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Cabbies need to learn customer service

We've all experienced it. We hop into a taxi, give the driver the destination and he says: "Eh, and where would that be now?"

Infuriating isn't it? So, we shouldn't be surprised that the vast majority of wannabe taxi drivers are failing the new knowledge test they need to pass before they can claim a licence?

As of June 2014 only a measly 22pc are passing. Maybe they think they don't need it?

And with the aid of modern technology, they might be right. Just last week my taxi driver hadn't a notion about the address I needed to get to: "Not to worry, love" says he, "we'll just ask the sat-nav".

The era of sat-navs means that knowing every side street in your area isn't quite as important as it used to be.

So if the National Transport Authority really want to make taxi travel better perhaps they might spend a bit of time on other, more serious, problems experienced by customers.

First up, the taxi-rank that seems to double as an intimidating macho-meeting point.

You probably know the ones I mean, where the lads all hang out, fags in their mouths, chatting amongst themselves, and looking anything but pleased when a potential fare timidly asks if they're free.

Then, when they hear that you're only going a few miles down the road they huff and puff as if it wasn't worth their while to take your money.

Next is when you're forced to say, "yes I do mind", when asked if it's okay if the driver smokes.


Granted, that happens much less often now than it used to, but there are still far too many old taxis that reek of cigarette smoke - evidence that the driver just threw his fag out the window as you approached.

Then there's the situation when you look at the picture of the driver on the dashboard and realise that - unless he's had some pretty amazing facial plastic surgery - the bloke driving is most definitely not the one the taxi is licensed to.

If, like me, you take a taxi because it's safer than walking home alone, this will terrify you into silence as you wonder if he's an ex-con, a potential rapist or just a bloke who's filling in for his sick mate. Needless-to-say, you don't dare ask which.

And finally, there's the 'I'm not a racist but' drivers. These blokes seem to think that they can charge you money to listen to their noxious bigotry about non-Irish drivers. Don't accept it.

The majority of Irish taxi drivers give an excellent service but they're still being badly let down by a large minority who need to learn what the phrase "customer friendly" means.

And it's more than knowing where you're headed.