Wednesday, October 31
Sunday, October 28
Mmm wonder why, I thought as I drove off.
Saturday, October 27
Friday, October 26
Well it looks as if at long last that new safety rules are to be brought in to govern the hundreds of pedicabs touting for hire in London. After concerns were voiced that the rapid growth of the bicycle rickshaws - there are now about 600 - is putting people at risk. Even though they carry passengers, the pedicabs are classed as and have the same legal status as bicycles. Believe it or not drivers do not have to be licensed, or even have insurance. The rules are being proposed as part of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Bill, which will be presented in Parliament on 27 November. It would enable councils to serve fixed penalty notices for parking on yellow lines, jumping red lights or driving in bus lanes. The move comes after a string of accidents involving pedicabs. In one, a passenger was thrown out and knocked unconscious. In another, a pedicab overturned after a collision with a bus. It also follows two weekends of action last month by police and Westminster council, which led to seven arrests and 43 warnings.
A Westminster councillor said: "We have been lobbying the Government for some time for further powers to help us tackle rogue pedicab operators, but we do need more weapons... to deal with them before somebody is killed." TfL's Public Carriage Office said a planned licensing scheme would become mandatory if the High Court declared pedicabs a type of hackney carriage. A spokesman for London Pedicabs, said: "We welcome the new rules but we do need to have allocated parking space and ranks." What a cheek eh! they don't want to pay for licenses and have police checks like cab drivers but they want all the benefits. Some pedicab riders are against the plans. One said: "It just feels like they are trying to choke us out of business. Clubbers and tourists love us."
Tuesday, October 23
Monday, October 22
But the fool of the week must go to the aggressive young guy on our local Asda car park. He was involved in a minor bump between a car and van. It seems that as the other folk involved were female he had no one to take out his anger on. I was amused when he suddenly decided to vent his temper on the solid steel van. He ran to the front and kicked the bumper and then landed a punch on the bonnet. Ouch!
Saturday, October 20
Next up was a sad faced man who got into the cab and gave his address and slumped back with a weary sigh. "Tired are you?" I asked to which he just sighed again and shrugged his shoulders. Some folk just don't want to talk and so I gave up and drove on in silence, apart from the odd sigh from Mr Happy. When we pulled up outside his house he handed me the fare without a word and got out of the cab. I was about to gratefully drive off when he opened the cab door again and leaned in. "You're born alone and you die alone, so don't stop and wait for anybody" he said with a knowing look. "Yes OK" I relied sombrely and drove away with a heavy heart.
Needless to say if I come across either of these characters in a pub at any time I shall hurriedly leave.
Tuesday, October 16
Lol who is a big country and western fan is one of our more colourful local taxi drivers. His cab sports a sticker on the rear which he bought on his travels to Australia. It says "Driver carries no cash, He's Married." Well as they say "many a true word spoke in jest." Every time I see the sign I'm reminded of a now departed local taxi driver who had a bad case of bookie constipation , "he just couldn't pass one." It got so bad that his wife made him go home up to four times a day to give her any money that he had made, in case he gave in to temptation.
Now we have it in writing officially, it seems that we can look forward to a 20MPH speed limit in every urban area and hundreds of extra speed cameras, so says an influential road safety group.
It also calls for a huge blitz on drivers more likely to cause accidents - such as "fat drivers who are prone to nodding off and elderly drivers who may no longer be safe behind the wheel."
The biggest impediment to dropping the speed limits and expanding the 20mph network is that, at present, standard cameras are not type-approved to enforce limits below 30mph," it says.
Traffic humps and chicanes are used instead but are unpopular, expensive, cause problems for emergency vehicles and add to emissions. (You can say that again)
"Time-over-distance cameras offer an effective alternative enforcement tool," it concludes.
A camera blitz on speeding must be accompanied by a war on motorists' dangerous lifestyles - with the very fat, the very old, and the very young to be targeted, adds the report.
The report says "sedentary lifestyles” make drivers more prone to an accident.
On the problem of older drivers it notes:” The
The report, called Beyond 2010 - a holistic approach to road safety in
Sunday, October 14
Saturday, October 13
The man was handed the penalty after a council officer in Oldham saw him smoking a cigarette in his private hire taxi while parked in Rochdale Road. There were no passengers in his cab at the time, but this of course makes no difference.
The new laws make it an offence to light up in any workplace at any time - this includes taxis and private hire vehicles.
The purpose is to protect members of the public against the effects of second-hand smoke.
Some taxi drivers in Scotland have been fined after flouting smoke-free legislation, but this is thought to be the first case in England since the ban was introduced on July 1.
This leaves me wondering just how long it will be before they start getting tough on smoky drivers up here in Barrow.
Thursday, October 11
Lots of Barrow folk moan about the local bus service, mainly when the bus is running late and they end up getting wet. They should thank their lucky stars that we don't have the same bus system that the poor folks in Delhi have to suffer. Owners of the 4.500 privately owned Blueline buses rent them out to drivers, just as they would a taxi. This means that the drivers are paid according to how many passengers they pick up, thus encouraging them to speed. As a result, 334 people were killed in the past three years. The toll so far this year stands at 96. . This has led to intense competition, with buses racing each other to the next bus stop. In the worst recent case on Sunday seven were killed and eight injured when a bus lost control when trying to force past a rival bus and crashing into a bus shelter. Police had to use teargas to disperse an angry crowd of 3000 that wrecked the vehicle and beat up the driver. On Tuesday, police had to intervene again when a crowd attacked a Blueline bus that had killed a motorcyclist. Three hours later, another Blueline killed a Pizza Hut delivery boy.
“What can we do?” said passenger Ranjit Das-gupta, 33. “You want to get to work on time, but is it worth risking your life?” Mmm maybe our buses aren't that bad after all then.
Wednesday, October 10
Three pedestrians are the latest victims when a driver shot them from his car after complaining that they were walking too slowly on a zebra crossing in the city.
Witnesses said that the driver shouted at the pedestrians to get out of his way, then pulled out a pistol and shot them when they ignored him. Two were shot in the chest and another his arm and leg. The driver sped away but police later arrested an Azerbaijani man in connection with the shooting. The incident is the second in two weeks in which people have been shot by motorists in Moscow.
Locals are outraged about the serious escalation of road rage in this congested city, where drivers daily suffer two-hour traffic jams. Pravda, one of Russia’s popular newspapers, commented: “Stupidly, disgustingly, a real war on the streets of Moscow is continuing.”
Russia’s roads are already dangerous, mainly because drivers can pay a bribe to acquire their licence instead of having to pass a test.
Personally I think it's a bit harsh shooting slow pedestrians like that, a good jolt with a tazer would be much more civilized.
Tuesday, October 9
Well the recent increase in the age that folk can legally buy cigarettes, up from 16 to 18 doesn't seem to be having much affect. Three young uns of 14 or 15 were telling me in the cab on the way to school this morning about how they are getting round the new rules. Gangs of the more enterprising of the little dears are pooling their cash and buying their supplies in bulk from the local tobacco smugglers. They are then sold in lots of five or even individually at a good profit. Worse thing is that they tell me that it's actually the parents of some of the kids who are the suppliers. The so called responsible adults are buying the fags whilst on holiday and then selling them at a profit to any one who has the cash.
Sunday, October 7
Thursday, October 4
Tuesday, October 2
Then the day ended with me falling for a classic sucker manoeuvre. My fare a young lass had a load of stuff to go in the boot, tins of paint and lots of bags. When the boot was stuffed full she said "right I'll just go and get my puppy you don't mind do you?" I of course thinking of a cute little ball of fluff said "yes OK no problem." It was of course a big problem and too late when I saw her dragging the uncontrollable 13st (180lb) Rottweiler onto my nice clean back seats. Vainly trying to stop it slavering over the upholstery she grinned and said "big for a puppy innit," Grr that was my day over with, I had to then go and clean the car out.
Still even this pales into insignificance when compared with the tale of bare faced cheek inflicted on another local cabbie. He had picked up a couple with an ancient long hared Alsatian which insisted on spreading hair and slaver all over the cab and driver. When he got to the destination only one passenger got out with the dog. The other then asked to be taken back to where they had come from, to collect his car. The driver was puzzled by this and asked why they hadn't taken the dog in their own car. "Oh no! We couldn't risk that, the dogs incontinent” was the matter of fact reply. Angrily the driver told them about the £75 soiling charge they had risked. "But that’s for people not animals" was the indignant reply.
Monday, October 1
Click the pic to see the great website.
They seem to be referring to the cars they use as Taxis, the controversially styled Fiat Doblo. They may not be pretty in the conventional sense but after a test drive in a brand new one today, they are really starting to grow on me. Cheap to buy and run, bags of room inside and comfortable high driving position seem to be making it into one of Europe's most popular taxi options. Well what do you think ugly or just a bit plain?