I passed the Knowledge of London (KOL) in September 2009 at the age of 27. Since then, I’ve been a full-time taxi driver in the capital transporting residents and visitors of London to their desired destinations.
Over the 12-year period, the way I’ve worked my hours has changed dependent on life milestones and where I’ve lived. When I first got my ‘Green Badge’ I lived in South-East London and worked shorter shifts five-days a week. Now, married, two young-girls under the age of seven and living in the Cotswolds, the way I work has changed. Luckily the job has allowed for such flexibility and I certainly consider this to be one of the huge perks of the job.
Given the longer commute I now condense my hours into three long shifts. At the moment I’ve settled on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The cost of the commute means staying over in London at a ‘cheap and cheerful’ hotel is more viable over the back-to- back days.
So what does a normal long-shift look like to me?
There’s no two-ways about it... it’s long! But, don’t feel too sorry for me as it is only three days a week and it’s broken up with work on TaxiPoint too. To beat the traffic from the village I live in I’m on the road for early doors down the A40, M40 and then back on the A40 reaching West London for the start of the morning rush-hour.
Since November 2018 I’ve driven a LEVC TX taxi. I’ll use the petrol fuel tank for the motorway and then switch over to electric upon picking up my first job which usually arrives in the Ladbroke Grove or Notting Hill area.
Having worked the morning rush-hour, I’ll normally stop for a break, quick battery top-up and to write some articles. During that hour I’ve usually written a couple of daily stories for TaxiPoint and got a coffee onboard.
With a full-battery, and myself feeling fully charged, the aim now is to deplete the electric battery and turnover as many fares as possible. I’ll have lunch onboard and that’ll be consumed as I go between fares. The next planned stop will be when the evening rush-hour begins to die down for yet another charge, a welcomed hot-meal and another story.
After that it’s a final push towards my target and then a 90-minute trip home.
Given the nature of TaxiPoint the other four days away from the cab isn’t free from work, but that too is flexible. Daily stories, website maintenance and development, and designing a monthly magazine publication are just a few of the ongoing tasks.
Tube Strike is NOT a normal day!
On Tuesday 1 March there was a huge Tube Strike in the capital. Over 10,000 London Underground workers downed tools which meant all tube lines were closed. On a wet and cold day there was little sign of more cyclists, but demand for taxi and private hire services sky-rocketed.
Despite the heavily congested roads, due to more vehicles on the roads, several key roads shut for works and also the usual pinch points experienced around new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) and underused cycle lanes, I managed 21 fares throughout the day.
Whilst the total number of fares were down, my earnings were up due to longer journeys and it taking longer to complete the rides. Here’s a breakdown of my day and a visual of the journeys made across London.