In the Martin Scorsese film Taxi Driver about urban alienation the Presidential candidate Charles Palantine rather condescendingly praises taxi driver Travis Bickle for his metropolitan knowledge.
Personally I find most taxi drivers will offer their opinion whether you praise them or not. On the subject of black cab driver v Uber both sides are vocal.
Yesterday a long day started with breakfast at the Hotel du Vin Wimbledon with Daffers. I certainly agree that the views over the parkland on a hot summer’s day were something to behold.
For the journey into central London I ordered an Uber.
The window was 10-50 to 11 but at 11.03 of the car there was no sign. Nor was any message nor call received.
I duly went outside and met the driver who told me as I was late the trip was cancelled and I had to re-book but not with her.
Extremely irritated I re-booked.
The second driver was more helpful especially when querying his route he said he has as my destination my home on the south coast.
He turned round and adjusted my trip details.
I fell into conversation with him.
Of my first canceled trip – for which I was charged a penalty of £9 – he said this frequently happened. He said that sometimes he would arrive early for an airport trip and – on arrival even though not the appointed time – the fact of arrival is automatically communicated to Uber and 15 minutes later the cancellation implemented.
It must be as Arthur Daley would say “a nice little earner”.
I said I was old school and preferred a black cab where the destination was agreed between driver and passenger. There is no margin for error.
My local text company sends an initial text that the driver is on his way and another text on arrival.
Not infrequently I will come out to tell the driver I need another 5 minutes. Taxi drivers have now caught up in the digital age, add to this their superior knowledge, security and professionalism and I am happy to pay the extra.