Thursday, 27 August 2009

Taxi Broadsheets

Here’s an interview that I did with a taxi driver in Bath (UK). I spoke to about 12 drivers and made 5 broadsheets using the most interesting material. I basically just relied on their rambling so I could take shots with my camera from the backseat. I’ve added some images but the guy you’ll see is not the driver whose interview I’ve recorded below. The broadsheets themselves are also depicted at the bottom.

Have a skim through because he’s quite an interesting guy – very proud of his work and has picked up a few notable characters since he began taxiing. 

‘I just took up driving when I retired because I needed…I wanted something to do, y’know? It all kicked off, basically…I was going to pick up a colleague of mine down at Heathrow one morning and er…he was coming in on a flight at about 20 past 5 in the morning and em…I was driving up the motorway, I had my music playing and I thought that’s nice; I’m not going to a meeting in London that starts at 8 o’clock…I’ve not got to meet anybody at Heathrow; all I’ve got to do is pick up my colleague.

So that gave me the idea because I wanted…I needed, when I retired, a flexible job. Work which…I could work when I wanted, as long as I wanted, take as much holiday as I wanted, when I wanted, without asking the chief executive or chairman of the board anymore. Right? And that fitted the bill. So it’s a job of flexibility…y’know? You can work according to your requirements. Right? Er…if you want a lot of money, you work a lot of hours; if you don’t wanna earn too much, you don’t work long hours. Em…y’know, it fitted the bill perfectly and it’s like any other job. I mean…you have to enjoy what you do; you don’t enjoy what you do…you’ll never give your best to it. And…y’know…you are giving a service to the customer. So you must try and enjoy what you do because otherwise you don’t give the best service to the customer, do you?

And…I think there are too many guys driving taxis who…shouldn’t be. Because they’re not cut out to talk to the customers. Because some people like to talk, particularly the older people. They don’t meet many people, they only meet the taxi driver, and they love to have a chat about something interesting, y’know? So…it’s a great benefit if you’ve got a bit of a rag-tag mind to be honest. You can talk about most things that anyone wants to talk about and at the same time, if they don’t wanna talk…learn to shut up, y’know? Em…but em…so…from my point of view, it fits the bill perfectly…and er, I enjoy it.

Much of my business is long distance jobs, to be quite truthful, because I run two cars and er…an s-class Mercedes and this one and em…if I wanna pop around Bath, I’ve got something to do, I’ll pop around Bath. And if I’ve got a long distance tour and I don’t wanna do it, I’ll get one of my colleagues to do it for me. Yeah?

I’ve been doin it for…what, six years? It’s not solely Bath, because I do, I operate independently; I operate in license so, I do long hauls. I mean, I’ve got a job…end of June, I’ve gotta go to Anglesey…Take someone up there; stay over night; take them around Anglesey the next day; bring them back; y’know what I mean? And em, y’know, I go to the airports a lot, take people up to the city, y’know, all over the place, y’know? I’ve been to places like Torquay, Southampton, Leeds, y’know, all over, so no it’s not confined to…purely to taxiing. But em…y’know, it’s em…I find it can be quite an interesting job and quite a rewarding job in many ways because, y’know, there comes a time in life when people really can’t climb onto buses…anymore. And they need, they need help; these people are very grateful for help. So you feel that it can become quite rewarding if you em…[Mobile rings]

Hi darling. Yep, fine sweety. Oh, great. Fantastic! Where did you get that from? Does it? Okay, well done darling. That’s fine. Hehehe. Okay, thanks darling; well done! Talk to you later! Hehe. Bye!

Sorry about that, I don’t usually answer it but at least we’re stopped, hehehe. That was my lady anyway.

No as I was saying, yeah, it can be quite rewarding because some of these older people are quite grateful for help because some of them need lots of help y’know. And…therefore, that’s why you’ve, you’ve gotta have the right sort of person…. You can’t have someone who wants to sit on their backside in a seat and stay there all day long and not get out to help people because then, y’know, you’re not giving a service to the customer. They pay good money. You should give them a good service. Y’know, that’s really what I’m talking about. And, y’know, I think we have a lot of good drivers here in Bath to be quite truthful but having said that, y’know, there are others who shouldn’t be doing it. Do I know a lot of them myself? No. I only know the good ones, for the simple reason that, well, they all own good cars and I might need their help sometime to cover jobs for me. And also, y’know, it’s vitally important, er…to be well presented; to keep your car clean; I mean, it’s a service. Y’see, if I worked to run Abbey taxis, or any large taxi company, I would make damn sure you could eat off the floor of every single car that was in my fleet. Because that’s me, y’know? I mean, I was in industry all my life; I ran big factories, and I tell you, even in a wood-processing factory, in my factory, you could eat off the floor. It had to be right, y’know? And em…it should be the same in this industry to be quite truthful.

Em…so…I mean you get, a sort of, quite a wide range of people in this business. But…somebody who has never done anything else bar drive a taxi all their life, y’know…er…who are moaning and groaning about things…but you’ve gotta get on with it, y’know, em…If one’s prepared to put the effort in and work, they could make a reasonable living. If they’re lazy, idle, and can’t get up in the morning or y’know, then…they shouln’t be doin’ the job. But then, they probably shouldn’t be workin’ for someone because they wouldn’t perform; d’you…do you understand?

For me, as I retired guy, it’s perfect, because, as I said to you before, I don’t have to work any hour of the day I don’t want to. I work totally flexible hours. It purely depends on what is required of me, y’know? Tonight, I have a customer arriving at Bristol airport at…9 o’clock. So I will go home, have some dinner, pick him up and drop him off at Bradford-on-Avon. Right? And then I’ll just go to my home. Tomorrow morning, I have a…a guy to pick up at Hilperton, near Trowbridge at 10 o’clock in the morning, to go to Bristol Airport. Gotta do it…okay? And…like…if I, I mean sometimes, I take people up to er…up to the West End, up to Park Lane, the Dorchester for various awards. I’ve gotten people up to the Bafta awards and I’ll wait ‘til they come out…half past 12, 1 o’clock in the morning and take them home. But then, I don’t need to work the next day, if I don’t want to, y’see? So that’s…I don’t have any…what I don’t do, I very, very rarely drive locally after 8 o’clock, but that’s not for no reason; I er…I’d rather get home, y’know what I mean? And sit down and see my lady for a while. Em…You’re dealing with different people at night, but you don’t get problems because the point is…if you are…I mean I wouldn’t pick up someone who was drunk. I’d just tell em…“get another car, sorry”. I mean if I pick up someone who gets a bit stroppy, I’m quite an assertive guy and I can soon turn them round by talking to them. So people aren’t a problem but it’s, I dunno, this morning, what time did I start today? I did my first job at 9 o’clock, so I will go home…have dinner about 6.30. Then I’ll go back out at about 8 o’clock and go to Bristol Airport, y’know? So it works well. It suits me. I mean if the picking up at 9 o’clock didn’t suit me I wouldn’t do it. Because again…it’s flexible.

[Omitted paragraphs]

I’ll see if I’ve got one of my own…my own personal cards. I usually keep them in my s-class but I’m sure I’ll have some about in here. Yeah, get me on my mobile. I assessed for 15 years at London Guildhall University, as an outside assessor. Yeah, so…and I get extremely excited when I see new talent, whatever it might be, whether as a soccer player; rugby player; a good presentation by a student is exciting, I think.

This is a very interesting type of job to be quite truthful. I can just name out all the people I’ve driven. All the celebrities I’ve driven, y’know? I mean I can go on and on and on. Y’know, it’s em... from racing car drivers, to actors, to politicians, to pop stars. I’ve driven all of S-Club 7 around, all, Rachael Stevens. All of them. Em…I’ve driven Joan Rivers, Shirley Bassey, Patrick Moore. Sportsmen, y’know…Jonathan Edwards. I can go on and on and on. Jackie Stewart. Pavarotti. Noel Edmunds, I’ve driven a lot of recent times. I took Caprice, the model, from Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire up to Camden Town where she lives. I mean I was even on Holby City, not long ago, driving my s-class as a chauffeur, yeah. So y’know, it’s em…I’ve been into Highgrove many times, taking people up there to various meetings and em…I drive Tony Head a lot, the Prime Minister on Little Britain, yeah…I picked him up from Birmingham Airport last week. They talk about all sorts of things. I was talking to Tony last week about how they started up Little Britain in Sydney. He was telling me all about it and it sits well down there, and…yeah, we talk about all sorts of things, from their own personal interests and hobbies and things like that. I mean it depends. If they don’t want to talk, you don’t. If they wanna talk, fine. Some guys will sit back and work; stuff like that. Most people are happy to talk; but if not, you just keep quiet.

I picked up a guy once,; I was driving my taxi and went to a guesthouse in Crescent Gardens just down the bottom here and him and his wife got in the car and he said, “How much will you charge to take me to Congleton?” I said, “What, do you mean just south of Manchester?” He said, “That’s right, yeah.” And em…I told him. He said, “Right, I want you to take me there.” He said, “If you take me to the bank, I’ll go and get the money and I’ll pay you when you take me.” So I drove to the bank in Milsom Street, he went and got the cash and came back; gave me the cash and off we set to er…Congleton, just south of Manchester. I said a couple of words but he didn’t want to speak. D’you know something? That man didn’t speak to me or his wife all the way to us going off on the junction from the M6; we were 180 miles up the motorway and then he said, “Now I think I’ll have to give you directions to my home.” Never said a word; to me, or his wife…hehehe

Yeah I had 3 daughters; they all went on to study ’til they were 26, 24. One got a Phd, another got masters degrees so…I’m very happy to help students if I can.’

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