The night we found William and his Whistle – Black Cab friendly doorman

It was a quite night for the cab trade on Thursday 21st January, hire lights on everywhere. I was sitting behind a long queue of cabs that had formed a rank on Haymarket outside the theatre. A Tweet came through from one the @tweetalondoncab driver’s @Lee_Tax. He said he was unable to get on the licensed London Taxi rank outside restaurant (which I will call Q) Q due to minscabs parked on it waiting for fares.

I tweeted back telling @Lee_Tax I was on my way. Two minutes later I was at restaurant Q – @lee_Tax had already got a job so was gone. I found 3 Miniscabs parked up waiting on the Taxi Rank so I got out of the taxi to ask them to move. No response. So I took some photos – The miniscab that was parked 3rd said he would move but only after I had taken the photo but as far as I was concerned I wasn’t about to pull in 3rd behind 2 miniscabs on a Licensed London Taxi Rank.


I pulled up to the door of restaurant Q and spoke with the doorman – I explained that it is illegal for miniscabs to wait on the rank. He was very nice and said he didn’t know anything about them and as to why they were waiting there. At that point a car came along so I had to pull off as it was a narrow one way street. I went around to Nobu and ranked there – I send tweets with the photos of the miniscabs and some details. All of a sudden the @tweetalondoncab driver’s started tweeting saying they were ranking at restaurant Q. The miniscabs had now gone from the rank and they were using it. The doorman was blowing his whistle when a restaurant guest wanted a cab. The rank was moving at a very fast rate. Those that got a local job tweeted that they were going back. The work was flying out of there. I think everyone that wanted a Taxi from that restaurant on that night got into a Black Taxi from the rank. Elsewhere around W1 other Taxi’s all had their Hire Lights on. It seemed @tweetalondoncab drivers cleaned up.

Friday was a slow night once more. So I headed to restaurant Q at around 9:30pm. The doorman waved as he recognised me from the night before. We had a chat and he told me his name was William and that he had been moving the miniscabs off our rank for us all last night. He also said that usually if a punter wants a cab either restaurant Q call a local miniscab firm and the punter waiting 10 or 15 minutes or he has to talk a few streets onto a main road to whistle in a Black Taxi. So us ranking at restaurant Q was a win win situation. The drivers from @tweetalondoncab continued to rank at restaurant Q all night once again cleaning up. William blew his whistle – and soon became known as Willy the Whistle. Not only was everyone busy work wise but it turned out to be a good place for drivers to meet and have a quick chat.

So that’s how the first @tweetalondoncab rank was born.

By Dawn Cooper

7 Responses to “The night we found William and his Whistle – Black Cab friendly doorman”

  1. Cabbydavid says:

    Well done lee and dawn. (in no particar order) once you get Q established I have found a restaurent C that needs work 

  2. steve says:

    What a great storey Dawn, it just goes to show what can be done when drivers put their heads together, we are really taking back all our work.

  3. Adam G says:

    So if this restaurant needs a Taxi service, tell us all where it is so that we can provide one.

    Or is this yet another LTDF / RMT / LTDA / TWITTER secret?

    And what happens when the 70 tweet drivers can’t cover it at 2am on a busy weekend night?

    The Minicabs return, just like the disused rank at Jalouse has gone back to them after the initial interest.

  4. steve says:

    Hi Adam this restaurant is being serviced, yes by drivers from twitter. If you want a piece of the action join Twitter its a simple as that. We don’t pretend that we can always be where we are needed, in a perfect world that might be the case. One thing I can tell you is that we are doing our best to give these restaurants and clubs a service they so desire. We have let them down over the past years granted, but thats no reason why we shouldn’t do something about it now.
    When the time comes when there is more work on the streets, we won’t be able to service these places, neither will the minicabs.
    It is not possible to give a service to everyone at an instant when we are busy.
    One thing I will tell you is that we are doing our best, we won’t forget these restaurants when it gets busy, they will understand that.

    At least we are doing something what are you doing ?

  5. Adam G says:

    I work nights 5 nights a week, what else would you like me to do FFS? Its more than the majority do, and when the doorman at Quaglinos changes like they did a few years ago, will you grease the hand like the scabs will? No, but thats how the doors work, twittering won’t change that mate.

    Do you seriously think every driver, has the ability to start up twitter applications or download platforms for their phones? Lol, get real, the majority of drivers including me just about know how to make a phone call or send a text, you’re missing the point, if you have a venue which needs servicing, and you want taxis to serve it, tell everyone on the blog, stop this bollox and secrecy, otherwise the scabs will just move back when your 70 drivers are spearheading some other ’cause’.

    I’ll once again point out Jalouse and Little Argyle St, look at them, forgotten and infested once more.

  6. steve says:

    Adam it’s not exactly rocket science to work out which clubs and restaurants need servicing, you say you work nights so why don’t you already know where to go ?

    We wearn’t hiding any information from anyone and besides you seemed to have worked it out already and it’s not me who’s missing the point.You don’t have to have a phone or be on Twitter, I was just making a point that it would be easier if you did.

    All our clubs and restaurants need servicing, you might not be able to use Twitter but you have access to the internet, why not log on to the LTDF ( London taxi drivers forum ) from there you can be better informed and baybe tell them about clubs that are not getting a good service.
    It’s not just about drivers on Twitter it’s about every London taxi driver, i’m not accusing you but there are a lot of drivers who drive around aimlessly night after night.

    Myself and all the drivers on Twitter rank up outside these venues and watch drivers passing and not joining in. We wan’t drivers like yourself to join in.Then spread the word. If you already log into the LTDF then you would already know whats going on.

    If you want a piece of the action rank up, not just outside Quaglinos but any of our clubs and restaurants.

    To log on to the LTDF click on the link on the left hand side of this blog.

  7. As a previous poster says, all it will take is a change of doorman, which seems to happen every few weeks and Bobs your uncle, the scabs will be back with cars being ‘booked’ at the table.

    Quaglinos has been bent for years, I can’t see it changing with this, be nice if it did.
    It’s the same at Hotels, the job goes to those who pay the most.

    The other guys also correct about this tweet / twitter thing, the majority of cabbies aren’t exactly technicaly minded, the majority seem to be over 70.

Leave a Reply


Switch to our mobile site