Tag Archives: Cab passengers

The 12 drunk passengers of Christmas

Christmas is a time for coming together. Whether it’s for a family meal, a night out with friends, or a work party, you can guarantee most revellers will be enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two over the festive season. In fact, the average Brit has their first drink at 9:05 am on Christmas Day! As well as individuals, businesses take part too in this Festival of Alcohol. It is estimated that UK companies spent an astounding £1 billion on Christmas parties last year.

With so many people under the influence, who’s driving them all home? Well, those sober people at icarinsurance celebrate the unsung heroes of Christmas – the designated drivers who have to deal with the friends, family and colleagues who’ve had one too many drinks, and the cabbies who just want you out of their vehicle.

What better way to honour them than to share some of the situations they bravely battle, with the 12 types of drunk passengers that designated drivers may be faced with this year?

The one who doesn’t want the party to stop
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one who puts the world to rights
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN

The one who wants you to know how much you mean to them
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one with a bone to pick
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one who zonks out and leaves you lonely
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one who treats your cab like a takeaway
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one with an urgent pit stop request
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one who shows you what they had for dinner
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one who always knows the best route home
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one proudly wearing their themed onesie
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one you just want to get home in one piece
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one who reveals things you just didn’t want to know
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN

A version of this post was published by CabbieBlog on 16th December 2016

The 12 drunks of Christmas

Christmas is a time for coming together. Whether it’s for a family meal, a night out with friends, or a work party, you can guarantee most revellers will be enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two over the festive season. In fact, the average Brit has their first drink at 9:05 am on Christmas Day! As well as individuals, businesses take part too in this Festival of Alcohol. It is estimated that UK companies spent an astounding £1 billion on Christmas parties last year.

[W]ith so many people under the influence, who’s driving them all home? Well, those sober people at icarinsurance celebrate the unsung heroes of Christmas – the designated drivers who have to deal with the friends, family and colleagues who’ve had one too many drinks, and the cabbies who just want you out of their vehicle.

What better way to honour them than to share some of the situations they bravely battle, with the 12 types of drunk passengers that designated drivers may be faced with this year?

The one who doesn’t want the party to stop
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one who puts the world to rights
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN

The one who wants you to know how much you mean to them
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one with a bone to pick
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one who zonks out and leaves you lonely
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one who treats your cab like a takeaway
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one with an urgent pit stop request
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one who shows you what they had for dinner
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one who always knows the best route home
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one proudly wearing their themed onesie
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one you just want to get home in one piece
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN
The one who reveals things you just didn’t want to know
12_Drunk_Types_Stg5_EN

Today’s passengers

In an earlier post we looked at Victorian cab passengers and the prices charged in 1862. Today we come right up to date courtesy of The Taxi Centre who have compiled their annual survey of passenger’s attitudes, which are completely at odds with the Victorians, and prices customers are prepared to pay for today’s cab service.

Have you ever wondered whether the price you’re paying for a ride home is normal?

[W]hether your driver appreciates you whiling the miles away with chat about your cat, or if they’d prefer the strong silent type? If not leaving your driver a tip is fine, ‘cos, well, nobody tips in taxis, do they?

To be honest, probably not. But here at The Taxi Centre, we have, and we’ve decided to get to the bottom of things. We’ve surveyed taxi passengers from Dorset to Durham, to find out how and what they ride, how much they pay for the pleasure, how happy they are about it, and how polite they are in the process. Take a look at the results of our survey below.

Taxi-survey-1

We asked all respondents for to estimate the average fare they’d usually pay to travel one mile, including minimum fares. With those in the North and the Midlands paying on average more than a quid less per mile, it’s safe (and perhaps not surprising) to say that a North/South divide exists when it comes to taxi prices. Average prices down South were pushed up considerably by respondents from London, some of whom reported minimum fares of over £10!

Taxi-survey-2

Next up we asked our passengers which type of taxi they used most often: private hire; hackney cab; or Uber.

Whilst you might have expected private hire services to come out on top, perhaps a bit more surprising is Uber not yet available nationwide coming in second place.

It would be interesting to see how these stats would have fared up a couple of years ago before rideshare apps became so widely used. Would hackney cabs have had a wider share of the market, or would this gap have been closed by more people using private hire services?

Taxi-survey-3

A deeper look shows that the further South you go, the more likely taxi passengers are to rely on Uber. Around 30 per cent of Southerners said they used Uber most often, compared to just 14.58 per cent of those in the North.

Our older age range seemed more likely to use taxi apps too, with around 30 per cent of 18-34 year olds using Uber most often compared to 19 per cent of 34-54 year olds.

Taxi-survey-4

Despite – or perhaps because of – the bigger market share the app has in Southern cities, a definite North/South divide exists when it comes to getting an Uber.

It might be an attempt to drum up interest, or maybe those famously thrifty Yorkshire folk are simply unwilling to pay any more, but at around £2.50 Leeds currently has the lowest base fare in the country. That’s a good half of the base price that Londoners have to pay, which might explain our next stat.

Taxi-survey-5

We asked whether our passengers were happy with the price they usually pay for a cab, and the results we got pretty much mirror a pattern we’ve seen emerging. Unsurprisingly, where taxi prices are higher, passengers are least happy with the prices. Is it true that a quid really does go further in the North. Or, is it that the surge pricing typical of services like Uber is leaving those in the South less satisfied than Northerners?

Taxi-survey-6

This might be a bit of a shocking stat for drivers, but 93 per cent of those in the North said they usually provide a little something extra for their driver. And despite being the least satisfied with the fare, having to shell out most in the first place, and being more likely to use apps, 80 per cent of Southerners also said they provided a tip. Those in the Midlands were the least likely to say “keep the change”, but at 69 per cent we would still say they’re not exactly stingy.

Taxi-survey-7

With 85 per cent of Northerners saying they usually talk to their driver compared to 81 per cent in the Midlands and 63 per cent in the South, our survey seems to confirm two old clichés; the stuffy Southerner, and the Northerner who for better or worse will take up any opportunity wait to chew someone’s ear off.

Or, it could be that as 68 per cent of Northerners said they used local minicab services most often, those in the North might have simply got to know their drivers a bit better.

Our results also showed that the older spectrum of those surveyed are more likely to chat to their driver, with 81 per cent of 34-54 year olds saying they usually initiate conversation compared to 68 per cent of younger passengers. Women are also marginally less likely to spark up a chat, with only 67 per cent saying they talk to their driver compared to 85 per cent of men.

It’s also worth pointing that it’s hard to determine how many people are classing “been busy mate?” as a conversation.

Taxi-survey-8

Our respondents agreed pretty unanimously on their preferred seats, with just over half of all preferring to ride in the back. The only exception appears to be men, who at 55 per cent were the only group to slightly favour front seat riding.

Presumably, those riding up front are Northerners looking to get into ‘prime’ position to regale their life story.

Taxi-survey-9

As an aside, we asked our passengers about the most memorable thing to ever happen to them in a taxi. Unsurprisingly, most of the stories were half remembered drunken escapades.

However, amongst the tears, vomit, and stuntman antics, were two good Samaritans, nobly handing in forgotten valuables. We will say that people who frequently pocket found goods are perhaps less likely to brag about it when asked, although before doing this survey we’d have said the same about people who are liable to fall out of moving vehicles when seat-belted in with the doors closed.

So, there we have it, a little snapshot of England’s taxi users in 2016; embracing of new technologies, thrifty, invariably chatty, and more likely to tip (or lie about it) than you might think.

How to hail a cab like a local

How to hail a cab like a local . . . and some Seasonal advice for Londoners

You’ve arrived in London having spent weeks planning your itinerary: Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Madame Tussauds you want to see them all.

But how do you get around the capital? The best way to travel around London is by Tube.

[T]he simple diagrammatic map makes finding your way as easy as joining up the dots by following the coloured lines to your destination. Unfortunately years of neglect have taken its toll on the Tube’s infrastructure, with constant breakdowns and delays.

If you have to interrupt your tube journey (or not start it) you might consider using a bus. We have over 6,000 buses in London; in fact we devote whole traffic jams to their exclusive use. And don’t expect the drivers to give you information, they are trying to manoeuvre a very large vehicle through one of Europe’s most congested cities, they are not your tour manager.

If you have the courage, or possibly feel that life’s not worth living, London offers a free bike hire scheme, be warned though it’s not for the faint hearted. Alternatively your other choice is the iconic London black cab.

A word of caution here. It may look like a cab, it may sound like a cab, but as with many cities rogue taxis proliferate London. A genuine cab has a light marked TAXI on its roof, a FOR HIRE light on the driver’s nearside door and two licence plates one affixed to the rear of the vehicle and another inside the passenger compartment. The driver is also expected to be displaying his badge (a small oval green enamelled medallion). I cannot emphasise this enough, if in doubt walk away. Genuine cabbies will not stop you in the street asking if you “need a cab”.

So you are standing at the kerb, avoid standing at bus stops and pedestrian crossings (they have zigzag markings in the road), we value your custom but with a £120 fine, not that much.

Don’t try to emulate a scene from your favourite black and white film by shouting “TAXI” while simultaneously waving in a frantic fashion; this has the inverse effect on your chances of getting a cab.

If you have enjoyed an evening out tuck in your shirt, don’t try to balance food in one hand while raising the other to attract the cabbies attention and finish the last pint that your mate reluctantly bought you. In New York you aren’t allowed to consume alcohol on the street and you are not going to use my cab as the local hostelry.

Remember lampposts can only hold you vertically whilst you’re leaning on them, let go and you are likely to end up under the wheels of my 2½ tonne cab. They don’t stop like Formula One cars so don’t jump into the road to hail me; it will always end in tears. The last time a London cabbie missed a decent fare America was gaining its independence. When you see a cab approaching with his yellow TAXI roof light on just hold out your hand and look at the driver indicating that you’re in need of a cab and not just scratching your armpit.

London street hail etiquette demands that you converse with the driver before alighting using a slightly differential tone with an upward inflection in your voice in the manner of a question: “Will you take me to . . . ?” It’s as contrived as the Japanese tea ceremony, we are obliged to take you anywhere within 12 miles of Charing Cross by law, but it’s just Old World politeness.

We don’t need the location of major hotels or theatres, by giving the address is a sure fire way of telling us you’re on vacation. It takes four years to become a London cabbie we do know the location of the Ritz, its entrance is a side door in Arlington Street and not Piccadilly.

Don’t expect the cabbies to converse during the journey, it’s your space at the back we should respect your privacy. But if you do want a chat you have the opportunity to increase your appreciation of London.

London’s cabbies are famous for their wide ranging views. You can learn how the politicians of the day are incapable of running the country and that your driver could make a better job of it, or how to bake a Victoria sponge cake.

Seriously London cabbies are proud of their city, use the time on the journey for gaining an extra insight into London. It costs nothing to ask about the sights you are passing. The driver might give you advice on planning your itinerary, and importantly what tourist honey pots you need to avoid.

Don’t become abusive or call the driver a crook by taking “the long way round”. We can all make mistakes and most drivers will adjust the fare accordingly. No amount of shouting or threatening behaviour will get you to where you need to go, if fact no punter has reached his destination in my cab after that kind of altercation.

Well, you’ve reached your destination; the price of the fare is indicated on the meter visible above the driver. But what to tip? Regular users of cabs usually round the payment up to the nearest £1 or £2; approximately 10 per cent is the norm. But if you think the service was exemplary . . .

Next year in London promises to an exceptional time. In May the Mayoral elections come up so will the flamboyant incumbent – Boris – still be in charge? In early June our Queen celebrates her diamond jubilee marking 60 years on the throne. Celebrations include a river pageant and all the pomp and ceremony in which England excels. And in August London hosts the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games. Tickets are already sold out for the Olympic Games but London is staging the largest cultural event ever to run at the same time.

See you in London next year.

Street hail etiquette

[Y]ou can always tell the regulars; standing prominently by the side of the road, arm outstretched and – here’s the vital part – telling the driver BEFORE they get in the destination and as an aide-mémoire the approximate London area.

I’ve talked in the past to the person at the destination address via my fare’s phone; read the address from their mobile; but recently – courtesy of Steve Jobs – I was shown a photo on his
i-phone of the destination, that wasn’t on The Knowledge being given a selection of photographs and then trying to identify the location.

If the fare needs to return to his hotel, in past years that wasn’t a problem, each hotel had an individual character. At the Carlton Hotel (incidentally Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh was employed there to wash up) guests would be given their room key, and thoughtfully attached to it was a fob, the size of a butcher’s chopping block – but crucially the unique name of the hotel was impressed upon it.

Now most hotels are owned by a global brand and the plastic keys are emblazoned with say Holiday Inn and little else (apart from the one phone number you need to book worldwide), try taking non-English speaking tourists to the right hotel with that amount of information.

One lady recently showed me the telephone list from her room, clearly thinking it had the hotel’s address upon it. If I had only known which hotel I could have booked awake up call and ordered breakfast.

Americans renowned for ‘doing Europe in a fortnight’ just about know what city they are in – red buses, black cabs, hey this must be London.

Asked once by a group who had just made a trans-Atlantic crossing:

“Marriott please”

Which Marriott?

“Well, the London Marriott, we are in London aren’t we?”

There are at the time of writing, but not necessary of reading – hotels spring up like mushrooms – 13 Marriott hotels in London.

On pointing this out a rather entertaining, if unprofitable, question and answer ensued:

What can you see from the hotel’s entrance; is the traffic one-way; does it have flower pots opposite the door; what is the name of the doorman?

My all time favourite and this has happened on numerous occasions, a group will get in without so much as a glance at the driver. After a short period – presumably they think I can read minds like Darren Brown – I’m asked to drive on. “When you tell me the destination, I’ll get right on it.