Visit London Blog » london taxi drivers http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 Black Cab Wisdom: Interview with Blogger, Author and Cab Driver Mark Solomon http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/07/black-cab-wisdom-interview-with-blogger-author-and-cab-driver-mark-solomon/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/07/black-cab-wisdom-interview-with-blogger-author-and-cab-driver-mark-solomon/#comments Tue, 10 Jul 2012 15:00:15 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=27658

Mark Solomon has driven a black cab in London for 13 years. If you take a ride in his taxi, he won’t just be asking you for the fare, but for your favourite quote as well! Mark records the quotes in his blog, www.blackcabquotes.com and has published a book called Black Cab Wisdom. We talked to Mark to find out more about the project.

Why did you start collecting the quotes?
I’ve always enjoyed hearing and reading inspirational quotes and phrases. In September 2009, I picked up a worldly-wise North American passenger, and for some reason I had an overwhelming urge to ask him for the best bit of advice he’d ever been given. It was a time when I had a need for purpose and direction, as well as reassurance that I was making the most of my time in the cab.

Do you ask someone for a quote at the start or end of the journey?
I’ve developed a verbal pitch to encourage passengers to share quotes (and excuse them if it’s not their thing). I normally ask them at the beginning of the journey in order for them to have time to think of something. At the beginning, I was documenting these on bits of scrap paper. I then introduced a clipboard, which I placed on the back seat with a sheet of blank A4 paper and Biro attached.

Are most people happy to provide quotes?
Ninety-five percent of my passengers provide quotes – the other five percent are either on the phone or smooching! Most are surprised and excited that such a project exists, and all seem to be honoured to participate. It was the passengers’ support at the beginning of the project that ensured its continuation. The passengers also gave me the belief that the concept would make a great book.

What are your favourite quotes?
“A moment’s action is worth more than a year of thought.” I’m a good ideas man but not the greatest implementer, so this one boots me up the backside!

“What other people think of you is none of your business.” Most of us at some time or another have lost sleep over what other people think of us but this quote can eradicate any inferiority issues.

“Don’t raise your voice improve your argument.” We could all do with practising this one a bit more!

“Don’t mistake existing for living.”  Hmmm, this one is definitely food for thought…

How has the project changed your life?
The project has completely changed my life. I’d dreamt of one day writing a book, but never thought it would come in this form. The project makes me feel like a purposeful cab driver, and creates a harmonious vibe between driver and passenger. It has completely spiced up the job. The words of wisdom I have received from my passengers now play a big part in the way I live my life.

Why did you decide to start a blog? How did the project turn into a blog and then a book?
Once I started asking for quotes, the passengers began to direct the whole project! They told me I should start a blog so people could follow the project’s progress. I’m the type of person who needs to produce and share creativity, so the blog was a perfect way to do this.

It was also the passengers who suggested that I turn the project into a book and convinced me that it would be a successful one. Passengers with journalistic or publishing knowledge gave me advice on how to put a book proposal together. I then found out about the London Book Fair, where I met a publisher from Summersdale, who specialise in this type of book.

Fortunately for me, they liked my proposal.

Find out more on Mark’s blog at www.blackcabquotes.com or check out the book Black Cab Wisdom.

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Bermuda in London: Pink Taxi Cabs http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/12/bermuda-in-london-pink-taxi-cabs/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/12/bermuda-in-london-pink-taxi-cabs/#comments Wed, 08 Dec 2010 12:46:40 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=17817

London’s cabbies are famous for their black cabs and “the Knowledge” – an incredible memory of thousands of streets and routes that takes several years to acquire.

But you might have spotted a few pink cabs among their ranks in the capital during the last few months.

The pink taxis are sponsored by the Bermuda Department of Tourism and feature an image of Bermuda shorts and the catchphrase “Feel the Love”.

Bermuda Department of Tourism sent seven lucky cab drivers to Bermuda this October to visit the country’s beaches, play golf and learn more about the island. They got to enjoy all this from the back seat for a change, as Bermudian taxi drivers drove them around the island.

Now the cabbies are back in London, driving the pink cabs and eager to share their newfound knowledge of Bermuda.

Cabbie Mark Williams said:

Bermuda was an absolutely beautiful country. Driving a bright pink cab always causes a stir and customers are always asking questions about it so now I’ll be able to tell them all about the island. I’ve already told people all about the cocktails, beaches and golf out there.

Have you been in one of the pink cabs? Do you know anywhere else you can have a Bermudian experience in London? Tell us in the comments below.

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Science Museum: London Cab Drivers and The Knowledge http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/06/science-museum-london-cab-drivers-and-the-knowledge/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/06/science-museum-london-cab-drivers-and-the-knowledge/#comments Fri, 25 Jun 2010 09:00:52 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=9817

On the eve of the new Who Am I? galleries opening at the Science Museum, Jenny Wong, Content Developer of the gallery, explores how London cab drivers learn The Knowledge.

“Everyone recognises the black cab as a London icon, but have you ever wondered what makes London cabbies different from the rest of us?

Science Museum staff caught up with seasoned cab driver Al Fresco and a novice taxi driver in action for the Who Am I? gallery to bring the story of London taxi drivers’ brains to life.

In order to become a cabbie, you have to remember “the Knowledge” – 320 routes and all notable landmarks in the six-mile radius around Charing Cross Station. After achieving this feat of memory and surviving a gruelling face-to-exam at the Public Carriage Office, wannabe cab drivers gain their licence to start taking fares.

So what does this process do to you? Scientist Eleanor Maguire scanned London taxi drivers brains to find out. Using a technique known as MRI scanning, she investigated an area of the brain called the hippocampus which supports spatial navigation and memory. The back of this small, seahorse shaped area of the brain was bigger as a result of the learning each taxi driver had been through.

Something to think about next time you’re in the back of a black cab…”

The new Who Am I? gallery is open from 26 June 2010. Visit www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/whoami for more information

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