Have you ever stood waiting for a cab to have it pass you by? Assuming you weren’t hanging from a lamppost with a kebab in your free hand, it might be that the driver was being courteous to his colleague behind.
A curious courtesy in the trade is that if you’re let out into a moving stream of traffic by another cab, should a job materialise, you ignore the punter allowing the courteous cabbie behind to pick up the job.
Probably unique for London are a number of other quirky courtesies.
[S]tanding on the right of an escalator allowing others to pass on one’s left is well known. Apparently it derives from the original at Earl’s Court station. Unlike today one couldn’t walk off the moving stairs, rather users were shunted off to one side by a diagonal partition, while the moving stairs disappeared under the partition. By standing on the right allowed for the right foot first so standing on the right made sense. Also those fewer travellers on the left who chose to walk could join fellow travellers on the right easier when preparing to alight.
Recently I’ve noticed that some considerate drivers will sound their horn just as the traffic lights turn, reminding the driver in front of the need to accelerate away the moment the light show red/amber. I first observed this courtesy, that of sounding one’s horn at the slightest opportunity when I was travelling in the Middle East.
Now London drivers are, through the medium of sound, telling fellow road users to go first. Those same drivers are want to inform pedestrians of the need to transverse pedestrian crossings swiftly, or risk being run over by the impatient driver.
Now I don’t expect to be thanked by every punter who alights from my cab, a simple tip suffices; and I’ve never seen anyone expressing gratitude to a train driver when safety reaching their destination.
So why do passengers thank bus drivers as they disembark? The first mention of gratitude at the beginning of their shift might be heart warming, but after a few hundred ”Thank You Driver” it could become tiresome.
It has also occurred to me that the Perspex partition between the driver and passenger might be to stop grateful passengers vigorously shaking the driver’s hand on the his achievement at stopping at the correct bus stop.