Monday, September 04, 2006

Losing Control

I made some good money on Friday night and had a pretty uneventful evening until I pulled on to Marylebone Station rank. After a short wait I finally reached the point of the rank and wondered where I would get off to. I was engrossed in a game of Solitaire when there was a tap at my window. A young lady, probably in her mid twenties asked to be taken out to Ealing Broadway in west London. From Marylebone Station the journey is pretty straightforward. You drive due west on the A40 Westway and after a few lefts and rights at the other end you’ve made it. All started well as I set off from the station. She was rummaging through some M&S (Marks & Spencer) shopping bags and eating crisps, hopefully not making a mess in the back. We were motoring along the Westway at a fair pace when all of a sudden, as I crested a rise, the traffic stopped dead. Only then did I notice the roadwork signs. Whoever is responsible for the signs had decided not to give motorists a chance of avoiding the road works by turning off early. So we were stuck. Up to this point my passenger had been occupying herself by eating and rummaging through her bags. With the cab at idle I could hear her making some sort of groaning noises. Shit always happens when you’re stuck in traffic. As the traffic crawled along I was trying to monitor my passenger through the rear-view mirror whilst driving and listening to the soothing sounds of Magic FM (Virgin has gone to pot lately). There was a break in the traffic and I managed to get a burst of speed going at which point I was sure I could hear her puking and coughing in the back. I looked round but as she was directly behind me I couldn’t see much but I was sure she was doing it into one of the M&S carrier bags. The traffic stopped again and what should’ve been a nice job was turning stressfull. Had the roadworks sign been placed a few hundred yards earlier I would have been able to avoid all this.
“Bang Bang Bang” on the partition followed by “Where the hell are you going?” broke my train of thought with jolt. “Don’t fucking do that ” I automatically responded “you could’ve caused an accident”. The fact that we were only travelling at 2mph never came in to it. “Where are we going?” she asked a lot less aggressively. By this time I was totally fed up at being stranded in traffic and now that I had a stroppy passenger as well I was ready to inflict pain on someone. Trying to control myself I said “We’re going to Ealing Broadway like you told me to”
Her “But why are we going this way?
Me “What other way is there?”
Her “I don’t know but not this way”
Me “You’re only saying that because we’re stuck in traffic, if it had been clear you’d be home now”
Her “Why have you come up the A40?
Me “Are you mental or something? Listen love, forget the money on the meter, get the hell out of my cab and walk home.”
Her (rapidly coming to her senses)“I was just saying. They don’t normally come down the A40.
Just out of curiosity I asked her where I’d picked her up and she answered “Victoria Station” As I thought.
Me “well you're either more drunk than you look or on something stronger because I picked you up at Marylebone Station and the route to Ealing is straight down the A40. So, are you gonna let me get on with it or do you want to walk home?” I think I’d partially if not totally lost it but I didn’t care anymore, I’m sick of picking up idiots.
There was another burst in the traffic and I took off not waiting for a reply. She must have been working things out in her head because she never said anymore. The bilking incident from the other night was still fresh in my mind and I was thinking how I was going to play this one if she got argumentative at the other end. One thing was for sure, she was going to pay me in the cab and any bullshit would result in her being locked in and the police being called. As I approached the turn off for Ealing I asked her if she knew where she was. She started directing me and in three turns and a few hundred yards she told me to stop. Braced for a row I quoted the price. “That’ll be £28.80 please”. She handed over a 10 and a 20 pound note and said “thanks, goodnight” in a cheerful voice and walked away leaving untold amounts of crap on the back seat and on the floor. Normally I’d say something like “Oi!! This ain’t a skip, can you take your rubbish with you?” But I thought it best to clear it out myself. I wasn’t wrong about the sick either. She’d vomited into the M&S bag (better in the bag than on the floor I guess), which was also full of tissues that had absorbed most of it. There were also the entire contents of a packet of salt and vinegar crisps on the floor and various other items of packaging. The dirty cow, but pretty though.

Saturday never went according to plan. I dropped my son off at work and fully intended to make an early start. The thing was that England was playing Andorra in a Euro 98 qualifier and I wanted to watch it. I ended up watching Scotland’s game against the Faroe Islands before the England game as well and then had a long nap waking at 10pm. I went straight to work and it was buzzing out there. The only job of note was when I stopped for two “women” in Bayswater Road and realised that they were transvestites or is it transsexuals? One of them had massive tits and the other had tight jeans with no “dick bulge” (you notice these things when you’re a cabby!!) so I guess they were the latter. But in all other ways they were men. It was to be a nice ride to Tower Hill. On the way there I couldn’t help but notice how other cars driven by men would notice them and honk the horn. One car was cruising along side me as I drove down Upper Thames Street. I slowed to a crawl to let him get ahead but he slowed too. He followed us to Charlie’s Bar in Crosswall where straight away I noticed that there was a Tranny Night called Wayout on there. The two guys that had followed us were looking for a parking space as I drove off and I pulled next to them and said “Ere, you know they’re blokes dontcha?” “That’s a gay bar with a tranny night” “Whaaaat!!!” and they sped off with tyres screeching.

Yesterdays shift (Sunday) was worst of all. I dropped my son at his girlfriend’s house, did a few jobs and ended up yards from my house. The roads in towns were bad because there were about three major events going on at the same time. The Tour of Britain Cycle race was on. There was also a Spanish themed festival taking place closing off the whole of Regent Street and there was also some sort of race or fun run in Hyde Park. It all added up to traffic chaos with all the road closures so when I ended up by my house the rest was history. I fully intended to go out later but it just never happened. I’m well down on the money I need for Spain so will be looking at alternative options such as a wee chat with the bank manager. In spite of all that there’s still only four and a half shifts to go. Yipeee!!!


Dublin Taxis said...

Punters will give out like fuck because they cant get taxis home on Friday and Saturday nights. Yet they fight with cabbies,piss on the seats,leave all kinds of shit on the floor (crisps, kebabs,chips and burger wrappers)as well as doing runners. Till drivers decide to do mornings and evevings instead.
Today Dublin taxi drivers are on strike again. Dublin airport are to charge us e500 FOR THE PRIVELAGE OF WORKING THE APORT while our new taxi regulator is renoving the baggage charge of e1 for 2 bags and the e1.50
aport pick up charge..WE ARE NOT HAPPY CAMPERS.

london_cabby said...

e500??? That's a bit steep. Is that for the year? I can't imagine it's for any less a time.
We lost the baggage charge a good few years ago but gained the airport charge of £2. Weve been paying to pick up at Heathrow since I started 17 years ago and its now on about 3 or 4 quid but I don't go out there anymore as its all pot luck and you can get seriously burnt.
Be Lucky mate.

Anonymous said...

wow, You have to pay to go to heathrow and pick up people. I didn't no that. Ps i would have thought you'd be down their all the time. Most fares are bound to be big as people live fare away from the airport

Keith said...

What is it with people these days. They can't just get into a taxi, politely tell the driver where they'd like to go and then get out the other end after paying.

Just unbelievable these animals and their plebbines.

Anonymous said...

John from Dublin.yes the e500 is per year, but when you are losing your baggage and pick-up charge it will mount up. Anyhow we had a big protest today.Someone on the Quays put up a big sign ALL TAXI DRIVERS ARE FUCKERS. It was written on a cardboard guitar box.There is a music shop close by, guess I wont be buying my sons double bass drum pedal there.I will send you the web address of our taxi regulator when you come back from the Carribean.
try until then.

CharterJames said...

My commisserations brother, though by a certain pragmatic reconning, you came out rather well, except for the slow traffic/lost time part. I mean the puke and garbage is always degrading but you got to call her names, vent with swear words, win the bluff, and got 1.90 the round up too!

G.S. said...

First, I thank you, sir, for adding me to your blogroll! I will certainly reciprocate. Second, I've heard that there is an established charge for puking in a London taxi. That there is actually a posted sign inside the cab stating this. Is this true? And if so, how much is the charge?

london_cabby said...


The "soiling charge" charge is anything up to £40 depending on the extent of the mess and how long you're gonna be off the road to clean it. If it's puke then you've gotta go for the full £40. Last year a guy dropped a whole container of Chinese food and I got the full £40 from him although I managed to sweep it all out with a hand brush.
Love your blog.

london_cabby said...

oh and yes it is listed on the tarrif for all to read

jo said...

I really think you need that holiday - you are using the, C you next Tuesday, word quite a lot at the moment, that is a sign that you are stressed out and in need of a break.

You certainly do have to put up with a load of crap though - I definitely couldn't do it. xx

london_cabby said...

C yoU Next Tuesday or CUNT for short, is such an expressive and lovely word I would use it more often but don't want to come across as ignorant to all the readers out there. It's been in use since I was a kid because I remember using it in primary school and getting a wallop off the headmaster. It's becoming more common in the US but is primarily directed at women whereas in Britain it can apply to both sexes.
I can't ever imagine not using it but if it bothers you i'll try not to use it in your presence dear sister. xxx

jo said...

Thank you - although it won't be necessary - I wouldn't like to curb your creative flow.

You can c-u-n-t off anytime you like.


Crabbie said...

In the U.S., "cunt" is basically considered to be the single most offensive word in the English language.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is great and all but your last post was a bit OTT for this female offense...

San Francisco Taxi Driver said...

That lady must have been wasted or just lost I guess. Maybe she was from out of town and got off at the wrong station. That certainly is frustrating though, having a fare gripe at you in traffic you have no control over. You stayed pretty calm considering that she was vomiting, I won't tolerate that. What is an M&S bag?