The other day I discovered that holy grail of transportation, that unicorn of the taxi world, that fictional character I had only previously heard of until now – a truly, utterly honest cabbie. This isn’t to say I have never ridden with one before, this is simply the first time I realized my good fortune. Perhaps my being sober had something to do with it.
Fortunately he looked nothing like this...
I was exiting a fast food joint on Oxford Street, having procured myself a cheese burger for the road, when I hailed that fateful vehicle. What followed was not the usual awkward exchange with a random, over-charging stranger.
I smugly asked (smug, as if I myself were immune to alcohol) whether he had to deal with many drunks over the weekend. Ultimate Cabbie replied stoically that it’s always a mixed bag. Then, as if sensing how boring his own answer was, UC launched into a crash course in how a taxi driver assesses potential fares.
Sure it featured some serious racial profiling (which I in no way endorse), but it was fascinating to hear how they choose who to pick up.
Using what I learnt from UC, I have put together some handy hints for hopeful passengers…
A Guide To Catching A Cab In Sydney:
1. The easiest way to get a cab is to be an Asian woman.
UC Assessment: They are the passenger of choice because they are polite, don’t cause trouble and pay without argument.
2. The only way being an Asian woman can backfire is if you are sitting down.
UC Assessment: Asian women can’t hold their drink like other people, so if they’re sitting down I just avoid them.
3. If you are an American or Indian passenger, be prepared for an absurd level of honesty.
UC Assessment: They both look for a reason to cry ‘bullshit’.
4. You know how taxi drivers will often pull up a couple of metres from you, forcing you to walk to it? Walk the line, they are watching.
UC Rule: This way I watch a potential fare approach. If a girl staggers or trips over, I just drive off, she’s not worth the $50 you’ll get to charge when she throws up in the car.
5. If you’re French, don’t stand on the side of the road eating a baguette, wearing a beret and conducting a mime performance.
UC Assessment: French people are rude, I just avoid them at all costs.
6. If you’re Irish… look cheerful.
UC Assessment: You can never be sure whether they’re going to start a fight, or invite you in for a drink.
7. If you think you’re going to throw up do it while crossing a bridge – you’re less likely to get kicked out while you’re doing it.
UC Assessment: It’s not worth the headline ‘Cabbie Allows Girl To Get Hit By Car To Avoid Vomit In Vehicle’
8. If you’ve just watched a game of football, it would be better if it was Rugby League, Not Rugby Union
UC Assessment: League fans might seem a little rougher around the edges, but union fans are more likely to be snotty, self-aggrandizing North Shore brats.