Well I just decided a few minutes ago that I would do another post and thought it best, at 4.30am, to go downstairs and fix myself something to eat first. Being part of a household that could do with collectively shedding a few pounds, I purposely don’t keep large amounts of food in the house. So it came as no surprise to me just now as I opened the fridge that there was sweet FA with which to prepare myself anything resembling a late night snack. So here I sit with two clementines inside me and an orangey smelling keyboard about to begin this post.
Just a quick reply to the commenter on the previous post, APW. You love it 38.
I have to start with a comment to the cabbie that has just been found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting women in his cab. “Thanks mate, you’ve just systematically ruined our reputation or at the least put lots of doubts in the minds of women who will now think twice about taking a licensed cab home.” When I first heard about this last year I was convinced it was someone who had the use of a licensed taxi but was not actually one of us. How could he be? We’re a respected bunch of guys, everyone trusts us don’t they? I suppose it could be said that there’s a bad apple in every barrel but it’s still hard to believe all the same and I hope women take it for what I’m sure it is and that is the actions of a sick individual who has now been caught and will spend a long time in prison.
Bob Oddy from the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association insisted black cabs were safe, despite Worboys' conviction.
"This man has really let the side down. It won't happen again and you can be confident the next taxi you stop will get you to your destination safely," he said.
And now to work matters. I’ve had quite an eventful time since last post.
One day last week I picked a guy up in the West End and he asked for East Finchley, a nice job by any standards. Within 5 minutes we were traversing Russell Square when he asks me to pull over quick, as he wants to be sick. I always admire guys who do this and always live in hope that women will do the same but they never do. Any way he opened the door and puked in the triangle that was his arm, the door and the step. Some of it splashed on the step but I knew I could hose that straight off. Onwards we went and two minutes later he lowered the window and put most of his upper half out to continue puking. Fine thought I, he’s still being considerate as it’s probably all going straight onto the road. I stop in traffic and people at bus stops and passers by look over at the cab disgusted by what they see. He does this three or four more times and I wonder what the hell he’s been eating and drinking to have so much stuff to bring up. Eventually we arrive at his destination and he hands me £30 for the £26 fare and waits for the change. Now that I have the interior light on I have a better idea of what has happened and I see vomit all over the back window, inside and outside the door and assume it’s probably all down the outside of the cab as well. I decide to keep the change. He stands there looking stupid and I ask him what he’s waiting for. He wants his change. I ask him to return my cab to the state it was in before he got in and he’ll get his change. He tells me to keep the £4 and walks off. I’m now left with a heavily soiled taxi albeit mostly on the outside. I end up driving a few miles home and at 12.30 in the morning start to wash my cab with extra soap suds to get through all the crap that the driving had dried on. It’s a messy business when someone gets sick and even after it has happened to me so many times I never do what I say I will the next time it happens. I managed to get it smelling clean and looking serviceable again and went back to work and took another £60.
A few nights ago I was pulling in to drop a couple off at the Oxford Tube stop in Grosvenor Gardens when out of nowhere a wino staggered into my path. Had I been a second earlier I’d have run him clean over but as it was he bounced off the side of the cab, to the shock and horror of my two passengers, and landed on his arse. His wino pals, who were sitting on a nearby step and witnessed it all, jeered him. He then got up and started making a beeline for me, no doubt to have a go at me for almost killing him. My two passengers by this time had passed the money through the payment slot and had got out. The wino would never have been reasoned with so as he arrived at the cab shouting “oi you” I drove off, thankful that the traffic lights were on green.
As predicted by some cabbie commenters, the radio work has been pretty thin on the ground recently. I met a pal of mine recently who I’d been on the Knowledge with and he’s been on Radio taxis for years and he commented on how bad it was. I’m now reduced to taking credit card fares to earn enough to pay the weekly subs. I hadn’t done a credit card for a few weeks and one passenger wanted me to add a tip to the total but I couldn’t remember the procedure for editing the fare so I lost out to the tune of £5. I also have a sign in the window which asks passengers who want to use their cards to give me sufficient warning as they have to be swiped and processed at the head office. This sign is being completely overlooked and the other night I was presented with a card for payment by a nice French lady at the Sofitel St James’s. On swiping it I found I was in a radio dead-spot and couldn’t complete the transaction as my terminal couldn’t send the details to Control. I asked her to pay cash. She was three pounds short but rather than hang about and lose a fare that was waiting I let her off the three pounds. All in all I sometimes wonder if it’s all worth it.
My shift tonight started really well but ended prematurely. Being a Saturday night the demand for cabs was pretty good and I had a busy cab for the whole time I was out.
I stopped for a coffee and a Cornish Pasty (only a medium sized one!!) at Marylebone Station with Chris, our first coffee break since before he went to Thailand. We only got the stuff and returned to our cabs then talked while we queued up on the rank so as not to waste valuable earning time and he got a job to Wimpole Street whilst I got a better job to Chelsea. After a few more jobs I noticed there wasn't much heat coming from the heater so I checked the heat switch and it was right up on hot. The temperature gauge was right up to overheating level so I quickly pulled over before the engine blew up and checked the water tank. It was empty so I had an Evian bottle full of tap water, which I poured in. It wasn't quite enough but just enough to lower the temperature so I drove to the Texaco in Edgware Road and filled it right up. I moved the cab to a brighter and drier part of the garage and had a look underneath and could see water leaking from somewhere. Great!! That's all I needed. I got my little torch out and found that the radiator had sprung a leak. Not from a hose but from one of the metal elements, part of the radiator itself. Great thought I again, this just gets better and better. Nothing for it but to call it a night head to Tesco's to get some..........chocolate cheesecake for Katie and me. I drove home and sat with Katie, munching the cheesecake and felt a whole lot better. What I plan to do tomorrow is to go to work with loads of bottles of water and just work away, topping up when necessary and hopefully it will hold out until Monday when I'll be able to go to the garage where they'll probably give me a spare cab while they sort it out, hopefully on the same day. So luckily I'd earned most of my money and probably really should have carried on for a bit longer but I didn't fancy getting a long job somewhere only to find my one bottle of Evian wasn't enough to keep the temperature gauge down. I must join the AA because I may need them one night instead of waiting for the Mickey Mouse mechanics that most garages use to save money.
That’s all for now folks. Check back soon.