1. Why did you become a London Taxi driver ?
My Dad used to work in Fleet Street & I remember as a kid he would occasionally take me up to The Daily Express & we'd always get a cab from the station. I always loved that bit & was in ore of these guys who seemed to know every backstreet & shortcut, I adored their shiny black cabs. My dad always said to us kids, "if you ever get lost in London try to find a policeman, if you can't find a policeman, find a Black cab driver, they'll always help you out." (Even today, some celebrities & public figures refer to us as "London's second police force"). So when the time came, I couldn't think of anything else I'd rather be.
2. What did you do before you became a Taxi driver ?
Radio Presenter. Not big radio stations, but smaller, local ones. I still don the headphone's once a week on an internet based radio station now. Like to keep my hand in, you just never know when that overnight success might turn up? :-)
3. What do you love most about London ?
Its diversity & the fact that no matter what you want, at whatever time you want it, you can pretty much find it.
4. What do you most dislike about London ?
The traffic! Thank the Lord (well, actually ex-Mayor Ken Livingstone:-), we can use bus lanes!
5. Are you a day man or night man reason why ?
Mainly a day man. Largely due to my wife's working pattern. She travels with work a lot, so when she's at home, I like to be there too. That's the best thing about this job.... The flexibility.
6. What is your favourite place or view ?
Crossing Waterloo Bridge either day or night. It's right on a big sweeping bend on the River Thames & doesn't matter which way you look, the view is amazing!
7. Have you got an interesting fact about London that others may not know ?
At 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens, just off Bayswater Road, there is a ventilation shaft for the Central Line tube which meant there was a slightly unsightly gap in-between two houses. Residents in the area complained to the train company at the time and they built a façade that looks exactly like the houses either side. It's very difficult to spot from the street, but if you look very carefully, you can see that one house hasn't got "real windows" or a letter box. image1.JPG
8. Who's the most famous passenger you've had in your Taxi ?
Roger Daltry of The Who. What an absolute legend! Such a nice, down-to-earth Londoner, who hasn't let fame & fortune affect him too much. We chatted the entire journey about all sorts of things.
8. Have you got an interesting story about a passenger or job you've done ?
Yes, but what happens in a cab, stays in a cab!
What never ceases to amaze me is the trust that people put in us cabbies.
I've been hailed to pick up Dad & 2 kids, given destination as a school several miles away, the door opens & closes & off we go. It's only when halfway there that I realise Dad isn't coming with us! He's entrusted the safety of his 6 & 7 year old to a London cabbie.
Or there's the flustered street hail in the City, where a hand comes through the window with a bunch of keys, an address on a piece of paper and wad of cash in it, accompanied by the phrase "Can you get these house keys to this address ASAP? My husband/wife has Locke themselves out!" They never take your name, registration number or anything, and the house is usually miles away! It genuinely warms my heart that Londoners put that level of trust in me & my fellow cabbies.
9. What tips would you give to a tourist ?
About 10% :-)
Seriously, ALWAYS use a Licensed London taxi (Black cab). If you see the glowing Orange light, just stick your hand up and away you go. Safe in the knowledge that you'll get a fully trained professional driver in a thoroughly checked, purpose built taxi..... The only one in the world!