The only means of communication I will be allowed soon is via CabbieBlog if John Mason, Transport for London’s head of taxi regulation, get his way. The London official has said we may be required to take courses on how to remain quiet while transporting passengers, for among the potential course subjects for improved customer service would be how to recognize when a passenger would enjoy a quiet cab ride or how to transport disabled passengers.
Have you ever heard anything so preposterous, a London cabbie talking to his customers?
Apparently under the new test, we will not only have to memorise the routes of up to 25,000 different roads in the capital, along with places of interest, important buildings, and other assorted miscellanea, but now we must also show we can suppress the desire to lecture our passenger about politics (well, Labour’s shortcomings), the England midfield or the day we picked up whatsisname from East Enders.
This might seem the modern way, but has Mr Mason considered London tradition, the prospect of the silent cabbie, what next are we going to have to go south of the river?
Mason acknowledges that London’s famed cab drivers have earned a reputation as outspoken and entertaining individuals; he has said “There is always room for improvement.” Going on he said, “It’s a world-renowned service, the drivers are always perceived to be some of the great characters you come across in London, perhaps it is good sometimes to keep your mouth shut if you sense vibes from the customer that perhaps they are having a bad day.”
He also feels that London cabbies need training to interact with the disabled, and to show how out of touch he is, I had a blind man and his dog in the cab recently. When reaching his destination, locking up the cab and helping him into the building via the few steps, a process which took two minutes, my customer said to me “You won’t get a ticket for helping me will you?”
So much for John Mason’s additional mandatory courses to improve taxi services, maybe he should talk to London’s councils so when we do provide that extra service we, and our customers are not expecting a parking ticket.
“It is good sometimes to keep your mouth shut”, I couldn’t have put it better myself Mr. Mason, or was it April first yesterday?