robert de niro, taxi driver, taxi, cab, driver

We want happy cabbies

I spend most of my disposable (ha!) income on cabs and have a lingering tendresse for black cabs; one that is rooted in nostalgia and sentiment. Rather than reality for the sole reason that – until last night – every time I have taken a black cab for the last year or so, the cab driver has been stony-faced. He’s refused to look at me when I’ve given him the destination address, dourly written my receipt and sped off the starting block when he’s dropped me off, even when I was in high heels on my slightly-dodgy street at 2am. The cabbies in my sepia-tinted, Vaseline-smeared rear-view mirror would have waited until I got safely inside. I put my 73 year-old mother in a black cab to the airport the other day. Did he help her with her vast suitcase? No. Nothing.

And apart from the grim reaper aspect, there is the actual bubbling fury. The screeching to a halt and never letting anyone in and muttering and generally making their discontent felt. This is a service industry (also please take note vile check-in staff with your sour faces and lack of eye contact and fake bun things). Yes there are cycle lanes and taxes and a lot of worry and disrespect but we all feel it. It’s tough for everyone. Brutal. We’re all under threat. Not just cabbies. If I want a sense of moody danger I’ll take an Uber for a fraction of the price.

Then last night I hailed and hopped in a cab in the West End and was greeted by pure, old school cabby sunshine. And you know what? It made my night. I’m not asking for a pearly king every time I need to get to St. Pancras but buck up guys. We want to take black cabs. We’d pay a bit extra. But with this attitude, the cost is too high…

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