Taxi-drivers: A species in themselves. Sally Hayden speaks
Picture the scene. Exactly eighteen months ago there I was: a bright-eyed UCD fresher, new to the world of clubbing (at least on weeknights) and drinking (well, legally). But the principal hurdle that required triumphing over in this coming-of-age fairytale was not one of substances or debauchery, but was in fact the solo taxi journey.
Long had I been accustomed to the stories of the raping, pillaging and looting taxi men, elevated to piratey bus-lane roaming figures in my imagination. Lucky for me, the mothers’ warnings have thus far proven unfounded. What I have learnt about taking taxis since that fateful day, however, are a few home truths that none can deny.
Many taxi drivers are inherently racist. May I refer to the lovely gentlemen who, upon me getting in his car remarked that it was lucky that I hadn’t chosen the vehicle of one of those “blackxies” instead, because Lord knows then where I’d have ended up.
The constant suggestion that Camden Street will always be the fastest route home starts to feel a little insincere when you realise that that same direction is being suggested in every cab across the capital come 2am. Somehow you are never quite as astonished as the driver appears to be, when you become yet again another link in a traffic jam that even Moses couldn’t part.
Countless drivers are intrinsically and insatiably unsatisfied. Case in point: the taxi driver who spent the entire duration of a 40 minute journey telling me in minute detail about the lessons he was undertaking to leave his current job and become a driving instructor.
Taxi drivers keep striking. If they hate their job, why not leave? I refer again to my worthy comrade of the paragraph above. One can’t help but believe that, since their main quandary is that there are far too many of them, they’re really hoping that their brothers in solidarity will give up and quit first. Also: is blocking my chosen method of public transport really going to entice me to pay higher prices to reach my chosen destination? Definitely not.
Complaints aside, there is also something cleansing about the conversation with the driver at the end of an epic night, a time when you’re happy to bare your innermost soul in exchange for some sagacious guidance. Maybe that fare is worth it after all.