The Secret World of Taxi Drivers

I learnt a lot on a late-night taxi ride last week.

The UCG – United Cabbies Group – has a protected Twitter feed through which they share tips on hot-spots for good fares in London.

When a big venue turns out, the words goes out: ‘Albert Hall on the burst’ = lots of fares suddenly available.

There is also a taxi driver dialect derived from Cockney rhyming slang:

  • Septics – Yanks – Americans (septic tanks)
  • Sweaties – Jocks – Scots (jock straps)
  • Leatherarses – cabbies who do a huge number of hours
  • Butterboys – newbies who work all hours when they realise the more they work, the more they earn

Taxi drivers are not required by law to wear  a seatbelt. They may urinate in the street if shielded by the cape of a member of the Metropolitan police force. And until 2005, there was a theoretical 6-mile limit on all journeys – the distance that could be expected of a horse after eating one bale of hay.

I read something by Caitlin Moran in which she wrote this to her daughter:

Even if you’re [sat] next to a man who collects pre-Seventies screws and bolts, you will probably never have another opportunity to find out so much about pre-Seventies screws and bolts.

Everyone is an expert in something. 


I only deal in post-Seventies screws and bolts. To find out more, follow @toddmgreen on Twitter or sign up for emails.

Cheers ~ Todd

Author: toddmgreen

I really like making internet projects. I work on apps, games and websites at a TV company. I write stuff, make stuff, and accidentally break stuff. You should probably follow me on Twitter - @toddmgreen.

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