Sep 13

What did you get out of the Olympics Guv’nor?

“Avoid Central London, road closures, find an alternative route…”

How many times did we read that from all around the country and travelling to work in the cab in the last three months? More to the point what happened when our adoring public wanted to come to London to spend their hard-earned wedge in the pubs, bars, theatres and, of course TAXIS, but then decided as everything was at a standstill in Central London, not to bother. The work was quiet enough as it was but thanks to TfL/LOCOG closures for sane ordinary people who are not mumping on a corporate benefactor swanning around like they are pompous royalty, or thinking their poo doesn’t smell unpleasant, the work left for those wanting to take anyone left on the streets was, to say the least, downright woeful.

According to those grabbing the bonuses we were going to be very busy during the Olympics. Again they couldn’t have been more wrong, but why that should surprise anyone who has to work for a living is a complete mystery. For the last six to seven years we have been lied to from the start about where we can ‘ply for hire’ and what lanes we are authorised to use. A Mr Peter Hendy thought it hilarious when he said on radio:

“That if we thought the run up to the lane closures was going to be bad then wait for when they are closed!”

And almost pissed his pants laughing, what a bloody ignorant idiot this man is. Everyone but everyone jumped on the bandwagon of holding the public to ransom for a cut of the massive bonuses except for London’s taxi drivers and we got nothing but grief from the road closures and the lack of work, but they thought nothing of our predicament even though our bills kept rolling in. The only cabs allowed anywhere near the Olympic Venues was those used during the closing ceremony by the Spice girls, what a disgrace.

Amazingly the London cab trade got nothing from the Olympics when you realise that the army was drafted in to sort out the security that was frankly left to the last minute due to the company G4S screwing up with promises of a full security team which they had no chance of fulfilling. Will they get their bonuses? You bet your life they will. The ‘Old Bill’ travelled from almost every force in the country and the coaches came from far and wide to carry competitors. His Lordship Lord Coe thanked in his gravy train speech at the closing of the Olympics everyone he could put his lips to except those who really made it happen, the tax payers of London who will be paying for a long time to come and we never got a mention.

Those drivers lucky enough in the Taxi Trade to get work carrying all the ‘hangers on’ and ‘leeches’ from hotel to Olympic venues were very lucky they didn’t have to suffer the trauma of no work plus ranks stolen from the trade to allow the BMWs and the chosen few to park. Different corporate companies took on taxis and it has to be said mostly Vitos because of the roomier seats and air conditioning – the drivers were taken on for about a month on shift patterns. The lucky drivers had to convey the Lady Felicity Fartypants and Miss Droopydrawers of this world without so much as a thank you from their privileged rouge red lips, while Lord Farquhar Snottynose larged it up in the back with the meeters and greeters who had the IQ of a slug and ponced as much as they could providing they never put their hands in their own pockets, and at the end of the day when a bank owned by the British Tax payer (Lloyds TSB) is footing the bill guess who pays in the end? Well us of course!

One well-known individual with a fat backside the size of a small country left a certain hotel after a rather lavish meal for her and her clueless but privileged off spring, the first words out of her rather large jaw was: “Will there be a place to eat at the Olympic park and any goodies for the kids?” This person and her minted corrupt husband could have almost paid for the Olympics the way they are going; I really cannot divulge who this greedy oaf is, but ponce is one word for her, and besides we wouldn’t blemish the pages of this fine magazine! The kids left the venue early and had the audacity to ask for a free taxi home leaving lardy arse mum in the restaurant scoffing for the whole of Africa.

Anyway, good luck to those who did manage to secure work with the corporates because trust me, thanks to TfL/LOCOG you missed nothing at all. We have no one to thank for the Olympics, especially those who arranged the fiasco the taxi trade had to endure day after day. We had six to seven years to get London’s black cabs ferrying people all over the country but as usual we got nothing from the trade associations, unions, reps and taxi manufacturers. It’s time we put our collective feet down and got what we are trained for, not carrying parcels and cabbages but taking people to their destinations. You’ve got to ask yourselves is it worth the membership in supporting the arseholes who purport to represent you and your hard-earned cash when you consider what we had to put up with in the last three months? The corporate work, to be fair, was offered to the main London Taxi Circuits but they all turned it down, or priced it out of this world so as to be uncompetitive. One company said that the work offered wasn’t for them. I think the drivers should have a say in that. All in all, it was a total fiasco for the cab trade and TfL/LOCOG lied to us from the outset. Will you trust a word they tell you again because I won’t? You’ll have to decide, but you need to ask yourselves who paid your bills and cab running costs in the last three months and what did you get from the Olympics apart from grief?

That clown Boris Johnson said in an interview that our children should do physical education for two hours a day as it didn’t do him any harm. Really? Kids take a bit of advice from your uncle Bernie, if you want to look like Bojo, that fine figure of a man, then start running… preferably in the opposite direction of bumbling Boris!

Fact: this is a note to Bojo and Jenny Jones the push bike lovers and cab haters. According to scientists the air has been cleaner because low pressure meant air pollution was less able to settle over London. Experts from the University of Manchester and the Met Office have found our air least polluted than any Games in modern history. That’s one in the eye to those who say taxis pollute. We were in London as was buses and coaches, so who really does pollute London Mr Bumbler and Miss Whitchypoo? It certainly ain’t taxis.

So Manganese Bronze shares crashed recently by a third falling to their lowest level in a decade? Apparently accounting errors meant they had overstated its profits by £3.9 million. Bit like the price of a new cab in my opinion. Both vehicles licensed by LTPH/TfL are overpriced by at least eight to nine thousand pounds, probably more if the truth be known. These people have relied for too long on the goodwill of the cab trade, but I wonder if that is coming to an end?

Obviously they will be aware of the new Nissan Taxi that could be on offer very soon which meets the CoF. What the price tag will be is anyone’s guess but surely with a certain build quality, lower road tax prices, and more economy on the fuel, surely they could take over the market in double quick time. I believe our current vehicle suppliers really do need a WAKE UP CALL, because taxi drivers, not only in London, are getting fed up to the back teeth with the attitude of the Purpose-built manufacturer and some converters that rely so heavily on us purchasing their products. We need a competitively priced cab with a build quality to match. Oh and they should all be black with no advertising. Just a thought chaps.

Bernie May.

Reproduced with kind permission from Bernie May at TaxiTalk Magazine

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