My recent trip to London helped me complete the full circle in terms of cabs. If you manage to take the cab in the three most craziest cities of the world – Mumbai, New York and London, you have as good as seen the eigth wonder of the world.
Whether it is the yellow cabs of New York or the black cabs of London or the black & yellow taxis of Mumbai, they all have one thing in common. Have you heard of the third cousin in the family who always demands meals at expensive restaurants and never knows where those restaurants are how to get there. Well, these cabs are somewhat close to them. If the last person you want to meet is that particular third cousin, the last thing you want to take is the taxi. Why? I have a different reason for each city and here they are.
Whizzing yellow cabs of New York and 2 top reasons why I don’t like taking them –
1. New York’s Yellow Cabs are yellow because John Hertz, the company’s founder, learned from a study that yellow was the easiest color for the eye to spot. He was right. Of course, they are easy to spot. But, try spotting a yellow taxi that is empty. That is the key. The taxi has to be empty.
2. New York city subway is a little more 100 years old and I love all things ancient and efficient.
Kaali – Peeli of Mumbai & Top 2 reasons why I don’t like taking them –
1. Bustling morning and you will find an entire queue of taxis on your street corner. Guess what, there won’t be a single guy in the taxi though. All of them would be standing next to the nearest panwallah or sitting around playing cards. Without the slightest hesitation, they would ask you where you want to go. However, if you give them any destination short of 1.5 hours, they would turn a blind eye to you and continue indulging in their lazy lifestyles. I wonder how they even make money to sponsor all the Gutka.
2. If the guy finally decides to move his butt and drive you anywhere, he will honk and honk and honk and give you a migraine early in the morning.
Finally, the deadly Black cabs of London and why I don’t like taking them –
1. Have you heard of ‘The Knowledge’. It is the in-depth study of a number of pre-set London street routes and places of interest that cab drivers in that city must complete to obtain a license to operate a black cab. It is the world’s most demanding training course for taxicab-drivers, and applicants will usually need at least twelve ‘appearances’ (attempts at the final test), after preparation averaging 34 months, to pass the examination. Jesus – It is more difficult that taking the IIT and IIM examination back to back. So, coming to the reason why I don’t want to take a London cab, it is primarily because I know that the guy driving me around probably has an IQ of a genius. The sooner he goes out of business, the sooner he would find his calling.
2. Prince Philip (husband of Queen Elizabeth II) drives a London cab, when he can afford just about any other car in the world. Other celebrities are known to use London cabs too for their anonymity and their ruggedness/manoeuvrability in London traffic. That worries me. There would be one more cab in London that would be occupied and not ready to ply passengers. And just in case he does decide to pick up passengers, I worry about being driven around by a 90 year old man.
If all the reasons above have taught you social lessons about not honking, not chewing gutka, not adding to the traffic volume of the city and more than anything, not taking a freaking cab when there are cheaper and quicker options like the trains, subways, tubes, metros or whatever you want to call, I have succeeded in my mission.
For the best public transport, look up the following sites –
1. Transport for London
2. Metropolitan Transport Authority – New York
3. Mumbai – Contact the Ninja!