behind him. As often happens a person will walk up to the front cab and ask for a price or a question in general. Whilst the front cab is dealing with the question other people will appear from the station, assume he’s taken and start getting into the cabs behind. A very pretty young Asian lady got into mine and was on the hurry up straight away. She was going to a party on a boat at Tower Pier and we only had 20 minutes to make the cross town journey (on a Saturday night!!) She also needed to stop and get some cash and please could I hurry. I couldn’t move because the guy in front was still dealing with the person at his window. Knowing the score I waited patiently but after a couple of minutes and some frothing at the mouth from my pretty Asian I tooted the horn. Another 30 seconds and I tooted the horn again. No sign of movement or even the prospective passenger getting in to his cab. I leant on the horn for about 10 seconds, no joy. Out of the cab I got doing a bit of frothing of my own. I knocked on the drivers window and spread my arms in that “come on man what’s happening” sort of way. He half lowered his window and said “What’s your problem mate?” “What’s my fucking problem? You’re holding everyone up you inconsiderate cunt (yes I did call him that) Why can’t you pull over there out of the way and negotiate with her. A few minutes is ok but you’ve been here nearly five and that’s not on mate, you’re taking the piss” He had his map book out so obviously it was a “roader” to somewhere nice and he was trying to negotiate a fair price but you have to consider who’s behind you and allow them to get out. I think my little outburst did the trick as he pulled off the rank and parked a little way up and continued to negotiate. He gave me a dirty look on my way past him and I almost gave him the finger but I thought my insult to him was enough for one day

A Rainy St Paul's Cathederal

It was sort of drizzling on and off all shift tonight, which made it really busy. I was driving along Kings Road when two guys and a girl flagged me down and asked to be taken to Tulse Hill. They were South African and Australian so I knew straight away there would be no tip. A few minutes into the ride and one of the guys asked if I had any music I could play. I put Virgin Radio on and they instantly recognised the song and started singing loudly to it. The song finished and the DJ announced “And now for something really special”. The opening few words “A long long time ago…” produced screams of delight from all three in the cab and they started singing the song word for word. I must admit I love that song too and was gently mouthing the words under my breath. “Bye Bye Miss American Pie” rang out from the partially opened windows as we drove through the streets of Brixton turning heads in our direction. They played the whole song which must have lasted a good eight or nine minutes and by the songs end my fares flopped down in their seat to catch their breath, it was almost as if they’d just had sex. As predicted, we arrived at their destination with £18.60 on the Hickory*, plenty of thanks and good wishes for the rest of my night but they took the £1.40 change from me with out batting an eyelid.

*Hickory Dickory Dock (from a children’s nursery rhyme) = Clock = meter.
Cockney Rhyming slang, it’s a London thing.

A Rainy Kilburn Lane @ 2am

Talking of tips AGAIN they generally add up to 10% of the nights takings, sometimes even more. Tonight for some reason they only added up to 3%, I wonder why.

The shift ended with another disagreement with a cab driver. I was probably out of order but sometimes you have to do what’s best for you. I was looking for a fare to take me towards home and drove onto Victoria rank with my doors locked and my light off. As the first in the queue approached me I shouted out “are you going north ?” They said they were going south and so did the next 2. The fourth passenger was going my way so I told him to jump in. The cabby that pulled up behind me and jumped out of his cab shouting “Oi what’s going on here, why are you fucking brooming those jobs” I said I wanted to go home to which he said “Then turn your fucking light out and go then, don’t come in here picking and choosing, you’re worse than the minicabs” He was bubbling. But as the saying goes, possession is nine tenths of the law. I had my job in the cab so I just leaned out and said to him “Be lucky mate” and drove off into the night.

A Rainy Carlton Vale, Kilburn @ 2am


Anonymous said...

What a great way to totally piss the travelling public off, a greedy cherry picker. For the sake of a tenner you could loose your licence...Lets just hope for your sake that Sgt Hillson is not reading this.

TraceyH said...

OOhh I think you upset another cabby, its a dog eat dog world and I know for a fact all cabbies do that.
Greedy? If hes been out all night and wants a fare to take him home is that so wrong?
Jeez, chill out dude!

wil said...

I think Anony Mouth has it wrong. I can see nothing illegal in LC's actions and I doubt the general public would be pissed. As far as being greedy, how do you know that he didn't pass up better runs so that he could get one going the right way?

Thats why I eliminated anonymous posts on my blog. If someone doesn't have the cajones to identify themselves then their opinion has zero value to me. They are just a faceless heckler in the crowd.

Anonymous said...

Oi, not all Australians are averse to tipping. But then I've been living amongst you whingeing lot for over 5 years now... ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi tracy h
I would like to know how you "know that all drivers do that"? I for one do not and know a lot more drivers who also would not dream of "sorting out" their fares. Its not only annoying to the general public but against the PCO rules to act in this way, rules that I would like to add that this driver really should adhere to if he wishes to remain a cab driver and continue writing this blog. I can appreciate that one person was "helped" home to their destination from a kind and friendly driver, however, what of the other two-three people that were not? 2x5 night work x 48 weeeks per year adds up to a lot of really fed up people that are attempting to pay the wages of this driver. How would you feel getting to the point of the taxi queue only to be told that you are going to have to wait longer whilst the people behind climb in?

Hi Will

Well it appears that you seem to read the posts before deleating them so here goes.

The same as mentioned above also applies to yout thoughts with regards to the "brooming" of jobs. One day it will be raining cats and dogs, in the distance an orange glow appears. Your heart warms as the driver stops "where to guv" screams the driver, "Peckham please" you reply, you then attempt to open the locked doors of the taxi as it dissapears in a puff of smoke.... You are now left to continue your journey on foot...Hoping that myself or one of my many conscientious Taxi driving friends drive along to take you to your destination....and into the bargain we normally receive the flack about the "not so kind" driver that has just driven off. Go figure!

Annonymouth (I like that :-))

Graeme said...

You will be pleased to know that Poms don't tip much here in Australia I have learnt in 25 years driving here in Melbourne. So it works both ways.

london_cabby said...

Now Now ladies lets all stop bickering.
To Annonymous. If you're a London cab driver then you'll know the score. If you accepted every job you'd never get home at night so to imply you're the perfect cab driver is quite frankly, bollocks and whats more you well know it. I'm not all bad though. I never charge blind people, Chelsea Pensioners or certain elderly folk and more often than not will round a fare down to save change. On many occasions I've taken people home with the promise of payment being forwarded and out of twenty occasions I've done this have only ever recieved payment once. So the public are not all saints and look to stitch you up from time to time. Lastly, Victoria is so busy that I'm sure those people were in a cab within seconds.

TraceyH said...

Dear Anonymous, The reason I know about Cabbies? ..I was married to one for almost 16 years, my brother is one and also most of my friends.
I am sure that LC sticks to almost all the rules 99% of the time, but it would seem to me that youre some kind of jobsworth, the perfect cabbie :rolls eyes:
an exception to the rule no doubt.
Had your badge long mate?

Anonymous said...


For your info I have had my licence for fifteen years, does this make any difference?
If you are so sure that LC sticks to the rules 99% of the time then you need to read his entire blog...You may find that you need to eat humble pie. ;-)


There is a simple way to go home. TURN YOUR BLOODY FOR HIRE LIGHT OFF ! ! ! its simple really.
I have never implied that I am the "perfect" cabby, however I am the sort that DOES NOT overtake other drivers to nick a job or "sort" jobs out from station ranks likewise street jobs.
I must be honest and say that I do not normally give free rides as I have bills to pay and as yet no one has let me off any of these, so you are in my books at least, a complete hero or fool?
I do however operate within the rules of my Hackney Carriage licence as failing to comply with these will eventually lead to its withdrawal, as I mentioned before there are lots of people up at penton street and Scotland Yard all too willing to releave you of your hard earned licence.
My advise is do not give them the chance.
Be lucky.


TraceyH said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TraceyH said...

:Laughs out loud:
I have been reading his blog and have found it very entertaining, eat humble pie, I don't think so.

LC, sorry I dont want to add to the bickering even though I could put jobsworth here in his place.
Anyone who really knows you knows you're a stand up guy.

Be lucky!

jo said...


What have you been up to since I have been away - you seem to have upset the world!! Maybe they are just so lacking in excitement in their lives that they have to comment on everyone else's.

traceyh - you are right. Anonymouth, mouse - whatever - is a definite jobsworth.

Cabbies have a hard enough job without being stabbed in the back by one of their own.

steveg said...


Interesting the use of the expression "Stand up Guy" Well I'm sure LC is, most of the time. I like his posts, I enjoy reading about his life in the cab (not so interested in his personal life to be brutally honest - it sounds too much like the rest of us)

The was a post by LC a while back about him taking his son to Sainsbury's (I think) and LC not only told us he parked in a disabled bay - he posted a picture of himself doing it!!! Being married to a truly disabled person and seeing the pain and tears she goes through just because some idle bastard cannot be bothered to walk a few yards futher makes my blood boil - but when I saw LC's post I bit my tongue and said nothing. Why? becuse eventually people who do this will learn how much distress they cause or may even end up needing that facility for real and then they will remember the times they have abused it - It's not worth the hassle, and as I said, I DO enjoy reading LC's posts.

No one is all bad, nor all good - we all have our bad points - just live and let live and get on with it. (Oh and park in a disabled bay my wife needs and i will block you in and you will wait 2 or more hours until we have finished our shopping) (Militant, me???)

Best Wishes to all

Steve (Not Anonymous)