All posts by Gibson Square

A Licensed Black London Cab Driver I share my London with you . . . The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Chariots of Fire?

pink-content1Just thought might like to look at this crappy logo again, it really sums up the London Games.

In case you haven’t noticed there is a little bit of building work going on in East London, apparently it’s the biggest project in Europe.

The London Olympics are going to cost £9.3 billion, that’s £9,300,000,000 to you and me, and we are going to pay for it, God knows how with Government borrowing nudging up to nearly 50 per cent of GDP.

[I]t now seems that almost 2,000 chauffeured cars will be available for the 450 people in the top tiers of the ‘Olympic Family’ none of them athletes. These people are staying in top hotels in the West End (all 5-star hotels are now fully booked for the Games). They are staying at these hotels apparently because their spouses like to shop while their husbands are pouncing around in East London, and they don’t want to travel far to get to Harrods.

So while wifee shops her husband is chauffeured across the whole of London holding us up as we try to work.

On busy stretches of the ‘Olympic Route Network’ special traffic lanes will be reserved for their cars, while everybody will be jammed in what’s left of the carriageway.

But wait, those political geniuses who are planning this event have forecast traffic volumes will be substantially down as people will all take their annual holidays at this time.

They don’t live in the real world do they? Are they really saying all business will close in London for three weeks? Everybody will go on holiday or watch the games at home. Can you imagine telling owners of companies that they must close up shop for 3 weeks?

As for these 4 yearly demonstrations of jingoistic vanity, cannot we always hold them in Greece where they were born?

Each competing country could contribute a small sum so the venues were kept world class. Greece could certainly benefit from the income. And maybe, just maybe the 9.3bn could actually be spent on improving areas of severe deprivation, such as East London or the North West of England and not spent on massaging the egos of these vain men and women.

If these mendacious politicians really want to advertise London, they could start by keeping it as the tourists expect; Routemasters, black taxis without adverts, lack of skyscrapers ruining London’s skyline, curbing the illegal vendors on Westminster Bridge.

God I could go on and on . . . .

Did I get Gold for my rant?

It Ain’t Half Hot Mum

carfloodthmb11 For the last decade we have been regaled by the eco warriors that we are causing ‘Global Warming’, if don’t change our ways man alone will change our planet forever . . . what arrogance, as if Man will change this planet forever!

Have you noticed after having a succession of average summers it is now being called Climate Change and not Global Warming?

[J]uly and August, are on average the warmest months of the year in most parts of the England, and these months do from time to time comprise a succession of days of Mediterranean-blue skies, blazing sunshine, and soaring temperatures, but these months are rare enough to become imprinted on the community memory – 1911, 1933, 1959, 1976, and 1995, for instance. Surely if we were experiencing global warming these events would occur almost every other year.

But it suits this mendacious Government, to prevent climate change they say, to get us to recycle everything, with the appropriate revenue raising penalties if we have the temerity to put an article in the wrong container or, shock horror, leave the wheelie bin lid ajar. The reality of course is that all they are doing is following Europe’s dictates on the amount of land fill allowed to be dumped.

Large volumes of what people meticulously sort ends up in the Third World where the poor are paid a pittance to sort out again. Or as shown in a recent documentary, some of ends up as land fill near an elephant conservation area in India.

Our parents who went through a war did not have to be told to sort out their rubbish, by habitually kept everything that was of use, composted organics and just threw away the remainder.

Balmy (sorry for the temperature pun) researchers John Latham of the University of Manchester and Stephen Salter of the University of Edinburgh have proposed a radical idea that could, they claim counter the warming effect caused by increased CO2 emissions and induce cooling.

The idea is to develop a fleet of wind powered cloud seeding yachts. These yachts would pump salty sea water particles into the air, thus increasing the reflectivity of clouds covering 25 per cent of the world’s water mass. By increasing the amount of solar energy reflected back into space, this form of cloud seeding would have a cooling effect on the earth’s atmosphere. The 1,000 yachts needed would be unmanned and operated via GPS positioning and operate in the southern oceans, their cost is estimated at £2 million each.

Cab drivers have less ambitious plans, but we are also trying to do our bit; we are recycling our anecdotes for anyone who is trapped in the back of our cabs. You’ll never guess what I said to David Beckham last week . . .

I’ve Got The Hump

Kwik Fit Fitters could be the sponsors for these carbuncles growing on virtually every street in The Capital.

Every regular driver in the City knows to their cost these humps inflect on the suspension.

Last week I encountered 127 road humps on a single shift, yes I know I’m an anorak but I derive a perverse pleasure compiling these statistics.

[P]utting in 50 standard humps on three or four connecting residential streets costs about £150,000 and some of the more upmarket ones are wonderful works of art, worthy of exhibiting in the Tate.

In the Borough of Islington they have even constructed humps on short cul-de-sacs, now it is proposed to remove them and impose a blanket 20 mph on all roads in their borough.

Some of my customers even ask me to make detours of up to a mile to avoid these obstructions in Islington and have you noticed the nouveau rich now buy 4x4s just so they can travel over these humps at 40mph, while the rest of us mere mortals, apart from white van man can only go at only half their speed?

Do emergency vehicle drivers have to wear gum protectors to spare their teeth when on a shout?

So here’s my suggestion, if we are to keep vehicle speeds down to a reasonable level, cameras loads of them. Okay I know we have more CCTV cameras in London than we can shake a stick at, and average speed cameras are useless as journey times across the Metropolis are down to Victorian averages. A set of eight average-speed cameras covering four residential streets cost £250,000.

Produce the cheaper normal speed cameras concealed in hanging baskets and stick them on every lamppost, a double whammy, beautiful streets and an income for The Burgers of London.

And you never know Rachel Thame might be tempted on Gardener’s World to extol the virtues of speed cameras in hanging baskets, or should she appear on Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson.

Don’t get caught speeding, travel by Licensed Black Taxis for your comfort and security. Complementary opinions are available on current affairs, politics and football. Ask any driver for details!

Chinese Takeaways

rickshaws

[T]his blog tries very hard to avoid profanity and believe me sometimes it is tested to its very limits. But these f***ing rickshaws are now all over London. What started out as harmless fun pedalling the odd tourist around the pedestrianised confines of Covent Garden has turned into a nightmare. These rickshaws cause massive congestion as London’s traffic queues up behind them as they travel at little more than walking pace on major roads.

The Rickshaw riders charge exorbitant sums in order to recoup the high rental fees the operator’s charge for the bikes. Up to £12 a mile is normal, whilst £30 per mile is not unusual. If three people get into one of these contraptions they can expect to pay £12 to the driver and then have to negotiate the cost of the journey.

The safety of these vehicles is horrendous. The Transport Research Laboratory looked at the possible safety implications of allowing the continued use of these vehicles for hire and reward in London. Its scientists warned that ‘any impact with a motor vehicle’ was likely to result in ‘serious injury to both passengers and riders’. Transport Research Laboratory also warned that ‘The standard of braking for a Rickshaw fell well short of that expected of a car’.

I suspect members of Westminster Council and the Greater London Authority don’t go out at night and see this problem. If a major West End show should need to evacuate the theatre near to conclusion of a performance, 800 theatregoers would be confronted by a wall of these bloody contraptions. We have seen alas, what happens too many times before with people getting crushed and trampled on when an evacuation route is obstructed.

And if that is not bloody bad enough these crazy bastards ride down one-way streets in the opposite direction with young children in the back. It is only a matter of time before we have a tragic accident.

Whinge over, I feel a lot better now, can I get off the couch doctor?

Shaggy Dog Story

Shaggy Dog Story

“Sorry Squire, I’m not going South of The River”. I can now say that with impunity after a recent judgment by magistrates in Bolton. Last week they cleared taxi firm boss Mustak Bhuta, accused of discrimination against blind woman, Toni Forest. The court heard that Miss Forest accompanied by her guide dog, was told that the cab firm were not taking her because of hairs from her dog.

[B]ut the court accepted the taxi bosses’ version that two of his drivers on duty had problems in the past, one of which was the dog being unhygienic in licking the gear stick. The remaining available driver was scared of dogs.

So now I have a whole plethora of excuses for refusal; you’ll drop hairs, licking my gear stick (is that a euphuism?), and a phobia of South London.

Magic!!

Lost and Found

“You would lose your head if was not screwed on”, so I was told when young. The same could be said about cabbies’ passengers. A recent survey by Credant Technologies has found that over the last six months, 55,843 mobile phones and 6,193 other devices including laptops were forgotten by London black cab passengers. Thankfully, about 80 per cent of surveyed taxi drivers claimed that owners were reunited with their missing item once found, but having your hand-held device in someone else’s hands still poses a huge security threat for the owner. These devices are usually not owned by the people using them; either they are supplied on contract or owned by their employer, so maybe that’s their excuse for not being so careful.

The same can’t be said for the high profile security breaches by losing data devices left in public areas, to be conveniently reported by the media. Am I being just a touch cynical when I think some of these lapses are helping to destroy the Government’s reassurance that they are safe with our personal data for ID cards?

Apart from the mountain of iPods, drivers have also found a sawn-off shotgun, 12 dead pheasants, two dogs, toilet seats, a casket of funeral ashes and £2,700 in cash in the back of their cabs. If all these were found on the same cab run, I wouldn’t be going south of the River again.

Leaving the Monopoly board

Having shut Grosvenor Square to vehicular traffic for the best part of four months, while installing the most elaborate anti-terrorist devices this side of Iraq, the United States Embassy have now announced it’s moving to Wandsworth.

Did we pay for these elaborate rising bollards, traffic lights, anti car bomb devices, and if so will we get any compensation?

But at least the local residents won’t mourn the passing of the Americans; they cannot get anti terrorist insurance cover for their valuable art collections.

But it won’t look so romantic for the great unwashed to demonstrate in Wandsworth, home of the Arndale Shopping Centre.

All together now:

What Do We Want? America Out!

When Do We Want It? Now