It never ceases to amaze me where, and it what state, people expect a cab to stop for them. In the spirit of the season of goodwill to all men (although perhaps a little late for your Xmas party I’m afraid) I present to you this handy guide to hailing a cab.
10 – Don’t try and hail a cab standing on a zebra crossing, it’s the only place black cabs can’t pick punters up from. Those automatic 3 points on the licence are a bit of a disincentive to that 4 quid fare you see. In fact, please try and give at least a milliseconds thought to where you are standing in the street, and how you think the cab you are hailing is going to get from A (where he is) to B (where you are standing) without causing traffic bedlam. I’m sure that the same people that want me to perform a 3 point turn across 3 lanes of traffic are exactly the same types that are bibbing their horns and giving me abuse for the self same manoeuvre.
9 – Do, tuck your shirt in, do up that top button again and straighten that tie. Nothing alerts me more to potential pissedness than a bloke in a suit looking like he’s just been dragged through a hedge backwards.
8 – Don’t wander into the road when you think I haven’t noticed your hand in the air. The last recorded case of a cab driver missing a fare he wanted to pick up was 1932. Oh, and cabs weigh over 2.5 tonnes, they only stop when the driver uses the brakes.
7 – Do try and remember that lamposts only keep you upright whilst you are leaning against them. Great for giving the impression that you are sober, but within 2 seconds of separation, it ALWAYS end in tears.
6 – Don’t beg, it really won’t help. That driver that you’ve spotted sitting with his light off is doing it for a reason – he isn’t for hire. Waiting for an account job, friend or wife, no amount of bribery and/or abuse will make him let you get in his cab. Ever.
5 – Don’t try and hide your pissed up mate/girlfriend down that handy alley and think that the cabbie is just going to let you carry them into his cab. Be upfront, he’ll still refuse your mate, but it saves everyone 20 minutes of argument.
4 – Don’t insist on bringing your recently bought kebab into the cab with you. Or that last pint that Best Mate insisted on buying you. Cab drivers have a very good sense of smell & don’t enjoy having your food stinking out their cab for the rest of the week.
3 – Don’t wave your hands above your head in a frantic fashion, for the same reason as in No. 8. This has an inverse effect on your chances of hailing any cab. At the risk of repeating myself, cab drivers will stop for you if they want to. They really do try not to miss fares. Drivers are under no obligation to stop for you anyway, it’s once they’ve stopped that things can get messy.
2 – Don’t call any cabbie a farking karnt or a crook. I’ve been called both and neither punter made it their destination, not in my cab anyway.
1 – Don’t kick or punch a cab. 2.5 tonnes of metal can take a lot of punching. And despite our “abrasive” reputations, cabbies would rather stay away from fisticuffs.
Overall then my advice boils down to one thing – please engage brain before sticking that arm out. And a bit of pleasant banter goes a long, long way.