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London’s oldest cabbie gives it up after 70 years

driver1.jpgLondon’s oldest black cab driver has finally decided enough is enough and given up his taxi licence after 70 years. Alfred Collins is 92 years old and has been a London cabbie since 1937. He actually picked up his last fare two years ago but still kept the cab licence until now, it has to be renewed every three years.

It must have been a hell of a lot easier driving in London when Alfred started, even in the 1970s and early 80s there was probably one car to every two households, nowadays its more like each house has two or three car owners living there and the roads are just not designed for that volume of traffic.

I’m sure Alfred made a good living in his time as a London cabbie, most of them seem pretty well off and to become one takes some time and effort, putting in the days and hours to pass the test known as The Knowledge.

I wonder if he has any idea though on how the Public Carriage Office comes up with their formula for working out the fare tariffs for journeys in London. There are three depending on the day of the week and the time of day you take a cab. Here’s how the fare is worked out for travelling between 6am-8pm, Monday-Friday,

For the first 321.0 metres or 69.0 seconds (whichever is reached first) there is a minimum charge of £2.20;
For each additional 160.5 metres or 34.5 seconds (whichever is reached first), or part thereof, if the fare is less than £14.00 then there is a charge of 20p;
Once the fare is £14.00 or greater then there is a charge of 20p for each additional 112.5 metres or 24.2 seconds (whichever is reached first), or part thereof.

Who settled on numbers like 160.5 metres, 34.5 seconds or 24.2 seconds. Next time I take a cab I may just have to start my stopwatch.