Last week I wrote about the state of many of the taxis which I see plying their trade around our towns and villages.
I complained of drivers incessantly chatting on their mobiles, dirty smelly cars with bits dropping off and drivers who pick up any old fare standing outside in the rain rather than making sure they have the right passengers.
All valid complaints from my almost four decades of using taxis to get home.
This week I am going to ask you all to spare a thought for the drivers themselves.
On most weekend nights they have a great deal to put up with as people who have had too much to drink try to negotiate their way home.
Dirty, smelly passengers with bits dropping off.
Passengers who racially abuse them.
Passengers who threaten them with violence and, in some cases, even carry out those threats.
Passengers who insist on jumping into any old taxi that comes along rather than waiting for the one they have booked.
Passengers who haven’t booked a taxi at all but who think it is OK to jump into the cab I have booked despite the protestations of the driver who knows exactly who I am and exactly where I am going.
Passengers who are so drunk they have forgotten where they live.
Passengers who argue about the fare, even though we have some of the lowest taxi fares anywhere I have ever come across.
Passengers who insist on smoking in their vehicles even though it is illegal.
Passengers who jump in their taxis with drinks taken from the last pub.
And passengers who are so drunk they are physically sick and then complain about how much they are going to have to pay for the car to be cleaned.
I have put these arguments to people who claim they would behave better if the taxis were of a better class and cleaner and tidier to start with.
That is nothing other than a contemptible answer and means that some people just get what they deserve, reaping what they sow.