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Q&A Mike from Essex

Why did you become a London Taxi driver?

I graduated from university still not having any idea what sort of job I wanted to do, got talking to a taxi driver I knew, and he inadvertently talked me into it - the ability to choose your own hours is what sold it to me!


2. What did you do before you became a Taxi driver?

I studied for 21 years! Being a taxi driver is my first full-time job, I went from school and university straight to the Knowledge. With it being such a daunting task, I decided if I was going to study the Knowledge, it was best to do it earlier rather than later in life, while my brain was still in learning mode.

3. What do you love most about London?

The variety. Wherever you are, you're surrounded by drastically different areas, and the same goes for the people. 'Cosmopolitan' is a word that gets bandied around too easily, but there really is no other word to describe London.

4. What do you most dislike about London?

The traffic. For all its merits, London suffers from its roads being badly managed. Too many road closures aren't co-ordinated with each other, leading to all-too-regular gridlock. Fortunately us taxi drivers have access to bus lanes and know London inside out, so if you're going to beat the traffic, it will be with us!

5. Are you a day man or night man reason why?

I work the afternoons and evenings. I like that I get to see my wife and baby in the mornings, and that the traffic generally gets better the later into my shift I get.

6. What is your favourite place or view?

My favourite view is from the top of Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath. The surroundings trick you into thinking you're not in London, with how green and peaceful it all is. But along with that comes an amazing panoramic view of the city skyline, which again highlights the multifarious nature of London.

7. Have you got an interesting fact about London that others may not know?

The statue of George Washington in Trafalgar Square stands on grass specially imported from America, after he once declared he would 'never set foot on British soil again'.

8. Who's the most famous passenger you've had in your Taxi?

Either Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page or Harry Shearer - perhaps not a household name himself, but much more widely known as Mr Burns, Ned Flanders and many other characters in The Simpsons.

9. What tips would you give to a tourist?

There's lots more to London than just the obvious areas of Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, etc. Areas like Hamsptead, Notting Hill and Borough all have their own things to offer, and are well worth a visit. Ask your taxi driver for advice on where to go! Also, if you want to visit places in the financial district like St Paul's or the Monument, do it at the weekend when the office workers are off and it is nice and quiet.

10. Have you got an interesting story about a passenger or job you've done?

Not really a story about a passenger or job as such, but I can't help but think of the fact that I met my wife because of being a taxi driver. She was studying the Knowledge, we followed each other on Twitter because of that, we got chatting, eventually met up (in the back of my taxi), and we're now happily married with a lovely little baby boy! Who needs Tinder?!