London Lantern

Putting the Spotlight on London

We All Love London Taxi Drivers

25/06/2001, By Josie Allison

Reader Rating: 2.9 from 17027 votes

My name is Josie and I live in Southern California, USA but I love London, I think it's a wonderful city. I enjoy reading all the articles in the London Lantern every month as they keep me up to date with what is happening there. I particularly like the new links you have included about the Hotels and the Stately Homes; it was a very good idea.

I thought your article about the London Taxi drivers was very interesting. I have a few friends in London who are Black taxi drivers and I have forwarded this issue of the London Lantern to the editor of Call Sign Magazine, the in-house magazine for Dial-a-Cab, one of the major Black Taxis companies in London who is a personal friend of mine. I know he will enjoy reading it and find your article very interesting as I have.

I adore London cabbies as well, I think they are unique; you don't find cabbies like that anywhere in the US. I have to agree that passing "The Knowledge" test after three years of studying, as all the black taxi drivers must do, is what makes the big difference there.

Keep up the good work and I'm looking forward to reading the next month's issue of London Lantern.

Josie Allison

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Re: We All Love London Taxi Drivers

By Heather Walters 02/07/2001, (Rating: 2.9 from 15851 votes)

First of all let me start by saying that I always enjoy the London Lantern. I have been in love with England for 10 years now and travel from the states to London at least 2-3 times a year. I always take a lot of taxi's while there and in the past have always enjoyed them and experianced no problems at all - that is until recently. Last Spring I took a taxi upon my arrival in London. I was suppossed to be dropped in front of my friend's flat and in turn the car stopped 1 1/2 blocks from thier doorstep. It had started raining and I was very tired and the taxi driver argued with me and told me to walk. He never offered to help me with all my luggage and before I stepped out I handed him the fare (expecting change, since the fare was about 11 pounds and I gave him a 20 pound note) Well, upon pulling out my final bag I shut the door to walk up to the window and before I got there he drove away! I was so mad and even called to see if I could find out who he was and if I could get my change. I was told to, "be more careful" next time. Later on in my stay I took a taxi one night and when I told the driver where I was going he insisted that I couldn't be going there because I gave him an address of a flat and I was American. He must have asked me five times if I was confused and really wanted the local college or hotel. How frustrating! The final straw came two months ago on my most recent visit. I arrived into Liverpool street station to pick up a taxi. When I told the driver where I needed to go he said I should get back on the tube cause the taxi ride would take at least an hour. Well, I insisted that he drive. In fact, the journey took at most 15 minutes and I had to sit in the back giving HIM directions with my A-Z. And finally later on that week, I left a night club around 3am and proceeded to catch a taxi. I was headed to a friend's flat and only knew the address. The whole way there the driver yelled at me cause I didn't know how to tell him to get there. At one point, he even stopped the taxi and told me to get out and walk! A young woman alone at 3am. I don't hink so. He proceeded to drive in circles yelling at me that I was a stupid American until I made him stop at the local police station. The officer there gave him directions and I finally arrived at my friends around 4am (coming from a club 10 minutes away) Needless to say, I was very shaken and upset after this incident. Once again, I will be in London in August and I will severly think twice before taking a taxi. They have completly jaded me and I don't trust them at all. I will not let them take advantage of me again because they think I am a stupid tourist. In actuality, I know that city better then the one I was born and raised in. Basically, all you black taxi cab drivers - I dare you to take me for another ride!

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Re: We All Love London Taxi Drivers

By Richard, 7th Earl of Bradford 13/07/2001, (Rating: 2.9 from 15829 votes)

Obviously I was disappointed to get Heather's response to the piece about London taxi drivers; I might have expected that with mini-cab drivers but not with black cab drivers.

The answer though is, if you ever have any problems, take the registered number of the taxi, and report the driver to the Licensed Taxi Office. Your complaint will be taken very seriously.

Fortunately her sad experiences run contra to those of most people.

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Re: We All Love London Taxi Drivers

By Cyril Collins - ex London Black Cab Driver. 01/04/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 15572 votes)

Frankly, I am very, very sceptical about this article. Yes, it certainly is possible to find a jerk of a "Black" cab driver - but excedingly rare to do so. I'm willing to bet that several of these "taxis" were either UN-licenced black cabs or mini-cabs. In any event, the answer is very simple. If you are in a real "Black" cab, the cab's licence number is clearly on display in the passenger compartment. Make a note of this (number) as soon as you get in and settle down. In the event of any problem, report the fact to the nearest Police Station - you will get a quick response to your complaint. If your ride was in a minicab - The best of British good luck to You.

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Repeated posting

By Cyril Collins - ex London Black Cab Driver. 01/04/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 15562 votes)

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Re: We All Love London Taxi Drivers

By Cyril Collins - ex London Black Cab Driver. 02/09/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 15324 votes)

We are sorry to learn of your recent unfortunate exeriences in Londond Cabs. Apart from being an ex-Black Cab Driver, I'm also frequenty in touch with "TAXI" the Taxi Trade's only major Newspaper - in fact I also happen to one of their "official" correspondents. The point almost for sureis; that although you thought you were entering a LICENED "Black Cab" - but was it in fact a PROPERLY LICENCED BLACK CAB ? ? ? Did you actually see the "Hackney Carriage Plates" inside the Passenger Compartment - and also attached to the rear of the vehicle ? There are numerous - and I do mean numerous UNLICENCED vehicles (gypsies, pirates etc.) "touting" - especially in central and suburban London. Why didn't you note either of the cab's licence plate numbers so prominently displayed on the rear of the vehicle - as it drove away - placed there for that very purpose - and immediately report the facts to any convenient Police Station OR the PCO (Public Carriage Office)? You certainly would have received prompt action had the cabs in question been duly licenced. There's an extremely high probability that some of the vehicles in question were UNLICENCED "minicabs" but some (aka miniscabs)sometime use actual (old and not fit for Taxi service)ex London Black Cabs time perporting to be "Black Cabs" with their associated "touts" Please feel free to contact me at: Best Wishes

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