Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sick Britain

Hi folks

In spite of the riots gripping the country I have managed to avoid getting into any sort of trouble and my cab remains untouched.
It’s been terrible to see the events of the last three or four days where rioting and looting have taken a hold in some of our major cities.
Our Prime Minister has labelled these people as sick and I have to agree with him.
The most sickening thing I’ve seen (on TV) was the young Malaysian student who lay injured with a broken jaw and a bunch of rioters looked as if they were going to help him but instead they robbed him of his phone and wallet. There’s no hope left in this world, I truly despair sometimes.

I have had a bad week work wise. Being August the work has dried up and there are thousands of us driving around looking for the same work. If you can’t get on a rank then you’re going to find it difficult to make any money. On top of all that I have managed to receive a record (for me) three fixed penalties in the same week. My taxi proprietor keeps ringing me with the words “sorry mate there’s another one”. The first one was for stopping in the box junction on New Kings Road on the junction with Bagleys Lane. £65. The second one was for another box junction offence exiting Berkeley Street onto Piccadilly. Another £65. The third one I just found out about today but the garage owner said it was for stopping on zigzags and the only one I can think of is the one on Gillingham Street whilst trying to get on the cab rank for Victoria. Another £65 making the grand total of £195 I will have paid out this week. Not acceptable by any standards. To add insult to injury the cab owner rang me up and told me the weekly rent would have to go up by £10 as the insurance premiums have been increased by 60%. I should be angry but I haven’t got the energy.

Another negative thing that happened to me recently was when I was asked by a passenger if I accepted credit cards, as he never had any cash on him. I said I did and off we went from Euston to Barbican. On arrival he produced the card, I processed it but nothing happened. We tried two other cards but nothing happened with them either. I ended up letting him walk away with £12 on the meter. On closer inspection I noticed there was no provider logo (Vodafone) on the display so I simply turned it off and on again, the logo appeared and I did a test job for a pound with my own card and voila it worked!! You live and learn.

I did have one nice job in the midst of all this despair.
I was on point at Victoria Station when an elderly American couple approached me with a bit of paper. I get all excited when I see a bit of paper because there could be anything written on it. More often than not it’s a hotel not a million miles away but on this occasion it was the Hilton London Dartford Bridge. “You do know this is outside London” I said to them. “Oh no it’s in London” they assure me. There was a DA postcode on the paper and I assured them it was outside London and the fare would be in the region of £90 to £100. They had a little think, people were going round them to the cabs behind and I was worried that they’d change their mind and seek alternative accommodation but they eventually acquiesced and we set off towards the A2 and the County of Kent. Being a big job I quickly removed the “Credit Cards Accepted” sign so as to make sure they paid cash, which they did.

We are now in the month of Ramadan and I’m expecting the work to slow down even more than it already has. Who’d be a cab driver in London?

Hopefully my next post will be more upbeat. Until then be good to each other.

Take Care.