LOGAN - A pair of local taxi drivers met with a cabbie from another continent this week at the Columbus Washboard Company to talk about their industry.
LOGAN — A pair of local taxi drivers met with a cabbie from another continent this week at the Columbus Washboard Company to talk about their industry.
Columbus Washboard Company Factory Manager James Martin’s father, Barry, came to Logan for a visit from his home in London, England, and wanted to meet a cab driver from the United States while here.
James and his wife, Tara, contacted Logan Mayor Martin Irvine to see if anyone from Logan’s five-month-old cab service would like to meet a London cab driver during his visit.
Adam Anderson, the owner of DayNite Cab Company, said he got a call from Irvine asking if he would like to meet with Barry, who has been a cab driver in London for 44 years. Anderson said he and DayNite Operations Manager Mike Adams would be happy to meet him and “compare apples to apples.”
“When I first started searching the business and looking at things from a customer service standpoint, the UK and Australia have the best cab services in the world,” Anderson said.
The main differences the three cab drivers noticed were how they find customers, as well as some regulations.
“The way we work is completely different,” Barry said. “Most of (Anderson’s) work is on the telephone, pre-bookings and that sort. Ours is more off the street. I drive into town and will be looking for street hales.”
Barry said cab drivers in London are highly regulated, from having to have a specific cab and getting it registered every year.
“It took two years to get a license in London when I got mine. It has gone up now because more people are wanting to do it. It takes four years to get a license now in London,” Martin said.
“In Logan, it takes $25 and a willingness to drive,” Anderson said.
Barry said the cabs in London are specifically designed for narrow streets and numerous U-turns, so he has no choice over what vehicle he can drive.
Anderson said he had to put thought into what vehicle and engine he wanted for his cab.
Adams added that safety regulations and inspection guidelines for the vehicles are the same. All agreed that no cab company wants what Barry called “cowboy drivers.” They also agreed that, despite the different culture, cab drivers, like bartenders, are fill-in therapists.
“People will tell us something because they know we aren’t going to repeat it to anyone,” Barry said.
Barry and Anderson both said they enjoy meeting new people every day and serve all levels of society. Barry said he has given rides to royalty that he picked up at Buckingham Palace and also people from the poorest section of London.
“I have picked up people that want to go to the casino and will spend $300 to go up there and back,” Anderson said. “Then I get people who are trying to get the change together for the $3 trip across town.”
Barry said he was glad to have a chance to hear from a cab driver with a different perspective after he and his daughter, Elizabeth, spent 15 hours traveling from London to Logan.
“When Barry first got here, I said to him ‘You traveled all this way to talk about work? Maybe we should go out for a little trigger therapy,’” Anderson said.
Anderson and Adams drove the Martins out to a driving range in their cab and shot Anderson’s collection of guns, including a Colt 1911, .44 Magnum and .30-30 Winchester.
“I have never seen guns and rifles like that before in my life. And don’t expect I ever will again unless I come back,” Barry said.
Firearms are not as easily accessible in England; Elizabeth said only law enforcement and criminals have guns like that.
Barry said he enjoyed the shooting experience as well as talking to Anderson about his business.
“You are doing well and having a positive attitude is a big bonus. If you can go into it thinking you are going to win, you are going to win,” Barry said.