Back with a one off Q&A, this week we have had the pleasure of talking to Richard from Tooting.
Richard was a co founder of Tweet a London Cab (TLC) @blackcab from which, has part helped us (London Corporate Cabs) form as it is was the first time we met through this platform. It also led to other avenues for Cab drivers such as the TLC Golf Society which has gone onto & continues to be one of the most successful golf societies in the country. Also a TLC Cycling group that meet regularly for rides & participate in many events which has proved be very popular. Contrary to belief cabbies & cyclists do get along!
I think it's safe to say we all owe a great amount of thanks to Richard, a forward thinking & innovative cab driver.
Below is Richards view on life as a London cab driver, we hope you enjoy
1. Why did you become a London Taxi driver ?
Nobody else would employ me! Which isn’t far from the truth, after trying many other things (see next question) I was bored and couldn’t stand working in an office any more, so doing the knowledge seemed the best way out.
2. What did you do before you became a Taxi driver ?
Like most drivers I’ve had a varied pre cab driving career, ranging from the Probation Service to Back Office Support for sales teams. And yes, back office support is about as dull as it sounds.
3. What do you love most about London ?
Early mornings. Most weekends I get out of the house early and do a few hours work and love to see the City wake up.
4. What do you most dislike about London ?
5. Are you a day man or night man reason why ?
I’m mainly a day man. I tried to do nights but it didn’t really suit me, my patience with punters who’d had a drink would wear very thin, very quickly.
6. What is your favourite place or view ?
Favourite place in London is St Paul’s Cathedral and it also has my favourite view if you can cope with the climb up the stairs. I’m not religious but I always feel calm around that building.
7. Have you got an interesting fact about London that others may not know ?
I’ll take this opportunity to talk about my 2 favourite subjects, London and The Beatles. When they first came to London to try and get a recording deal they stayed in the Sloane Square Hotel and that makes me happy when I rank up at Sloane Square. They also played at the Granada Cinema in Tooting (where I live) and stayed in digs just round the corner. This also pleases me hugely.
8. Who's the most famous passenger you've had in your Taxi ?
Dustin Hoffman. It was only a very short journey, from Knightsbridge to the Milestone Hotel, and he was listening to music through headphones so there was no chance to chat. But I did get an autograph from him for my wife, signed on a taxi receipt of course!
9. Have you got an interesting story about a passenger or job you've done ?
Had a mixture of interesting requests from punters (not THOSE kinds) including “I must find cakes” & “I need the nearest second hand record shop”. But most interesting was the young lady who informed me that the only reason she hailed my cab (from Piccadilly to Shaftesbury Ave) was so she could get changed from her work clothes. I concentrated very hard on the road in front of me, honest.
10. What tips would you give to a tourist ?
You can do a lot in London for free. My favourite freebies are the Sir John Soanes Museum (not open on Mondays!) and the Hunterian Museum, both in Lincolns Inn Fields.