Russell Square Cab Shelter

2015-04-22 20.30.07



2015-04-22 18.18.14

Today after finishing a treasure hunt in the taxi I pulled up on the rank at the Russell Square Cab Shelter with MacTheCab.

We noticed the the Shelter was open so decided to grab a coffee, while we were standing there the smell of the food being cooked inside was gorgeous.

We got chatting to the shelter proprietor, Danny and we commented on how good whatever it was he was cooking smelt. Danny said he was cooking a curry and invited us in to try a little bit.

Well I have got to say the curry tasked fantastic, Danny said that he likes to prepare all of the food that he cooks fresh at the shelter. The curry was so good that we both decided to stay and eat at the shelter.

Danny told us that his sister Kate runs the shelter during the daytime from 7:30am till 2:30pm and that Pat used to run the shelter of a evening cooking her Thai food, but Pat recently gave up the night shelter and it was offered to Danny.

Danny currently opens the shelter Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights from 5:00pm till 10pm and Saturday’s and Sundays from 12:00 midday till 10:00pm.

On Saturdays Danny cooks traditional English food like Shepherd’s Pie, and Sunday’s he cooks traditional Sunday Roast’s

While we were at the Shelter a few opt the regulars came in to eat and all of them commented on how good the food was and that Danny is a great cook.

Danny is the son of a Taxi Driver, he said that at the moment business is a little slow at the moment, he thinks that drivers are still not aware that he is open of a night, he said that obviously his regulars like it that way as they are always guaranteed that they can get seated and served quickly.

Danny is a very talkative guy who loves to have a laugh and joke, you will be made welcome whether you stop for a take away tea or coffee or if you stop to eat.

Danny also has a Twitter account for the shelter which you can find @RussellSqCabHut

Danny serves a cooked dinner, desert and as much yes or coffee as you want for £7.00 which is remarkable value for money.

If you are looking for somewhere to stop and eat I can thoroughly recommend the Russell Square Cab Shelter, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.

Take away teas, coffee’s, sandwiches and dinners are also available from the shelter.

Trying to buy a Suit!

imagesI have been looking around over the last couple of weeks for a few new suits to replace the ones that I wear in the Taxi when I do Wedding and corporate work, and I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the poor levels of stock in both high street stores and online outlets.

I am not looking for cheap suits but by the same token I don’t really want to spend hundreds of pounds on a suit to wear in the taxi! If I were buying the suit for special occasions than I would spend a little more but I consider £100-£200 should be adequate for a half decent suit to wear while doing wedding work in the cab.

You see I have a problem which I am sure that I must share with quite a few cabbies out there! Yes you’ve guessed it, I am not the typical shape, I am a little on the large size!

The other problem is that I have quite broad shoulders, so to ensure that I do not rip the arms off a suit jacket I need to buy a size 50-52 inch chest size. Most high street retailers only seem to stock up to a size 46-48 inch jacket which I have trouble even getting my arms to fit in, and once on it feels that if I flex my biceps I will rip the arms of the jacket straight along the seems!

After a few days trolling the high streets and coming home fruitless and frustrated I have resorted to looking online. Now the strange thing is that most of the high street retailers that I visited list larger size suits on their websites, and most list my sizes, but none of them ever appear to have any stock of the larger sizes! Their websites state “keep checking back for stock” well I do keep checking back and they never have any bloody stock.

It makes me wonder if these stores actually know what they are doing, are the larger sizes that popular that as soon as they come in stock they sell out straight away? And if that is the case why do they not also stock the larger sizes in their hist street stores? Or do the buyers for these stores think that men of a lager size do not wear suits? When I think of the buyers for these stores I get a picture in my mind of some skinny trendy little university graduate who wears one of those ridiculous skinny tight fighting suits, who is totally oblivious to the World around them and the diversity of people within it.

My frustration of not finding a decent suit led me to look at outlets online who supposedly specialise in supplying the “Larger Man” but they seem to throw up another problem! If you order a Large Suit Jacket they supply trousers to match the jacket! so for a 50-52 inch jacket I would end up with trousers to fit a waist size of around 46-48 inches! I know I do not have the smallest of waist sizes, but 46-48 inches I am not, trousers of that size would look stupid on me and I would need to wear braces to hold them up. The image in my mind of me wearing trousers of that size is that of a clown with the big hoop in the top of the trousers wear onlookers can see down inside the trousers!

So here I am still without a new suit! It has got me wondering whether the traditional suit is going out of fashion and that is why it is becoming increasingly difficult to buy an “of the peg” suit.

I am sure that many of you have had the same problem and would welcome your suggestions as I am beginning to lose the will to live keep looking.

Please leave your comments below.



An Interview With One Of London’s Few Female Black Cab Drivers

An Interview With One Of London's Few Female Black Cab Drivers
The iconic black cab is synonymous with London and black cab drivers are often revered as having the best knowledge of the city’s roads. With the number of people they’ve picked up and dropped off, it goes without saying that they have a story or two to share!

Stella Wood has been in the trade for almost 14 years and lives in Bermondsey with her two kids and a dog called Molly. Surprisingly only around 2% of London’s black cab drivers are female, despite an array of perks the job has, such as the flexibility in choosing own working hours and days. We interviewed Stella to find out what life as a London black cab driver is really like.

How long have you wanted to be a black cab driver for?

I didn’t have any ambitions to become a taxi driver, none of my family were connected to the taxi industry. A friend asked me to do the knowledge with her and at the time I had young children so thought it might be a suitable job to fit around school hours etc. It took me approximately two years to conquer my nerves to ride a scooter in London traffic!! I always considered 4 wheels better than two, I’m with Jeremy Clarkson on that one!!

Why did you want to become a black cab driver?

I thought becoming a licensed London taxi driver would be good for the freedom it gives, being able to start and finish when I want, it also affords me the luxury of taking time off to go on holiday etc and not having to take my turn on a rota.

How long did the Knowledge take to complete and what does the test comprise of?

It took 3 years of self-funding to complete the “knowledge”, the first two years I worked part-time and for the final year I gave up work and concentrated on getting the “coveted” green badge. The “knowledge” comprises of a map test and a series of “appearances”, which were one-to-one oral examinations with different examiners, wherein the examiner would ask you to state the location of two “points”, these could be streets, places of interest, basically anywhere a passenger might like to be taken, then a description of the shortest possible route between the two had to be given. To an extent I enjoyed doing the “knowledge” albeit it’s a tad long-winded. London is a fascinating place with lots of amazing architecture, I did enjoy exploring all the places in the city that I had never been to before.

Do you think that if you weren’t a parent you would have been less inclined to be a black cab driver?

Yes. When the children were younger I used to work split shifts. My work enabled me to be home when the children returned from school and to take them to their sports activities in the evening and also to earn a decent income.

What hours do you usually work?

My children are adults now so I tend to work a straight shift of around 8 hours, sometimes less, it depends on how busy it is and how much income I need. I usually work 6 days a week which enables me to save for holidays, clothes, handbags and shoes!! I start my shift any time between 5 or 6pm and work through till about 12am – 2am.

What does your typical day consist of? Do you have any regular customs?

No, I just like getting in the cab and getting the job done. I occasionally stop and meet with another taxi driver friend for coffee, or maybe dinner, I don’t like wasting too much time.

Do you have any favourite haunts in London?

Not particularly, however I love driving over Waterloo Bridge, I think the views from there are amazing, arguably the best in London!

Are there any parts of London that you don’t like driving to?

There isn’t anywhere really, although I try to avoid Soho and Piccadilly on a Friday / Saturday night, mainly because of traffic but there are some places I’m never really asked to go, such as Harlesden.

Are there any drawbacks of the job?

It’s a solitary job as you don’t have the same interaction you would if working in an office. You cannot have any real in-depth conversation with passengers as you rarely “pick up” the same person twice. Taxi driving can affect your social life if you choose to work irregular hours, weekends etc. It does interfere with mine somewhat as I choose to work those unsocial hours, but that’s when in my opinion business is most lucrative. Also, being self-employed means there is no pension, holiday or sick pay, I am entirely self-reliant.

Have you ever encountered a difficult situation whilst on the job?

There have been occasions when someone has been in the cab and I have had an uneasy feeling about them and been glad when they have departed. It is essential working at night to keep the cab doors locked to avoid unnecessary problems, i.e. drunks, as sometimes the person who comes to the window isn’t necessarily the person who gets in. Those situations don’t happen very often fortunately. I never really feel frightened or intimidated working nights.

How have minicab services affected business?

It has been quieter over Christmas this year, due to increased use of services such as Uber. The competition is a lot stronger now and a lot of people don’t want to wait outside in the cold hailing a cab. Apps make it much more convenient for people to get a cab from the comfort of their own home.

Thanks to Stella, for providing an insight into what it’s like to be a female black cab driver.

Clegg Gifford insures some 44,000 taxis under the Westminster brand name and has been arranging taxi insurance for 40 years.

Source: Glegg Gifford Blog

Very Exclusive!!! I think Not

The Taxi driver pointed out to this “Very Exclusive” driver that he was parked on the Taxi Rank and that Taxi drivers wanted to get on the rank, this Very Exclusive driver became very agitated and started to raise his voice.

Towards the end of the clip the “Very Exclusive” driver tries to pull the race card! The only problem with his statement was that the whole incident was on video!

How on earth can anyone think that a driver who behaves like this is “Very Exclusive”

Taxi Drivers Falsely Being Told They Can’t Work

It has come to our attention that drivers are losing time and money over the late arrival of licence renewals.

TfL are still informing drivers waiting for renewals (by post) that they can not work until they are in possession of replacement or renewal licenses. This is false information as we pointed out, back in September 2014, when we published a letter from Leon Daniels agreeing with our research into the Transport Act 1985.

In a more recent case, we were informed that NSL unexplainably canceled a drivers inspection date. He was unable to get a new appointment for a couple of weeks until after his plate had expired. He was informed by both NSL and TfL that he couldn’t work. This information was totally false. 
Drivers should not be losing out. The Transport Act 1985 sec17(7) clearly states, that until a driver is in receipt of a renewal or notification that the old licence is revoked, then the old licence remains valid until renewal finally arrives.  According to Leon Daniels letter, this also applies to vehicle PCO plate (highlighted below) 
On 12th of May 2014, Taxi leaks published an open letter to Sir Peter Hendy. Amongst other issues, we bought his attention to the Transport Act 1985 sec 17(7), which appertained to licence renewal problems being experienced by some drivers.
Part of Sir Peters reply infered that he would have TfL’s legal team look into the matter. 
5 months later, a reply came back from Leon Daniels.
After much deliberation from TfL’s legal team, we received this reply below, signed by Leon Daniels and dated the 30 September 2014.
Dear Mr Thomas,
I refer to your email to Sir Peter Hendy regarding the provisions of section 17(7) of the Transport Act 1985 in relation to taxi drivers renewing their licences. Please accept my apologies for the delay in providing a reply.
As far as is possible we will issue a driver his or her new licence in advance of their old licence expiring.
However, this is dependent on the driver submitting a complete and timely application, which includes the result of the DBS check and any other information that is required, as we cannot make a licensing decision until this information is received. 
It is therefore imperative that drivers start the application process in good time to allow for all necessary checks to be completed before their licence expires.
Where we are provided with a complete application, including the results of the DBS check and any other necessary information, but have not yet made a licensing decision before the old one expires, the existing licence will remain in force until a decision is made in accordance with section 17(7). In these circumstances, a driver will not be issued with, nor require, a temporary licence pending a decision being made on their application.
Please note that contrary to the comment in your email, section 17 of the Transport Act 1985 only applies to London taxi driver and vehicle licences, not London private hire vehicle driver licences.
Kind regards
Leon Daniels | Managing Director  
Transport for London | Surface Transport | Palestra |
11th Floor – Zone R4| 197 Blackfriars Road|Southwark|SE1 8NJ
Drivers to carry on working:
So there you have it. Don’t worry if it takes weeks months or even years for TfL to send back your renewal. You are covered legally to work under the transport act and your old licence will remain valid until your renewal arrives or you are notified your licence is revoked. 
Editorial Comment: 
This issue also shows the dangers of a divided trade.
The reply from Leon Daniels was a major victory for Taxi drivers and should have been published in every trade news paper and magerzine. It should also be on every website and blog, to inform as many drivers as possible so as no one should lose a days work, let alone a few weeks. 
  Source : With thanks to research by Dave Little.

TaxiCab App / Society update 18/01/2015

10606570_306164989575893_8467069587616430898_nTaxiCab today, the steering group is in the process of finalising the Co-op / mutual society detail this is the legal foundation we need to move forward with the app solution.

We had hoped to produce our own app but this has proved difficult in the extreme and Alex our developer has had to step back for various reasons some of which are personal.

We have however looked at a few viable solutions that can give us our own controlled and
branded app with full backing and full integration within the ‘Society’, we are still in negotiations but we think we can get this tech partnership done on a PAYG basis, no up front costs, we think it it is imperative that we get an app to market asap and this will speed things up greatly.

Ultimately this becomes your society under mutual control a ‘Social Business’.
We need to raise funds to enable set-up and initial promotion costs this is where we have said from the outset that we see a ‘one off membership / share purchase’ and then a ‘fee per job’ which goes towards app running costs and society costs any residual profit is ploughed back into the society to facilitate growth and trade promotion, we encourage your feed back and input and any one wanting to help move things forward is most welcome ‘it’s your society’.

In joining taxicab every driver has a say, every driver has a share and every driver will have a vote.
We know that the London Taxi Trade has to embrace the technology that drives our lives forward, hence why we are here, determined to do this the right way.

TaxiCab, Steering Group.


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