Category Archives: Previously Posted

Previously Posted: I’ve Got The Hump

For those new to CabbieBlog or readers who are slightly forgetful, on Saturdays I’m republishing posts, many going back over a decade. Some will still be very relevant while others have become dated over time. Just think of this post as your weekend paper supplement.

I’ve Got The Hump (27.01.09)

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.

Putting 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 of 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 de 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!

Previously Posted: Shaggy Dog Story

For those new to CabbieBlog or readers who are slightly forgetful, on Saturdays I’m republishing posts, many going back over a decade. Some will still be very relevant while others have become dated over time. Just think of this post as your weekend paper supplement.

Shaggy Dog Story (25.02.09)

“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 a blind woman, Toni Forest. The court heard that Miss Forest accompanied by her guide dog was told that the cab firm was not taking her because of hairs from her dog.

But 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.

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 a 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 has 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

Previously Posted: Make a cuppa and do The Knowledge

For those new to CabbieBlog or readers who are slightly forgetful, on Saturdays I’m republishing posts, many going back over a decade. Some will still be very relevant while others have become dated over time. Just think of this post as your weekend paper supplement.

Make a cuppa and do The Knowledge (13.10.2009)

When I started the Knowledge 17 years ago you got yourself a bike, some warm clothes and set off most days to explore London whatever the weather. One anecdote at the time was of somebody buying a Travel card and attempting to gain that coveted green badge from studying the Knowledge from the top of a double decker bus. But for most of us it was the humble Honda C90. Along the way you first experienced Cabbies Scrotum a condition caused by sitting down for too long. The verbal exams also would be a challenge to your resolve, I was once asked to describe a journey from two places on opposite sides of the same road. When I queried it with the examiner he said “it’s raining, I’m pregnant and I’ve got a wooden leg so I need a cab”.

Now these clever people at Google have come up with a service which some lazy Knowledge students will want to try. Make yourself a cup of tea sit in the warm, call up Google Street View and bingo.

Google has spent almost a year collecting these images, with a fleet of specially modified cars, and the resultant images provide a snapshot of a bygone era before the recession hit the British high street. With many of the pictures were taken last summer, they show stores that have since gone bust, including Woolworths.

As well as the logistical challenges of taking tens of millions of individual pictures along Britain’s roads, Street View has also suffered intense criticism from privacy campaigners since it launched in the US two years ago. An American couple even went as far as to sue Google over invasion of privacy although they subsequently lost the case.

The resolution of Google Street View is amazing and you can examine every recess. Alright you still have go to Knowledge School to revise with other students, and yes, you don’t get some of your senses stimulated, like smelling the urine on the Paddington slip which for some perverse reason is used as a toilet by some cabbies.

But pursuing the Knowledge can be much more interesting than looking at images and studying a map all day, and you need a reasonable intellect to achieve your badge, but it’s a pity you’re not told how boring it can be.

So what will we have soon, a generation of cabbies who have strained their index fingers using a mouse?

I tell you what they’ll miss the smell of the urine!