London is famous for its iconic black cabs, which offer a convenient and reliable way to get around the city. However, there are some unwritten rules and expectations that cabbies should follow when looking for their next passenger.
As a professional taxi driver, you should always adhere to the cabbie code of etiquette, which is based on common sense and courtesy. The code aims to maintain a fair and orderly system of picking up and dropping off customers, as well as avoiding unnecessary conflicts and disputes with other drivers. Here are some of the dos and don’ts of the cabbie code of etiquette:
Don’t overtake or undertake an empty for hire taxi and take the first available job. This is considered rude and dishonest, as you are stealing the job from the driver who was there first. Wait your turn and have some respect for your colleagues.
Don’t take the first job when an available cab has let you out of a road. This is also seen as unfair and disrespectful, as you are taking advantage of the driver who has just let you enter the flow of traffic. Either ignore the hail and move on or pull over if convenient to allow the driver behind to ply-for-hire.
Don’t set down on the front of a rank and take the first job if taxis for hire are available behind you. This is another form of queue jumping, as you are ignoring the drivers who have been waiting longer than you. Set down at the back of the rank and join the queue.
Don’t pick up within sight of an established working rank with taxis available for hire (except disabled). You should never interfere with the operation of the rank. You can only pick up customers who are disabled or have special needs, such as luggage or children, within 100 feet of a rank.
Don’t broom or push a job either on the street or on a rank to other drivers. Take the rough with the smooth. You should not try to avoid or pass on jobs that you don’t like or that are inconvenient for you. This is unprofessional and dishonest, as you are wasting the customer’s time and money, as well as depriving other drivers of potential jobs.
Don’t drop off and pick up whilst blocking taxis behind that are for hire. Once you pull away, let them pass you. If a customer walks up to you and wants to get in, send them to the taxi behind. This is a matter of courtesy as you are preventing other drivers from picking up customers.
Do always drive on the inside lane unless you are turning right at the next junction. Drivers will then have a clearer understanding of who is plying for hire. This is a simple and effective way to signal your availability and intention to other drivers and customers. Driving on the outside lane can confuse and frustrate other drivers, as they may think that you are not for hire or that you are cutting in front of them.
Do always try to keep a clean cab and tidy appearance. Vests were not appropriate on the Knowledge and neither in a professional taxi trade. This is a basic requirement of being a professional taxi driver, as you are representing yourself and the trade to the public. A clean cab and a tidy appearance can make a positive impression on customers and increase your chances of getting tips and repeat business. A dirty cab and a sloppy appearance can have the opposite effect, as customers may feel uncomfortable and dissatisfied with your service.
Do pick up on feeder ranks. They are ranks in their own right. If a job approaches you and you are at the front of a feeder, it’s yours. A feeder rank is a secondary rank that feeds into a main rank, such as a hotel or a station. They are usually located nearby or adjacent to the main rank, and they are marked by signs or yellow lines. You have the right to pick up customers on feeder ranks, as they are part of the official ranking system. However, you should not pick up customers on unofficial or illegal ranks, such as outside pubs or clubs, as this can cause trouble with the authorities and other drivers.