Chatty London Cabbies? – Shut It!March 12, 2010
London cabbies like a chat. Anyone who has ever been in the back of that distinctive black car knows this. They’ll wax lyrical about almost every subject under the sun and give you unknown facts about London Taaahn. You get quiet or grumpy ones of course, but in the main they’re very entertaining. This could be set to change.
The taxi regulators at Transport For London are currently looking into placing some additional training for newly minted cabbies. As well as going through ‘The Knowledge,’ a three year training, which involves memorising thousands of streets and routes, they may now have customer service training. This includes welcoming passengers, dealing with stressful situations and knowing when the passenger doesn’t need to know what you think of the economy, immigration, or some obscure fact about Jack The Ripper. The goal is for passengers to have a better experience and therefore a good impression of London, hopefully leading to a return visit. Personally I think it’s more micro managing in Great Britain PLC. I expect most cabbies will continue to build on those skills using a tried and trusted method, like their instincts and in the absence of that, good old-fashioned trial and error.
I’ve only had one surly driver in all the years I’ve taken a black cab. My experiences have been almost universally positive. If anyone has used a London cab recently, or in the distant past, give me the benefit of your experience. Good or bad, funny or sad, I’ll take them all. If you have stories of using cabs abroad, even better.