Shut it! Gabby cabbies told

London’s cab drivers like to chat, this is probably due to being cooped up all day behind the wheel, and are only too happy to pass on their reserved wisdom on England’s manager, immigration or some obscure fact about Jack the Ripper. All this flies in the face of what the punter prefers, German and Koreans are most easily annoyed by small talk and are unimpressed by London cabbies’ knowledge of the capital and wish to travel in silence.

[R]ealising this flaw in the drivers Transport for London are currently looking to give additional training on etiquette; welcoming passengers, dealing with stressful situations and knowing when the passenger doesn’t need to discuss last night’s game.

Most Londoners are a pretty diffident lot preferring to apologise than complaint particularly to a driver who might take to you to Queensway instead of Queens Gate.

According to an ICM Survey 70 per cent of Londoners apologise if someone bumps into them and 74 per cent believe Britain is still a reserved nation, remarkably only 9 per cent of passengers in a taxi would feel confident asking the driver to keep stum.

Private hire operator Green Tomato Cars – crazy name, but at least they don’t call themselves minicabs – commissioned a survey which revealed that one third of Londoners have taken a journey where they didn’t want the driver to talk, 40 per cent said they felt obliged to join in the conversation; and only 10 per cent would summon up the courage to ask for silence.

Green Tomato Cars have now introduced, on a trial basis, a talk/mute button to state their preference when travelling in their vehicles. Presumably if you feel the need to chat and require a verbose driver, Green Tomato Cars will direct you to a black cab so you may enjoy their level of loquaciousness.

2 thoughts on “Shut it! Gabby cabbies told”

  1. I bought my first computer printer from a shop believing I could carry it home. It turned out far too heavy and I called a cab. For the whole journey, the cab driver regaled me with a stream of racist nonsense. I found this particularly reprehensible as he himself was obviously Jewish. I did think about stopping the cab and getting out but the idea of having to struggle with the weighty printer overcame my embarrassment. The relief when I finally paid him off was huge, as you might imagine.

    On our courier runs, we have had conversations with many cab drivers in many different cities. Some were bores but others were a joy to talk to and gave us valuable insights into the city and life in general. The shortest conversation was probably with the driver who, when told the address, replied “You don’t need a cab; it’s just round the corner”!


    1. My shortest (paid) journey was from Paddington Station to Prince William Hotel (topical at this time). Two young Japanese girls with suitcases bigger than they were didn’t know how far away the hotel was, nor could they speak English. The journey lasted about 30 seconds.


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