Jono’s post about taxi cabs and close calls with death reminded me of how little hassle I’ve usually had with cab drivers.
I usually chat away to cabbies, and tip pretty generously on most occasions, but one guy in San Francisco took the biscuit, and didn’t get tipped. Or chatted to, as I was giving him directions.
I had to go 8 blocks from Clay to Green carrying a load of crap in plastic bags, so thought “fuck it, cab”. There was one across from the hotel. “Battery and Green”, I’d asked. “Do you know how to get there?” he replied? I thought he was implying it wasn’t that far, or did I know where I was going? Nah, he was asking because he didn’t bloody know where it was. Then, when I gently discussed how cabbies in the UK have to do The Knowledge before they’re let loose on the streets, he told me that that was “not true, they can just go out and drive like here”. Hey, don’t mind me, I only bloody live there. I ended up having to guide this guy to the destination as, by his own admission, he’d only been working for two days, including that one.
Then there was the private cab driver who, on taking me from Chelmsford town centre to Stansted Airport on a Friday afternoon, seemed to be dominating the conversation. He was basically chatting me up. He even broke my cardinal rule, which is when taking a cab for work travel, expense the bare fare, but pay with a tip. That way, the tip comes out of my own pocket. But nooooo, this guy threw an extra fiver on the receipt. “There you go, mate, something back for yourself”. Brrrrrr. I took a meal off my expenses that week to counter it.
The Knowledge is just London.
You’re right, but other areas test their prospective cabs knowledge of their routes, just not as rigorously as London does, and of course “The Knowledge” is only for London. Thanks for reminding me 🙂
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