Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pay rise Please.

Writing tickets,

Would anyone like to rent a crane? Please.

Down and out in Dublin

Well if you have never been to Dublin you could not understand the anxt of the taxi drivers.
A few years the licencing system was deregulated meaning that anyone who had the correct fee could buy a medallion or taxi plate.
You dont't even have to own a taxi driving licence.(PSV)
The price of the plate had been 80,000 punts.
Then under the new rules the price is e6,300.

The result is that there are more taxis in Dublin than New York.

The unions are happy, more members.
The taxi regulator is happy, loads of revenue.
The public is happy,they only have to point at a bird in the sky and 4 taxis stop.

At the airport there are around 4,000 taxis who took out permits at e400 each.
This generated around e1.6 million for the DAA.
Those cars have to compete for 30 spaces at the airport rank,150 spaces in the Kesh (holding area) plus a further250 in the overflow.
Thats around 430 spaces for 4,000 cars.

The queue sometimes overflows on to the motorway!

There are more taxis per head of population than anywhere in the world I think.

Now to add insult to injury.

There is an ad on the radio asking the public to contact the taxi regulator to tell her if they think taxi fares should be lower,or remain the same.
Did you local chemist or grocer ever ask you if you would prefer to pay more?

This exercise is a total waste of money.

The price we now charge was set when diesel was 60c now its e1.40 per litre.

Another problem is the number of taxi ranks is still much the same as when we had 2,600 taxis. Now its around 12,000 taxis trying to fit on to the same places.
The Garda see this as a revenue gathering exercise and they are giving out tickets by the book full, I got 2 lately.

Boo Hoo.

Just thought I would share that with you again.
When I took that first photo I did not know that the frustrated driver threw his licence at the Garda and had to be taken away in a police car.

Best not to loose the cool.

Look I will get my son to do a video a clip of taxi congestion in the city.

This week the conference on banning cluster bombs was held in the Croke Park conference centre.I brought a few big wigs there, one woman came out of Clearys department store and asked me to go to Ballsbridge. We were on O'Connell bridge when she remembered that she should be going to Croke Park instead.
How could she forget?
They did get some agreement but without the USA and China attending there will be nothing done.
I hope I am wrong though.
Another big concert at the weekend Celene Deyon and Boyzone.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bruce Springstein

A nice old MG parked in Ballsbridge

This boat used to belong to Abramavitch.Its down by the IFSC.
Its a bit too small for him now.

Well we got some help with work from Bruce Springstein who played here over the weekend. Fans were wild about his performance 4 hours on stage.
The same age as me too.
I was driving past the Merrion hotel later when I saw the entorage getting into their limos to head off to party.
Bruce stopped for photos with fans for around 15 minutes.
Before he climbed into his Bentley.
I can appreciate any rock star who gives time to his fans, a lot of the guys forget where their money comes from.
The next fare left her bank card on the back seat,which brought me back to the hotel later.
At that time I met his guitarist on the steps of the hotel. Again he was chatting to the fans. Got a photo with my phone, rock and roll!!!.

The trains around Cork are on strike,some people missed the Springstein gig as it happened very fast with nothing on the radio to warn passingers.

Tonight I am whacked so I am at home. I might get up early, then I might not.
That is the thing about this job, no one to ask why you were not in at 5 am or whatever. But it does help to work.
Heading home on Thursday I stopped for a blind lady at the ha'pney bridge.
"Thank God you stopped for me"and for the next 40 minutes I got her life story.
She was going to Kilcock, a good step e48 if I remember correctly.
She had pillows and other big shopping bags.
I don't know why she could not have organized herself better, surely the bulkier items could have been bought closer to home.
Still what do I know.
She was blind and could not be taught when she was a child and she finished up in the Magdaline Laundry where the holy nuns treated her very badly.
One day she and another girl ran away to live in Belfast where she lived on during the troubles of the 70s and 80s.
She told of one soldier who used to search every time he saw her until one summers day he approached her. She stopped him and whipped off her top and pants. "Now are you happy I have nothing to hide".
The other soldiers jeered him and every time she came near a checkpoint he was on he got a ribbing from his mates. "I was never searched again"
Her redemption came when she met her husband, who taught her living skills and in her children, there is no doubt there was a book in that woman.
I must get a digital recorder and I could stick in clips of some of some of these conversations.(with their permission)

Problems of space at the taxi ranks continues. You can never fit 12,000 taxis into 400 or so rank spaces. With the rise in fuel we cannot drive around looking for work either.
Garda are writing tickets I have had 2 in the last month.

You should see the state of the new taxi drivers toilets at the airport.
They seem to have never been cleaned since they were opened.
The urinals don't have a flusher and the puddle of urine on the floor is unbelieveable.
This toilet is used by around 2,000 men every day.
4,000 taxi drivers have paid e400 each for the privelege of picking up passengers at the airport.

Do you want to see a photo?

Its really much worse in reality than it looks here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Its my birthday.

A statue of Brendan Behan over looking the canal in Drumcondra

The Harbourmaster bar.
It was there a girl lost he handbag containing her bank cards, e450 cash, her keys house and car her driving licence. she hung the bag on the back of the bar stool.
Be careful out there!

Well the protest at the taxi regulators office saw a good turn out of Garda including the Garda hellycoptor hovering overhead.
The regulator slipped out to lunch without addressing her drivers again.

Well I wonder where this will all end up?

I picked up a fare today an ex taxi driver,"gave it up last month,9 years,2 of my uncles who have each driven taxis for over 30 years have given up the game as well.
My new job gives me e200 cash in hand per night plus I have no car to keep and I don't have to put up with any nonsense".

This is getting more and more common.

While the NEW people coming into the game have no idea where the most basic of places are."You show me"
Or "I don't speak English".
The regulator is thinking of making English a requirement.
The latest thing is that you don't even need an Irish driving licence to drive a taxi in Dublin.

Back to work and a theme which came to light is that Irish people are very bad at service! Example when I was looking for a car I went to 5 Toyota garages and the sales staff were just chatting among themselves, just couldn't be bothered.
Well with the change in VRT and the new green taxes they are selling nothing now so perhaps they would turn around the next time a customer walks in.

A tillage contractor broke a part of his drilling machiene.

He rang the agent on Friday of the bank holiday reply...24 hour number....No reply.
So he went on the internet, found a parts cataloge, found the part number.
Then he located an agent in Manchester on Saturday morning. he checked he had 2 on of them on the shelf. He flew from Cork to Manchester got the parts and had to get the boat back to Dublin, then a train back to Cork.
He told me it was the managing director of a large company who was working in the stores, "Agricultural macheinary has to have back up". He would supply our farmer in Cork with any part next day or the same day if the order came in before 10 am. If he had to get the part in Germany it would be sent directly to him and the UK agent would pay the excess carriage.
That macheine cost me over e60,000 and it is only used for 6 weeks every year at the most.
That guy in the UK will get all my business from now on and all my relations will hear about it too.

Dennis Mahonys garage told me that they would not sell me a new seat belt because I had imported my car from Japan myself!
Therefore it was my problem!
Murphy and Gunne in Rathgar got me the part in jig time,
"Oh I know she is an import but the way we look at it is, you will get the part whether we sell it to you or not. But when we deal with you and you see what a good service we give.
WE will be in the running to sell you your next car."

Now there's joined up thinking.

One problem everyone has is with drunks and I got badly caught in Waterloo road on Sunday morning. Girl and guy flagged me down, hold on the others are coming. Then it started. Where will we go? 3 of them wanted to go to Radio City and one didn't the discussion went on and on. Then the girl said I want to go home.Ranelagh so!
Then there was another change of mind on Leeson St...Ok Ok we'll go to Radio City but first I want to get some cigarettes. Where is open?
The Spar on Baggott St is the only place thats open for sure at this time (1.30)
So we drove back down.
The front seat passenger got out then the guy in the seat behind me started giving abuse and started calling me names.Charging them e8 (the fare starts at e4.10+ e3 for the 3 extra passengers)and now they are back almost where they started. The little voice in my head told me to get them out here and now.
In front of the Spar there would be plenty of people around but at the destination the trouble could be really big and they might decide not to pay at all.
There is no point in calling the police they don't care about taxi drivers.
I stood out and "Lippy" wanted to square up to me but the girl pulled him away.
A good blow to his solar plexus would have done harm to his beer belly.

Where would that lead to?

As I put the car in gear to drive off the smoker got in, I asked him to get out and he gave me a lecture about how I HAD TO DRIVE HIM. Then when he did get out he held the door, his next move was I figured to pull the door back off its hinges but I moved the car forwards three times.
Then he stood back leaving the door open. I darted forward just as a kick landed into the back of the car.
I saw the dent today.
You know if you loose your temper the mob wins!
But it is very very hard.
I could have reported the guy as a drunk driver, I saw him park his jeep!
Or I could have slashed his tires for him.

It put a cloud over the night to say the least.
Even the gabby blond girl who went all the way out to Skerries e47 did not lift the mood.
Her father has stopped driving a taxi too after 15 years.

Problem is that you must keep your temper at all times bad Karma will come to them.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Monday May 19th

There is another planned demonstration planned at the office of the taxi regulator planned for Monday May 19 bet ween 1 to 2 pm.
The meeting will end with a sounding of horns.

Why such a protest?
Well when we protest the Taxi regulator won't listen.

But everyone will hear this !.

Kathleen Doyle would you not send someone to the front door (or go there yourself) when there is a protest, hiding under your desk will not make this go away.

The incomes of taxi drivers are falling fast while you await "Reports".

I would not like to be your neighbor next Monday.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tourists coming

Farmleigh house

A sculpture standing in the grounds

Farmleigh house standing in the Pheonix park was once the home of the Guinness family, as you see they did well for themselves. The house is owned by the state now and open to the public during the summer with special events planned.

This weekend I have not been able to work much.I have been painting and there is no point in falling asleep at the wheel.
Last Friday the Trinity ball was on, big event on the social calender.
The Garda were out on the streets taking drink from them.
Ammature drinkers are not good for business as they puke and fall into a stupour which could compromise the poor taxi driver.
Not to mention sitting into your car with clothes covered in vomit.
Oh the joys of dealing with youth.
In fact the Garda were doing the rounds taking 6 packs from youths all over the city.
I feel that perhaps some money should be spent on youth education,youth centers and adventure weekends. A few bob spent on prevention is never wasted.
The tourists have started to appear and I saw some of the feathered variety the other day. The Swalllows are here. Listening to the nature program on BBC radio 4 they were talking about how they fly from South Africa, all the way across Africa,the Sahara desert, then up through Spain and France and back to us.
Hope we have a good summer,though with all the school teachers and unemployed builders coming back on to the ranks it is hard to see how the work will come for everyone.The God in charge will be pissed off with taxi drivers asking for a good day at the ranks.
Taking about the economy taking a turn for the worse.
Did you hear that Habitat Ireland has closed its doors ?
Friday evening management told staff not to come into work any more as the company was gone bust.
That is one of the clearest signs of a downturn, a top end furniture store gone.
I was looking for a narrow recliner chair in that shop when that company first opened,as I walked through the store the store detective was nearly walking on my heels. I turned and asked her if she really thought I would stick a sofa up my coat and walk out without paying?
So I walked out and got it in Frank McGowans shop later.
I wonder how Brown Thomas is doing? The lady who owns that store(Hilary Weston} sold her Next shops last year as she said rents in Dublin had become unrealistic.

I must do a piece on the Sunday Times "Rich List"soon.
From number one who is a boy who left school at 15 Sean Quinn.
But why the rich do not do more good with their wealth is beyond me.

Chuck Feeney ,Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are good examples of what you can achieve with money. They have given away billions to help their fellow man.
No strings attached.
I met Chuck one day, brought him and his wife in from the airport. He did not boast about his deeds but when I found out about him it helped me to look at him with great gratitude on behalf of mankind.
He did an interview which you can find hereFriday 19 Jan

"Taxi news" has loads of info for taxi people.

Here is a piece I found in the Taxi news (Link opposite)

Christchurch's traditionally white-vehicled taxi ranks have received a dose of environmentally friendly green with the arrival of a new competitor.

Green Cabs uses only hybrid vehicles that run on battery-powered electricity and petrol. The young company also off-sets any carbon emissions it does produce by planting trees in developing countries.

Green Cabs launched in Christchurch last week and has eight cars on the road, but that number would gradually increase to 50 in the next two years, Christchurch area manager Will Owen said.

The company is the brainchild of Wellington man Callum Brown, who owns Green Cabs with his partner, Eva Romanowska.

Before last November, when the company launched its first cars in Wellington, Brown's knowledge of the taxi industry was based on being a passenger in taxis while working in the executive world.

He was once a climate-change sceptic but Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth changed his mind.

Brown recognised a gap in the market for an eco-friendly cab company and decided to leave his 10-year career in the information technology industry and to set up the company.

Green Cabs has 30 cars in both Auckland and Wellington and is planning on a fleet of between 150 and 200 cars in New Zealand in the next year.

The Toyota Prius uses about 4.9 litres of petrol per 100km, compared to between 12 and 16 litres per 100km used by other taxis.

Brown said the average taxi driver spent between $300 and $450 a week on petrol. Green Cab drivers spent between $90 and $100 a week.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

6th May 1882

The gates to the American Ambassadors residence Pheonix park

As we drive around our respective cities there are some things we as taxi drivers should know.
Like who lives in the White House?, or Buckingham Palace etc.

Once an Australian woman gave me and her kids a lecture on Robert Emmett as we passed Thomas St. church.
Her kids and husband who were French were told all about the rising,Robert Emmets trial and execution at that very church.
Thousands were put to the sword as a result of the rising and many are buried in the plot called the Croppy Acre in front of Collins Barricks on the quays.
This shows how an Australian education from Irish nuns was so much better than an Irish education.
This was finished off with a quote from his speech from the dock, which was delivered by Robert Emmett without notes, spontaniously.

"I am here ready to die. I am not allowed to vindicate my character; no man shall dare to vindicate my character; and when I am prevented from vindicating myself, let no man dare to calumniate me. Let my character and my motives repose in obscurity and peace, till other times and other men can do them justice. Then shall my character be vindicated; then may my epitaph be written."

The Pheonix Park is a place where Dubliners go to relax.
It is the biggest public park in any city of Europe.
There are many places of interest and many things to do there.

Few Dubliners remember the 6 th of May 1882.

That day was a 9/11 moment.

No matter where you were in the world you would hear of the murders which took place on that day.

The chief secretary for Ireland Lord Fredrick Cavendish was walking with Thomas Henry Burke head of the civil service when they were set upon by men wielding surgical knives and they were butchered.
The the group became known carried out the act
The civil unrest was moved into a higher gear and the methods used by both sides in the conflict are still in use today in Iraq or wherever there is strife.
Guirella tactics, informers and summery executions.

I know it says in Wickapedia that the guilty parties were caught and executed but this fact is not so clear in the book I am reading by Senan Molony.

On the 6th of May beside the road opposite the Aras An Uachtarain a cross appears with 2 bunches of flowers to mark the spot and remember the day.
This year they still appeared,here is the photo.
They are not exactly what I expected to see.
I think the deer may have got to the flowers before me.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Protest day

Well for me today was very busy.
Traffic was light ,seems like a lot of schools have extended holidays.

Seemed like few taxi drivers took part in the demonstration in Dublin.

Then around noon there was a drive past in Fitzwilliam place.
That was impressive.

Well if the regulator won't listen to us, perhaps she will hear us.
The protests were nationwide so I look forward to seeing the news.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Sunday Times

A protest march to the regulators office a while ago.

Taxis queue to infinity at Heuston for the train

Just to hand.
From the Sunday Times.
Top 10 + 1 taxi cities.
number of people per taxi.

Dublin 98
Oslo 112
Mexico City 123
Paris 136
Seoul 148
Tokyo 232
Madrid 233
Athens 243
Copenhagen 279
Wellington 292

Istanbul 572 people per taxi!

Kathleen Doyle comes out with statements like.
"radio cab companies can't get enough drivers"

Well if I was getting e80 from every car which had my radio I could not get enough cars either.
Don't forget you don't have to have work for all the cars you have.

Protest on Tuesady

The porter with his top hat looks out for customers at the Bank Of Ireland

A pidgeon loft on the 8th floor of a Ballymun tower block.

Well another all night done and I now have enough money to last me for the rest of my life.

That is provided I don't have to buy something.

(Jackie Mason)

Life is hand to mouth for those involved in the taxi trade at present.

I was hitting lucky Sat night and Sunday night I must have pleased the Gods who sent me work.
I wonder who is the patron saint of taxi drivers?

Interesting people some with strange stories.
2 girls and a man get in, were going to Walkinstown then to Lucan, a bit of small talk between them then the couple get out.
Then the girl tells me about the tragic turn her life has taken.
Her boyfriend was murdered a few weeks ago in Ballyfermot!

She told me how it happened.

Lets call her boyfriend Tommy.

Tommy had a friend who had been a drug addict and when he came off drugs Tommy befriended him and tried to help him get his life back on track.
Different people told Tommy that the guy was dangerous, but Tommy said If the lad can stay off the gear I would help him.

Well Tommy and another chap were in our place when the Ex junkie goes berserk and pulls out a knife and stabs Tommy 4 times and the other chap 8 times, the Garda caught him but Tommy bled to death.

You can say nothing when some says something like this.
The flood gates open and all the hurt and grief comes out.
Then they are relieved.
You could see how utterly crushed she is as she spoke of how their wedding plans were at an advanced state,a good man dead for nothing.
She pointed out where the apartment was near City West as we passed.
She is going to a murder victims support group and she is getting a lot of help there.
How do you help a person going through Hell?

And what about the guy who did it is he in Dundrum mental hospital?

No she said..................

They charged him and he is out on bail...

It is totally insane how the law works, a woman was put in Mountjoy prison last week for not paying a fine which was imposed when she put up a satalite dish without permission. While a ruthless crazy killer walks the streets.

Well I hope he is not sitting behind me tomorrow night.

I won't tell you any more for now.

But an interesting one popped up on the Indian rickshaw site with regard to pricing.
This is a problem all over the world.
The income starts to drop and the scammers come out, then the punter who got stung complains how ALL taxi drivers are only a gang of robbers.

Point in case.
She got into my taxi and told me how she got into a taxi late at night at Dublin airport to go to Terenure.

I will go via the the M50.
No the lady said straight through town its only 6 AM.
I am going on the M50 I am the driver he said and he slammed the door and drove on.

"I shouted at him to stop,that I wanted to get out,but he just drove on.
Anyhow when he got to Terenure it was about e20 more than it should have been.
We took down his licence number and the roof sign number. I could not confront him because I was tired and had 6 teenagers with me.
A few days later,after I had calmed down,I rang the carriage office(must have been a few years ago)

I told my story, they said they would get back to me.

Later a Garda rang me to say that the roof sign was an old number and not in use, the reg number was the number of a car,not a people carrier and the licence?
There was no such number.
I showed the Garda the paper where we had written down the information 3 of us took the numbers,

Since then I have herd nothing!!!

I am careful about getting into a taxi and I fear for my kids the way things are going on now.

Now I wonder how many man hours the Garda spent studying cars at the airport late at night?
Not any I would say.

Its a pity that someone might killed in an uninsured car by a driver with no papers.

There are not many checks made late at night, or during the day for that matter.

A couple of weeks ago at Scakville place a taxi pulled up and noticed that the car in front did not give him Last.
(I won't explain here)
He got out and asked him and while he was doing that he noticed he had no meter in the car, or ID or yellow stickes on his windscreen.
So he walked up to a few of the drivers, told his story and asked them to get out and look casual, but be ready to pounce on the driver if he tried to leave.
As he was giving the Garda the car reg the driver tried to drive away, but they caught him.
A car with a stolen roof sign, no taxi insurance,no taxi licence.
God knows where this was going to end.

I had the 2 who were robbing taxi drivers in my taxi a few years ago. One was black and mute I got worried and felt something was wrong so I pointed to the CC TV camera which was pointing at them.

They decided to get out instead of going down to O'Reilly cottages.
Even gave a tip, lucky me.

Good news is that they caught the syringe robbing scumbag who robbed 6 drivers recently. I had noticed the Garda checks but I did not know why they were looking for.
I would say he will get the hiding of his life when he is locked up.

After all its the likes of him that give criminals a bad name.

Thats all for now folks except to say that Tuesday morning will be special in Dublin.
Every taxi is asked to start work and work all morning.

This is to show the Taxi regulator just how many taxis there are in the capital.

I was just correcting a few of the links on my Blogroll, people keep moving on to different hosts and when I make changes some links get knocked off.

When I get more time I will correct them again.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Lotto panic

I think thisis the Guinness coat of arms in St.Annes park

Traveller graves in Kells Co. Meath

May day,the workers holiday.
All Friday will be busy until it gets gridlocked at around 3pm.
Enjoy yourselves you lucky wage slaves.

Remember the horse fair will be on in Smithfield this Sunday.

Loads of interest in the Prius car and she uses very little petrol.

I just run this pas you to see what you think.
I pulled into a busy filling station, put in more than e40 worth of petrol and the pump stopped. So I put back the nozzle and pulled up to let the next person in.
At the cash desk I said pump 3 e41. "That pump is in use."
I know that,I filled up before him.
" Look there is nothing on the screen, next please"
She gave me back my money and told me to go.

If it comes out of her wages she won't be a happy camper.

I bumped into a mate on the rank at Heuston. "I'm the one there talking about"
Then he went on
"The taxi driver who won the lotto.
What happened was this.
I was cleaning out the van when a young lad on a bike asked me if I had won the lotto.
Yes it was me says I.
Then he went down to the newsagents where the press were hanging around and they have put the house under siege since.I had gone off to work while this was going on, it is totally crazy.
I went into the Lotto HQ and asked them to put out a statement, but they won't do it.
To make matters worse, the winner has come forward and he has kept his name secret."

So he has all of the hassle of winning the lotto and none of the benefits.

Still I hope he did win it,he is a good guy and a hard worker.
If it was me I would keep my mouth shut tight.

Tuesday 6th of May will be the best morning ever to get a taxi!
A protest has been arranged and every taxi in Dublin is requested to turn up for work, this is to show the regulator just how many taxis there are in the city.

Here is something for you Northsiders to think about click here

Here is another one,this one has started work. look

Taxi drivers will soon have to know self defence training starts here