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Solo Signs Off

Taxi driver, where are ya going?

taxiOh dear, I see a taxi drivers’ campaign group was up in arms recently as it wasn’t given advance notice of the recent introduction of new driver skills tests by the Commission for Taxi regulation. Existing drivers will now have to take the revised exam by 2012, while all new entrants to the industry will be hit from this month. Cabbies will be quizzed on topics including good customer service area knowledge, route selection, map reading, testing and fares.
The ranting centres around the fact that some older drivers could be pushed out, and that they shouldn’t have to sit an exam to keep their jobs. Well why not? If they’re in danger of failing should they really be out on the streets ferrying folk from A to B? I took a taxi to a friend’s house a while back and the cabbie was not so much elderly but definitely a veteran. The kind of man in whose hands you’d feel safe as he took you took your destination. How wrong I was.
I told him I was going to Kimmage, he said that was no problem and started driving.
“Do you want me to head down the Quays and then up that way?” he asked and even though this was what you might call a vague suggestion, I just replied to go whatever way he thought was best. I can’t bear being asked by the taxi man what way I want to go. How would I know? Surely he has a better knowledge of the roads than me?
Anyway, next thing I knew we were near Heuston Station and were chugging on past it as if we were leaving the city for the weekend. Where is he going, I wondered, but being a salt of the earth Dubliner, I figured he knew what he was doing. Wrong again.
“Will I take a left here?” he questioned me, pointing at a Luas stop. Now I was really baffled.
“Em, I don’t know,” I said. “I haven’t a clue where I am.”
“Do you not know where you’re going? Are you not on your way home?”
“No,” I responded. “I’m going to my friend’s house.”
“Oh,” he muttered. “I thought you knew where you lived.”
What, what, what and what? Was the man on crack cocaine? Not only did he not seem to know where he was going, he also appeared to not know what he was saying. He gave in and asked for directions – unusual for a male.
“’Xcuse me,” he called out of the window at a passing man. “What direction is Drimnagh?”
“I’m going to Kimmage,” I interrupted, wanting to smack the back of his head at this point.
“Oh jaysus, Kimmage? I thought you were going to Drimnagh….”
After asking three more people to point the way, the third direction-giver came up trumps and set us straight. Although it took us a minute or two to get this guy’s attention as he was cutting his grass with a very loud lawnmower. While my cabbie was roaring across the road at him I considered getting out and walking, even though I still didn’t know where we were. The man had me stressed to the gills. I finally reached the venue for my Saturday boozy brunch with friends and I tell ya, I needed that first glass of wine. With taxi drivers like this guy on the loose it’s just as well new exams are being brought in.

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