In the good old days of the Celtic Tiger tips were plentyfull. The average tip
was a couple of Euro. Not everybody tips though and it's generally not expected
by taxi drivers anyway, about 1 in every 5 people will tip. The Irish, British
and Americans are the best at giving a few Euro as a tip. Some Americans think
that because it's the practise of giving a tip in America that they should also
tip in Ireland and will often give 12 percent of the fare as a tip which is
very generous when the fare is over €20. The Irish and British will give
about €2. Irish men tip more than Irish women. It took me a while to figure
out that at the end of the journey if the woman and the man offer to pay the
fare to always accept the fare from the man because you have more of a chance
of getting the few extra euro from the man rather that his partner. The meanest
people for giving a tip, well in my experience were the French. Not only will
then not tip but they will wait for ten cents change, even if it holds them up
for several minutes while the driver is rooting around for the 10 cents. In
general, older people are more inclined to tip.
Eating In The Taxi
This was always something that got on my wick. It's something I wouldn't dream
about doing myself. Why would anybody in their right mind think it's fine to
eat their dinner or supper in a taxi ? Yet it happened to me on a daily basis.
It wasn't just the late night chips and Chinese food after the pub closed but
mothers and children having been to McDonalds then deciding to eat their food
on the way home in a taxi. These were the one's I dreaded the most as if you'd
let them eat the grum they would wipe their greasy hands on the seats. I would
usually say, I prefer if you didn't eat in the car. Some would do as you ask
but other would prefer to argue the point until you'd be sick listening to them
complaining and say ''Ah Go Ahead'' . But you'd always regret letting them eat
as when they get out of the taxi the evidence would be all over the back seat.
Some people are by nature filthy. Did I ever try getting the soiling charge from
gluttons ? No, the reason being is you'd be wasting your time. If it was a late
night eater they would just tell you to f''' off.
Getting Into Fights With Passengers.
This is something you want to avoid at all costs. Heated exchanges are common between taxi drivers and passengers. This can start over very little at all but the biggest cause is not going the way the passenger assumed you were going to go to get them to their destination. Sometimes the quickest way of getting from A to B is not the cheapest way. Most of the time the driver will choose the
route without asking the passenger. So the passenger sits there saying nothing
until it's time to pay the fare and that's when the confrontation starts.
They'll usually say the fare was much smaller the last time I took this
journey, but the last time the taxi driver may have taken a different route
which was shorter in distance but took longer to reach the destination. An
example of this is going from Blancharstown to Dublin Airport. The shortest
route is by going through St. Margarets using the so called ''Back Roads'' ,
but some drivers use the M50 Motorway which is much longer in distance but much
quicker. The extra miles using the motorway will cost more on the meter.
If you challenge they you'd end up in a verbal or at times physical fight as
they always had drink taken anyway. At times it's best to just let things go as
your head would be racing thinking about it for the rest of the night. Even
when your shift was over and you go home you'd still have these nasty incidents
floating around in your mind when your trying to sleep.
Shoplifters Using Taxis
This is one that surprised me. I was not only surprised that shoplifters would
use a taxi, and actually pay the fare but the way they'd boast about how much
they stole from the shops. I got my first shoplifter soon after I became a taxi
driver in the year 2000. They were always a happy bunch of people and quiet
proud of what they done to make a living. I'm not talking about stealing sweets
from a corner shop but rather taking from large shopping centres. Several of
the one's I picked up were into stealing small expensive items like jewelry,
cameras and the like. I once asked a robber how they got their ill gotten gains
to which the reply was ''Sure I Have A Key For The Glass Case''. These robbers
are all well known to security staff around Dublin and are barred from entering
most shopping centres. What they do to get around this is travel all over
Dublin and the surrounding counties and into shops where they are not known.
The Drug Run
Just like the shoplifters these people who hire taxis don't care that the taxi
driver knows they are hiring the cab to go and sell or buy drugs. But unlike
the robbers the drug dealers and buyers don't boast about what their up to.
They know that the taxi driver knows where and what they involved in. A lot of
the time it would be the same men you picked up from their home where you'd
drive them to a secluded area or a car park of a shopping centre or pub so the
deal could take place. These drug heads never made me feel uneasy as I knew I
was going to get my fare off them. Little would be spoken on the trip, just a
bit of small talk to pass the time. The trip was usually a return fare which
taxi drivers love.
One Sunday morning I was doing a job on the Northside and the passenger was a
man in his 30's. He was my last job of the day. While cleaning out the car that
afternoon I came across a lot of white powder on the floor beside the back
seat. It was most likely drugs of some description. There was about a cup full
in total. So what do you think I did with it ? well as the hoover was in my
hand at the time that's where it ended up, inside the hoover. As I'm not into
that kind of thing it was of little use to me. My friends said after I told
them that I was a stupid gobshite and that I should have sold it,,so what would
I have been then I say ?.
How I Became A Taxi Driver
I never set of to be a taxi driver, I sort of drifted into the job. I had being
driving lorries for years. One day I was off loading a pallet from the back of
a Lorry out in Dunlaoire. It was a boiling hot hay and the sweat was pouring
down my face trying to get the pallet free from the other stuff on the lorry.
Eventually I got the pallet onto the pallet truck and onto the tail-lift for
the forklift driver to take away. Just then a taxi pulled up behind the lorry
and I watched as the driver got paid. ''That Looks Like A Handy Number'' I said
to myself. How hard could it be ? I already knew Dublin like the back of my
hand for years. Just then I made the decision to become a taxi driver. I
started off driving the hackneys as to buy a plate at that time would have cost
80 grand. Well I took the P.S.V. test and passed with flfing colours, bought a
car, got a radio installed and I was away with the mixer. Deregulation then
happened, which ment one could buy a taxi plate for £5,000.
Taxi Drivers Hated Hackney Drivers
I remember the first couple of years driving the hackney before I got the taxi
plate to be an argumentative time. Taxi drivers assumed us hackneys were
robbing their work and each day a new debate or argument would take place in
the Dublin city with some tool who thought they knew it all. After explaining
the fact that people living in rural areas of North County Dublin cannot get a
taxi to the Airport for love 'nor money, they would sort of cool down and. Now
if only I could have gotten all the taxi drivers in the whole of Dublin
together and explained that hackneys were needed on the outskirts of Dublin my life for those couple of years would have been a lot less hassle.
The Kesh At Dublin Airport
The Kesh is a nickname for the taxi holding area at Dublin Airport. It's named
after Long Kesh prison in Northern Ireland which became known as The Maze
Prison. Drivers using this holding need a pass from the Dublin Airport
Authority. Each driver pays the D.A.A. a couple of hundred Euros a year for the
privilege of taking the D.A.A.'s passengers away. One thing I noticed about
this carp park is the fact that if a driver became ill an ambulance could never
get close to the drivers car to treat him. The reason is that the cars are
packed so close together in one long queue. Personally I never really used the
place much and say it as a place for lads to go and doss off work. During the
good times of the Celtic Tiger when work was plentyfull there were still drivers
sitting for a couple of hours waiting to be called to the arrivals at the main