Black cabs: is it the end of the road?
Minicab mobile apps such as Uber are threatening to drive traditional taxis off the streets but, say Britain’s cabbies, it’s about more than simply getting people from A to B
One night a couple of years ago, on a black cab ride from Putney to Kentish Town, the driver told me he’d become a priest. Not an actual priest in a black frock, but certainly the sort who took confessions. Szymon (originally Polish) had been driving a cab for 27 years, always at night. He was nearing retirement age and though he’d made enough money from property development to mean he didn’t have to keep working any more, he carried on because he enjoyed it.
“You wouldn’t believe,” he said, “the confessions.” Confessions? What sort of confessions? “People getting down on their knees in the back, shuffling up to the partition and talking through that little cash slot. Asking for absolution, like in church.” What, people seriously do the whole bless me, father thing in the back of a cab? “Yes! I swear!” he said. Why? “Because they want someone to hear them, and you’re a stranger and they know they’ll never see you again. And it’s not one or two doing it, it’s someone every few weeks.”
Source: Guardian Transport