Tuesday, January 26

Forgotton goods

Picked a fare up this week from where he worked and set off to take him to his destination. About half a mile down the road he reaslised he had left his beer at work in the fridge ready for a party and asked if I could go back.

Not a problem, I turned round, went back and waited a good 5 minutes for him to come back out. The journey continued and when I asked for the fare of £3.60p he gave me £5 and told me to keep the change.

He then said to me that I couldhave the change for "Not getting angry with him for having to turn back and wait". I can't understand this bit. Why should any driver get angry with a customer who wanted to turn back because he had forgot something

We are there to provide a public service which means being polite and courteous and there really isnbt any need to get angry with a customer when they have forgot something. Its one of those things.

It just makes me think that this guy has had bad dealings with a driver in the past.

Wednesday, January 20

The Funeral Party

At first I thought it was a one off but after picking up a few drunken people who had been to funerals, it seems all they want to do is fight each other.

These sad events bring families together, people who havnt seen each other for ages and you would think they would be wanting to talk to each other but when the beer flows all they want to do is fight and argue,

It happened today and even in the back of the car on the journey they were trying to knock hell out of each other.

I did wanr them but they didnt take any notice. I stopped the car and told them all to get out. They apologised and promised that they would sort their differences out when they got home.

The fighting stopped but the arguing and insults continued.

And what was the reason for all this. People who hadnt seen the deceased in ages were trying to stake a claim to the will.

Its a sad case but no excuse for fighting with each other. They should respect the dead persons wishes and get on with life

Thursday, January 14

criminals licensed to drive taxis

Criminals with convictions for offences such as indecent assault and drug dealing are knowingly being licensed to operate as taxi drivers, an investigation by the BBC programme Inside Out West Midlands has revealed.
Freedom of Information requests to councils and police authorities across the West Midlands region discovered that over the past three years 209 people with previous convictions have been given a licence, despite criminal records checks being carried out.
In Wolverhampton, a man who between 1985 and 2005 had carried out more than 30 offences was, in 2006, deemed suitable to become a taxi driver.
A spokesman for Wolverhampton City Council said the licensing of private hire and hackney carriages was taken seriously.
"The council has received no complaints regarding this driver since the private licence was granted in 2006," the spokesman said.
There are no official rules about licensing taxi drivers. Instead, councils tend to follow various guidelines, one of which is issued by the Department of Transport.
In Worcester, there are several drivers with criminal convictions.
A spokesman for the council's licensing committee said they followed guidelines issued by the Metropolitan Police and by the Lord Chief Justice.
"The third criteria is whether we would allow our daughter, if [we] had one, to get in the cab," a spokesman said.
He said convictions for drugs and sexual offences were "a complete no no" but added that was not stipulated in the council's guidelines.
A spokesman for the National Taxi Association said people with previous convictions tended to have their applications decided on merit.
Threats to kill
"If someone does have a lot of previous convictions he is likely to have to go before a council and explain himself," he said.
More checks to police authorities revealed that 250 crimes had been carried out by licensed taxi drivers over the past three years, including rape and making threats to kill.
The National Taxi Association spokesman said magistrates and police would inform a council of a conviction.

"If it is a serious offence they have the power to suspend a driver," he said.
In November 2009, Stoke-on-Trent taxi driver Mohammed Qaddier was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.
Katie Bennett, 21, suffered massive head injuries when she tumbled from the cab in Newchapel in May 2008.
The Inside Out investigation revealed that Qaddier had previously had his licence taken away from him by the city council for plying his trade illegally.
In 2004, it was given back to him by the city's magistrates.
Her father Philip Bennett said the fact that people with convictions were getting jobs as drivers was scandalous.
"Whoever is putting them in a position of taxi driving, with those sort of convictions, wants their heads feeling.
"They are no better than the people they are giving licences to," he said.
Last year, councils across the West Midlands region took £4.5m in taxi licensing fees.
The GMB, the taxi driver's union, said the system needed to be tightened.
"What we don't want is a tick box system saying a check is done and the licence issued," a spokesman said.
"The policy must be robust. It must take into account the nature of the offence and does it have any effect on the job they are doing."
Wolverhampton City Council, and others, have now said they will review their guidelines.

Watch the video.

video

Sunday, January 10

Icy Conditions and accidents

Its been a strange sort of week with all this artic weather that we`ve been hit with. Most of the UK could well be used to the snow but where we live on the peninsulas we are surrounded by mountains and these tend to keep the snow away.

Its not uncommon to have no snow at all here and yet about 10 miles away it could be thick with it so when we do get the snow, its common sense to assume that everyone else gets it worse.

We did get the snow and drivers just wernt prepared for it. I did see a car very cautiously drive up a street and turn left at the end. He was going very slow and got the front end round but the back end just slid and he then hit a parked car.

This was happening almost everywhere and a lot of the drivers were afraid to work in the snow and the ice.

Today I witnessed something completely out of the blue. We have a few sets of traffic lights in the town which have a left or right turn green arrow filter. The set I was at on the junction of Holker Street and Abbey Road has a left turn filter when approaching from Holker Street.

There is a car in the left hand lane waiting for the filter light and I am in the middle lane wanting to go straight on but I am behind a car at the lights. The green filter came on to allow cars to turn left and our light was still red but the driver of the car in front saw the car to his left set off to turn left and seemed to think that because he has gone then he should do the same and shot straight through the red light.

Goes to show the driver wasn't looking at the lights but lokking at the car to his left and oved when he did.

Luckily there wasnt an accident but its a notorious junction anyway. I guess he had a lucky escape

Saturday, January 9

The Driving Instructor

Today I picked a fare up who was a local driving instructor who had been having a drink with the family and quite wisely he left his car behind and so after picking him up he sits in the front seat, puts his seat belt on and I ask him where he wanted to go.

He told me where he wanted and I set off.... Next thing I hear him say to me is....................


"At the end of the street Turns left. Position yourself correctly and use your mirror."

I was just about to say something when he carried on talking to his wife and when I approached a roundabout he then said to me... "Use Mirror, signal and Manoeuvre and get in lane". He then carried on talking to his wife.

At this point I thought he was being a bit sarcastic but he seemed a jolly enough fellow and then I seized the opportunity to ask him what he wanted me to do as he had been giving me instruction all the way.

He went a slight shade of red and said he didn't realise he was doing it and it was out of habit. His wife backed me up this and he was very apologetic.

In fact, he couldn't apologise enough and when I came to the end of the journey he gave me a £10 note and told me to keep the change for the trouble.


No trouble, I thought.. Just humorous...

Sunday, January 3

Selfishness

The Christmas and New Year weeks were very busy with a lot of work for everyone but the problems occur when customers decide to book a taxi to go home.

The two main issues were that customers would book you and you would turn up to pick them up. They would then acknowledge you and then spend a good 10 minutes saying their goodbyes to their friends whilst everyone shakes hands and kisses.

OK so its New Year and you have to allow for this sort of thing but surely it would make sense to be ready when you book the taxi. The problem here caused you to set off with the fare 10 minutes late making you late on your next pick up and this had a knock on effect making jobs run late and the customer has the nerve to blame either the driver or the office staff when its their own fault.

The other issue is, that customers seem to ring a number of taxi firms and order a taxi to take them home from each firm. The customer will then jump in the first car that arrives and not even have the decency to ring the other firms and cancel the cab. From our side of it we end up sat outside a house with about 4 or 5 other cabs from different firms and none of us gets a pick up

However, not all customers are the same and the vast majority were ok and even gave tips as well. Its just a minority of ignorant customers that will do this.

Anyway, its 2010 and hopefully back to the norm.

Saturday, January 2

Sounds like....

Quite often I will pick up a fare and they will try and tell you where they want to go but can`t quite remember what it is called.

I got asked to take a fare to "The Caffeine". This got me thinking as I couldnt think of anything to do with caffeine apart from cups of coffee,

Turns out the location he wanted was called "The Canteen".