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I have always had the opinion that a Taxi driver is doing me a favour by taking me where I want to be, yes I have to pay for it but if we didn't have Taxi drivers then how would we get where we need to go? especially on a night out where alcohol is involved!
For this reason I have always respected them, unfortunately not everyone has this train of thought as I found out when my partner became a Taxi driver. He bought an MPV and plated it up as his Taxi and joined a local firm as an owner driver.
At a weekend he gets threatened and abuse thrown at him and the car also takes the brunt of peoples booze fuelled anger.
Take last Friday night for example; He is driving along with an elderly customer in the car when a young lad jumps out in front of him forcing him to break hard. This young lad then starts punching and kicking the car and starts threatening him with the glass bottle in his hand! Luckily my partner manages to drive off only for this youth to then throw the glass bottle at the rear windscreen!
He tells me that this type of thing is not unusual for him at the weekend and also happens to most of the other drivers too.
Then there are the people that have no respect for the car they are travelling in. A while ago a family got in covered in paint and thought it was funny that they got it all over the seats! And the girl that put her high heel through the rear door speaker!
When he has told customers off for doing things to his car the reply he usually gets is 'why are you bothered? It's not your car!' erm well actually it is and it seems we are constantly paying out for repairs and cleaning.
A girl made a comment to my partner the other night which in my mind sums up what people think of Taxi drivers...'Why are you bothered about your job your ONLY a taxi driver'
There is just a total lack of respect from certain people towards this profession, a profession that can be a life line to many people that are unable to get out and about.
I drive a taxi in Cromer. Most of the taxis and private hire cars in North Norfolk are ordinary saloon cars - a few MPVs, but only a very few London-style cabs. Some councils are already insisting that all taxis should be wheelchair accessible. It is thought that the law will soon require this everywhere. But will that really help the disabled passenger? I regularly carry disabled passengers; sometimes they're wheelchair users, in which case they transfer to the ordinary car seat and I put the wheelchair in the boot. Not many disabled passengers are unable to transfer, and it is only electrically powered wheelchairs that cannot be folded up and put in the boot. There is no question that a small number of users need wheelchair accessible taxis; but why should ALL taxis have to be wheelchair accessible? 1. The extra expense of purchasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle means the operator's costs go up, which influences demand for higher fares. 2. Many less able passengers would find it more difficult to get in a London-style cab than an ordinary saloon. Think of the standard manoeuvre for someone with mobility problems getting in a car: open door, bum on seat, then get legs in. But this procedure doesn't work with London-style cabs, where it's impossible to sit on the seat before getting feet & legs in the vehicle. So I hope it never does become law that all taxis should be wheelchair accessible. At the moment, taxi drivers offer a personal service and will often go to considerable trouble helping people with mobility problems. If we are specifically asked for a vehicle which will accommodate an "occupied" wheelchair, and our own fleet does not have such a vehicle, then we'll be happy to suggest another company whose does provide that service. But we will continue to pick up those disabled people who prefer a saloon car. And, at least outside the cities, we'll be doing people's shopping
, going into the bank for them, putting their Zimmer frame in the boot, etc.