Monday, October 09, 2006

Victoria or bust.

I managed to get my son some size 13 boots at the place I mentioned in Cricklewood and they only cost £20 which was amazing value. Thanks to Jackie for recommending the place in Hampstead, I had heard of it but haven’t tried it yet.
So later on today Michael starts his new job as a trainee mechanic. Once he knows his stuff there’ll be plenty of customers needing his services in my family. Good luck for today son!!

I started work at 7.30 pm today (Sunday). I wasn’t in the mood (am I ever?) but I had to make an effort as a late start on a Sunday can often spell disaster as the work dries up fairly early.

Seeing as the other cabbies are listing their jobs for the shift with comments I’ll do the same but I don’t have the times and I’m not putting the amounts as a cab driving colleague of mine gets the hump when I give out the totals.

I picked up fare #1 in Maida vale. An Asian man wanting to go to George Street.

For fare #2. I went on to the rank at Paddington Station. The Heathrow Express arrives here and the queue was about 200 strong. I took a lady to The Renaissance Hotel in High Holborn. As we drove along Oxford Street she commented on how the shops were still open on a Sunday. I said it was only the two-bob shops that stayed open and that the respectable ones adhered to the Sunday code.

Fare #3. As she got out there was a Japanese guy waiting to get in. He told me to wait for a couple of minutes for his lady friend. I was blocking the forecourt and the cars behind were getting impatient. As the first car honked his horn the lady came running out and directed me to a new restaurant in West Street called L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon.

Fare #4. was a guy who flagged me down in Haymarket and wanted to go to the City Inn at John Islip Street.

Fare #5. I made my way over to Victoria Station. The line was moving so fast that the beggar had positioned himself to catch the cabs that had to stop at the traffic lights by Argos. As I came round the corner I spotted him. The lights were about to go red so I stepped on it and went through them. From Victoria I picked up a fare to Davies Street.

Fare #6. I Drove all the way back to Victoria without a street hail and timed it so that I missed the beggar again (isn’t it sad when you have to take these measures to avoid being asked to hand over some of your takings?) From Victoria I got another short run up to Albion Gate on the Bayswater Road. I was longing for a run I could get my teeth into instead of all these little short hops.

Fare #7. As I was nearer to Paddington I thought I’d try my luck up there again. A medium range run to the Jury’s Hotel in Queens Gate was what I got.

Fare #8. The South Kensington Rank is near the Jury’s and I only managed another short hop to Tite Street by the river.

Fare #9. No messing about. Straight back to Victoria (beggar gone home) and another crappy run up to Gilbert Street off of Oxford Street. I can’t drop them where they want because of restrictions so I chuck them out at the junction of Weighhouse Street and they have to walk with their luggage. Not best pleased.

Fare #10. Paddington is closest so off I go again. Finally a decent run to the Guoman Tower Hotel. As long as I’ve been cab driving this hotel has been called the Tower Thistle but as happens a lot it has changed ownership and is now named as above. The problem arises when a passenger gets in and says “The Guoman Hotel please”. There are a few of them in London and all have been renamed from something all cabbies know to something we’ll just have to get used to and learn. These guys wanted to pay by credit card but I no longer accept them as I’m not affiliated to any radio network hence no credit card equipment.

Fare #11. As they got out 2 Indian guys were waiting to get in for a shortish journey to Long Lane in Bermondsey.

Fare #12. Still in Long Lane I was flagged by a guy pushing a buggy and who also had two little girls with him. I took them to Arbour Square in East London and he paid me all in pound coins after reading my sign.

My eyelids were closing so I decided to get a coffee and a chicken sandwich at the McD’s drive-thru in Commercial Road. The coffee was fine but the sandwich had “done a bit of bird” and was disgusting. I lobbed it out of the window as I was driving round the Aldgate one-way system.

Fare #13. I never picked up again until I was northbound on Tottenham Court Road. A strange one this. She asked to be taken to Wardour Street. I cut back through to Oxford Street and then asked her what end of Wardour Street she wanted. She was out cold after only about three minutes. I asked her several times, each time raising my voice. She eventually opened her eyes and said she wanted the Leicester Square end. Once there I pulled up sharply which jolted her awake. I told her the amount and she offered me a lighter. I told her I needed money instead. She handed over a twenty and started crying. I asked her what was the matter and she said nothing. I gave her the change and she got out of the cab and stumbled into a group of tourists who caught her. The door was still open so I jumped out and closed it and drove off.

Fare #14. Unusually, I never picked up a fare in the West End so I headed yet again for Victoria. Pay back for what I did the other night or just the long job I had been craving for? My passengers had been broomed by the guy in front and I ended up taking them all the way to Sydenham in South East London. They complained about how some cab drivers were pig-ignorant (present company excluded they said!) whenever they asked to be taken to that part of town. They won’t accept the explanation that when it’s busy in town it’s more profitable for us to do shorter journeys.

Fare #15. There was no street work anywhere at this time so it was simply a case of getting back to Victoria for the next four rides. Another short one to Blandford Street.

Fare #16. A lovely Italian lady from Victoria to Harcourt Terrace in SW10.

Fare #17. A grumpy old Irish woman from Victoria to Cranworth Gardens near The Oval. She’d stated her destination as if every cabbie in London knew it. She got miffed when I asked her what part of London she wanted as it was a “terribly big place my dear”. She didn’t like that one bit.

Fare #18. I was getting a bit pissed off at having to keep driving back to Victoria from the various drop-offs. There had to be a quality ride for me in there somewhere.
As the cabs in front got occupied I could see my passenger in the queue. A balding man of about fifty with two cases. He waited until he was in the cab before stating his destination which turned out to be another short ride up to the Hilton in park lane. Some nights it goes like that and on others you can’t put a foot wrong, every job is gravy.

Fare #19. Deciding to call it a night as it was fast approaching 2am I turned northbound into Park lane and was surprised to get a hail on the park side at that time. She only wanted Gloucester Terrace near Paddington but at least it was on my way home.

Inspite of all my moaning I still made some decent money tonight and over the last few days have caught up with all my payments. This is normally a signal for me to slow down and take things easy, even have a few days off. Or maybe I’ll keep up this pattern of work and get ahead of myself. What would you do?


Anonymous said...

When I lived in London years ago, I remember a blind begger who operated outside the Cumberland at Marble Arch. Come 5pm, he packed up his white cane, sunglasses, waited for the green light and headed merrily across Oxford St!

Anonymous said...

just wonder....How come you prefer to go to victoria station, i would have thought Paddington was more busy, and woould give you more customers

Jackie said...

Keep up with the pattern and get infront. That way when you fancy a day off you can....nothing like doing what you want and when you want *wink*

Glad you got the boots but do look in Magnus at sale time. Great bargains to be had!

J xx

jo said...

Definitely get infront, you never know what's around the corner and you could have unexpected expenses popping up here and there. Oh the luxury of working, when and how you want - lucky you.


london_cabby said...


Depending on where I drop off decides which station I head for. Vic and Pad are the main two but I also use all the others to a lesser degree.
Euston is either busy or at a standstill and I've done some big bird there in the past only to go around the corner.
Kings Cross is all messed up and has been for the last few years while they do the rail link.
Liverpool Street is a waste of time, so is fenchurch Street and St Pancrus. Waterloo isn't too bad and it helps to know the Eurostar times. London Bridge is ok if you like going south.

Keith said...

McDonalds put bins everywhere for people to sling their ropy chicken McSandwiches... I had to bin almost a whole cheeseburger the other week, because the dimwit put mustard on despite my asking for no mustard or pickle.

Anonymous said...

why don`t you ever pick up fares in the west end?surely that is the most lucrative place,seems a bit daft driving back to a station all the time.

Anonymous said...

I just love your blog. You are very insightful and very fair when it comes to describing the occupants of your taxi.

I agree with everyone else tho' - get ahead if you can - that way when you would like a day off you know you are covered for the usual and perhaps the unexpected.

Stay safe!

Hugs for you