24 June 2009

Taxing one's patience

Taxes are, as Benjamin Franklin famously said, one of the two things that are certain in life - the other being death.

Why do you suppose he didn't mention death and taxis? Because taxis cannot be certain in life even when you have been told what time they will arrive.


The fact is that all taxi companies are laughing up their sleeves at us because we are being lied to.

"He'll be there in ten minutes".

"He's just coming into your road now".

"He's been once and no-one was there."

How many times have we heard these lies?

And why? Because they know they've got you over a barrel.


Think about it. You book the cab for, say, eight o'clock. It's ten past when you first ring to enquire as to its whereabouts.

"He's two minutes away, love" is the reply.


Never where it is, just how long you can expect to wait before... you have to make the next phone call.

Ten minutes later you call again. It's two minutes away.

Five minutes after that it arrives.

The problem is that we know they're lying and we let them get away with it. Because we know that to tell them, "Ah sod it - I'll ring someone else", is too great a risk.

You can't be sure any other firm can deliver a taxi to where you are waiting faster than your already-ordered cab is going to be late, and you know that even if they say they can, they won't and you're only adding more time on to your already annoying wait the inevitable lateness of Taxi Firm Two.

Because you know they're all as bad as each other.

And they know that too.

So... how does it end?

We have to bite the bullet. We have to start cancelling. We have to start walking away. We have to start standing them up and getting in rival cab companies' cars without ringing the first lot so that their lateness costs them money.

We need a register of taxi firms' abuses, published weekly in our local papers, so we can name and shame the lying bastards.

We have to start making bookings with the expression that "time is of the essence" and refusing to pay the full fare when they turn up late.

We'll learn them and we'll learn them good. So good they stay learned!

We can end these abuses! We can fight this fight! Other people agree with us! We can; we must lead the charge against death by taxis!

My taxi was late last night.

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