Just in one day so many things can happen to the Taxi Driver.

London cabbie Simco

My Saturday started at 10.00pm at the tea stall on Putney Heath.
Of lately, when I get into my cab I immediately become a warrior. Rather than going to work to earn the living I go to fight the touts. The normal night work doesn’t exist anymore.

At the tea stall I met 3 regular cab drivers 1 yellow and 2 greens. None have any desire to know what is happening to the Taxi Trade. No other interests just the usual moan that the game is finished. I managed to get a promise from one of the greens to support in person THE DEMO on 17th Nov.

My first job took me to Thai Square in Lower Richmond Road.
I parked myself outside watching CBJ and several scabs parked outside. CBJ was making himself busy hustling people for the ‘Taxi’.
After he loaded couple into a ‘car’, I went into the restaurant to see the manager. The best I managed was to talk to the head of security, a man named John.
In this restaurant they haven’t got Operators License. The setup is that CBJ is standing in the entrance and everybody leaving this restaurant it refereed to him for the Taxi. The booking is taken onto a clipboard and punter put into a waiting car.
The security man said it saves them phone call money to minicab office.
When I explained to them that this setup is illegal and can have serious ramifications for the restaurant in case of an accident and them being a party to providing an uninsured car, the security thought that this arrangement WAS a good idea, better than phoning for the minicab.
He also said that the CBJ was arrested lately by Safer Transport Police and taken in handcuffs to Battersea Police Station. He was back in 2 hours and continue doing the same with apparently the blessing of the Police.
All this spoiled the start of my night shift.

An hour later I dropped some people at Oval and after getting paid I noticed that one was still inside. He asked me to take him to Elephant&Castle. After moving off I thought that he was not one of the group and had a feeling he was ‘a wrong one’. I asked him for money which he didn’t have. I insisted to stop at nearest cash point in Kennington Road. Fair enough, as soon as I stopped he run off leaving the door open. I knew it was going to happen.
Almost immediately some other fellow jumped into the taxi, shut the door and lay down on the floor. “Just drive boss, drive”. I am thinking to myself that there will be some gangland shootout any moment, instead I see Police Panda car drive around the corner and slow down eying my taxi. I wind down the window and they stop next to me. I know they are looking for this bloke and they know he is in my taxi. It was telepathy.
The Policemen came out and went to both sides of my taxi and one opened the door and dragged the bloke from taxi floor to the road and handcuffed him. One said to me that they don’t need me no more and I drove off. With me there it would be another form to fill, too much paperwork.

All through the night I seemed to fight THE touts EVERYWHERE. Typical night in London.

Picked up a nice sober lady in the strand to Streatham. I was in the traffic and the passenger of the taxi next to me leaned out of the window and was sick all over my cab and my cab window. Luckily it was closed. My passenger started retching, shouting for me to stop. I was jammed between taxi and the bus. All I could do was to open the window on the bus side. She started retching out of my window. Now I had sick on both sides of my taxi and only one bottle of Evian. I cleaned the windows on the Embankment and sat with her on the bench for a while taking fresh air. Finished the job to Streatham.

More arguments with the touts everywhere and thinking to myself that everything must change. All is crap.

Stopped for punter at the bottom of Finborough Road outside the club K something or other. “How much to Wandsworth Old Town? Will it be less than £15. Yes mate. £12 for you.” The f*cking CBJ calls out that one driver offers to do it for £10.
I came out and demanded to know where in the club is exhibited his Operators License. CBJ says that it is in his boss’s office somewhere else and he shows me clipped to his clipboard photocopy of some license. Couldn’t read it anyway as a tall skinny bouncer kept swearing at me nonstop. I had to withdraw after assuring them that I will deal with this through proper channels. Some of the punters were giving me cheers. I wasn’t happy with the state of arrangements as licensed by the PCO.

This is my usual days work for more years that I can now care to remember.

When will London Cab Trade become once again proud and respected profession?

Storie by Simco
London Cabbie

published by Legalledoff

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