Things were not going well. I had already missed two night buses, lost my Travelcard and spent the last half an hour looking for a shop that was open to get some change to buy a replacement. And I was worse for wear.
And I thought it might make a good post for Transport Blog.
We negotiated a price and off we went. The driver claimed that while he, personally, had a temporary PCO licence, his vehicle didn’t. It failed because the driver’s airbag wasn’t working. If true, there was a rich irony in the authorities banning safer vehicles from the road.
I say, if true, because being almost completely outside the law I wouldn’t blame him if he was being a bit cagey. Nor could I blame him for going illegal. £800 for the personal licence. £140 for the vehicle check. And you end up on some list.
He told me a bit about his business. He’d worked out a simple but successful strategy. Stake out the same Central London spot in the wee small hours and you can pick up about 6 or 7 fares a night. I reckoned he is making £700 a week. And it’s all cash in hand.
Good luck to the guy.
There’s some evidence that airbags and other safety aids make drivers drive more dangerously.