Wednesday, April 29

Stupid Girl

More CCTV footage shows a girl standing in the middle of the road on her own making no attempt to move when she saw me. I had manoeuvre around her as she just stood there. Afterwards I stopped the car and could hear the conversation between her and a friend.

It appears that the young girl in the road (aged around 14) was arguing with her friend saying she wasn't going home and has had enough of life and was going to stay stood in the middle of the road and not move.

Shortly after, the young girl was dragged off the road and onto the pavement by her friend, then the young girl ran off with her friend chasing her.

Monday, April 27

No Food cos I said so...

Last night I picked up two girls from the local Chinese takeaway. One of them had food which was not wrapped up and I refused to take her unless she wrapped it up. I do have a sign saying no food and no drink to be carried open or consumed in the car but no one seems to take any notice.

She asked me why I wouldn't allow food in the car and I explained that if I pulled up quick due to some idiot stepping out in front of me then I would probably end up with curry all down the back of my neck. She insisted that she wouldn't spill it but I`ve heard it all before and stood my ground. She did eventually wrap it up but what annoys me is that if I was to do it in their car then they wouldnt like it. - No respect for property thats not their own.

On a serious note, if I was to have an accident and the food got spilt due to the accident and a passenger got scalded off it then would my insurance pay out. I doubt it. So there's another reason not to have food open in the car.

Saturday, April 25

Lap of Luxury

The latest car to join our fleet at A1 83-83-83 is certainly turning a few heads.
Local taxi users just cannot believe it when this brand new Bentley look- a- like purrs to a halt outside to pick them up. Then when they step inside to a world of plush leather and walnut trim to be transported in the lap of luxury they are astonished.

One chap who had ridden in style the previous day told me, when I picked him up in my more mundane saloon that he couldn't stop smiling for the rest of his day.
Tony the colourful character who runs the big shiny beast tells me that it can be hired for any occasion. Weddings, nights out, birthdays, executive travel or even just to give your old mum a treat.

One extreme to another

Earlier today I picked up an elderly gentleman and took him to Walney Island (Not too far from Barrows Town centre). During the journey he was sick in the car. Not through drink or anything but he was genuinly ill. It wasn't a lot of sick and he said he couldnt afford the soiling fee and if I kept the meter running whilst he cleaned it up then he would pay the total on the meter.

I thought this would be a good idea as it saves him money, it was a genuine illness and not self inflicted through drink and I thought it would also save me the job of cleaning it up.

The elderly gentleman went in his house and came out with all sorts of cleaning stuff and set to work cleaning the mess up that he had made. Now bear in mind that it wasnt much and therefore shouldn't have took that long but by the time he had finished, the car on the inside looked the cleanest it has done in a long time. Not only had he cleaned the mess up but he had polished and waxed the interior trims and dashboard and made it smell really nice then opened the back doors and done them and wiped round the trims. I didn't ask him to do this but he said he felt bad about what happened and wanted to put things right.

I never expected this and after inspecting what he had done to clean the car and admiring his work I didn't have the heart to charge him the fare.

If only everyone else was like that.

Later on as day turned to night and the usual drunken idiots that cant handle their beer came out to play it was a different matter, violence, aggression and abuse were the order of the night but thats about the norm these days with these cretins that cant handle their beer

Thursday, April 23

Hair raising

Quite often when the computers in our cabs give us a job to do we will find that the persons name is spelt wrong usually due to the operator mis-hearing the customer or a case of bad spelling and so this week I got a job at a local hostelry to pick up someone by the name of "No hair".

I pulled up outside the pub and waited a moment when a guy asked me if the name was O'Hare. I quickly figured out that this was the correct fare and as he got in the car I couldn't help but notice he was totally bald. I rather quickly moved my data screen out of his view in case he thought someone was taking the mick out of him.

I`ve had some strange names come up on that screen in the past and some strange spellings. One that could have been embarrassing was the name MUFF. Turns out it should have been Murph.

Anyone else had any strange names????

Sunday, April 19

A Stones Throw Away

Picked up a fare tonight and took her to where she wanted to go and on route I noticed a bunch of kids around 10 years old and as I went to drive past them they hurled stones and rocks at my car. My immediate thought was to stop the car and get out and deal with it but I know if I had done this then the chances are that I would have been arrested and so I left it and carried on driving as I knew in the back of my mind that passenger safety was my main concern.

I dropped my passenger off and checked the car for damage and couldn't see anything. I then set off back the way I came and these same kids were still there. I slowed right down and they must have thought I was going to stop as they legged it through some alleyways into a maze of flats.

These kids know they can get away with it as its not easy to catch them as they know the area very well. The police are never around when you want them and the big question is.. "What are these kids of around 10 years old doing out on the street at 10.30pm at night". Do their parents not care where they are and what they are up to.

Apparently its becoming a regular occurrence  Kids throwing objects and missiles at passing cars and buses and its happening all over.

Thursday, April 16

Bus or taxi

Its a common scene where a person will come out of a pub and debate which is the quickest way into town. Maybe by bus as it may be cheaper but then you have to wait for the bus and stop at stops along the way. They could get a taxi and have a direct run to your destination.

The person decided to order a cab but whilst the cab is on its way to pick you up, the bus arrives so you jump on that and head off into town and cant be bothered to ring the taxi off to cancel the cab

Its a common scene and happens a lot locally, usually where there is a bus stop near to a pub or other venue.

It only takes a minute to cancel a taxi but they cant be bothered. The other thing is that people will wait for you to pull up outside their house before cancelling. Should they be made to pay a cancellation fee. After all, would you order a pizza delivery and wait for it to arrive then ring up and cancel the order.

Wednesday, April 15

Egg Record

Over the weekend I picked up a fare who had with him what must qualify as the biggest Easter egg ever to be carried in the boot(trunk) of a taxi. Sadly he wasn't willing to share the giant egg which he had won as a raffle prize. But he was generously delivering the big brown beauty to a kids party for the lucky brats to smash and devour. Sounds like my sort of game but unluckily I didn't get invited. A pity because I bet it was good to watch the kids having fun.

Mobile Cloakroom

It was a busy weekend just gone and two young ladies I picked up from one town centre pub wanted to go to another. The thing is that one of the young ladies had a jacket and she didn't want to take it in every pub with her and had the cheek to ask me to take it and drop it off at a house on walney for her tomorrow. I refused as I am not responsible for other peoples property, I am not a mobile cloakroom or is that slowly becoming part of the taxi drivers job description. Bloody cheek of it.

I got the impression that she just expected me to drop it off for her free of charge the next day but she was that drunk I doubt that she would even remember where she left her jacket when she takes it off in a pub later on in the night

Saturday, April 11

Alone again Naturally.

Tonight I got a job to pick up a fare and so off I went to collect when 3 lads came out of a house and one of them was carrying a young girl who was so drunk that she probably wasn't aware of what was going on around her. One of the guys offered me £20 to take her home to Dalton (about 3 miles up the road) and knock on a door so someone could take her in the house.

I refused the job and said that I couldn't take her on her own due to a number of reasons. She may have been sick on the back seat was one thing that was going through my head but more importantly the thought of me taking a young girl who's totally out of it home could lead to any accusation being made and I didn't want to take that chance.

I know that the cab is kitted out with CCTV cameras but it still didn't make me think twice about this and I refused to take the fare. Who knows what innocent allegations could have been made.

As for me refusing to take her in this state then I think any other driver would have done the same

Wednesday, April 8

CCTV in the cab

On Boxing Day 2008 and I picked a fare up in Barrow Town Centre and took him to where he wanted to be and asked him for the fare of £5.40p. The guy was OK when he got in the cab but his attitude changed when he got home and he refused to pay the fare and threatened to "slice me up".

Naturally I was frightened and its not the sort of thing you should have to put up with in this job but unfortunately these days it seems to be part of the job description.

The thing is, If it wasn't for CCTV in the cab then this idiot may well have got away with this. I contacted the police and they took a statement and looked at the CCTV footage which they seized as evidence.

What do you think. Should all taxis be fitted with CCTV or is this an infringement of human rights and an invasion of privacy. The reason I ask this is that last weekend I had a young lad get in the cab and he asked if what he saw was a CCTV camera. I told him it was and he immediately told me that he didn't want to be on camera and to let him out the car. He did pay the fare but seemed reluctant to be on camera. Perhaps he had something to hide.

To me, Its my car and if I want to fit a camera in it and film then I should have every right to do so and if passengers dont like the idea of themselves being on camera then thats their problem. They have the choice. They dont have to travel in the cab. I have signs in prominent places in the vehicle stating that CCTV is recording images for safety.

Read the full story about the taxi court case below. Double click to enlarge

Sunday, April 5

Russell (Barrows Dog Walking Legend)

Every Taxi Driver in Barrow knows of the local legend that is Russell Thompson. Russell can be seen at almost anytime of day or night walking dogs through the streets of Barrow and usually he will stop and chat with the taxi drivers and their fares and is a well known local legend in the town so whilst chatting to him this week I find him very upset and a bit down with himself. It appears that his dog (The one in the photo) had died peacefully in its sleep. It was quite an old dog. He is upset about it.

For those that dont know Russell, he is Barrows very own dog walking Legend and theres plenty about him on the internet. Hes on myspace and facebook and has lots of fans and is well known locally. Russell is also famous for appearing on my radio shows in the past.

Saturday, April 4

A Walking. talking History Book

One thing I love about the Furness area is its history which is so varied as it covers a massive area and those best at teaching history are those that have been around the longest and that's our dear old folk that we pick up.

They have stories of good and bad times about how life used to me and I`m always intrigued by how they got by years ago and I suppose when I get to their age then the next generations will be asking how we managed to survive. Its an evolutionary thing and we get used to what we grow up with and what we have.

Anyway, today I picked up an old lady who tells me she is 82 years old and we talked about tales of the war and living in poverty and rations. At the end of the journey she didn't want to get out the car without putting the world to rights and even though we were busy with jobs, I didn't want her to get out the car til she was ready so we sat and had a 10 minute talk.

Some of these people are widows or widowers and long for a bit of company and its really re-assuring knowing that not only have you got them home safely but you have also made their day and they've had someone to share their life's story with.

Thursday, April 2

Late for a night out

Picked up 3 girls who were all dolled up ready for a girly night out on the town and as I set off into town the girl sat in the front seat pulled down the sun visor so she could use the mirror to apply some lipstick.

It was at this point that I couldnt help but go on and off the brake pedal ever so slightly and watch her miss her mouse and get it all over her face.

Cruel or what!!!!. And whilst i`m on the subject. Why do they call it lipstick. It doesnt stick their lips together. Pity!!!!!

Wednesday, April 1

Locked in

Having being sent to an address this week with another driver to pick up a fare we realised it was a 2 car booking as there was 8 people. That's easy said one person. 4 people in each car.

Not a problem, so the first car sets off with four people in and I set off with only 3 people in not thinking anything of it. We got about half a mile down the road when one young lady piped up saying that there was a spare seat in the car and that we had left someone behind.

I turned the car around and set off back to the house where I picked up from only to find the girl in the back saying. "Oh gawd! I`ve locked her in the house." She had not realised she had come out and locked up with someone still in the house