You may think that amazing taxi stories to tell would be left mainly for the drivers that do the late-night weekend shift where too much alcohol can lead to people doing the strangest things and in many cases taxi drivers seeing and feeling the brunt of it. But, you would be wrong.
Here are some astonishing facts about taxis and taxi driving.
The profession of the taxi driver is not safe. The murder rate among the taxi drivers belongs to the highest of all occupations.
According to a 2013-study published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine, in the year 2010 the murder rate was 7.4 per 100,000 drivers while the overall rate was 0.37 per 100,000 workers. The study took into account data from 26 major American cities.
That means you are 20 times more likely to get killed at work if you a taxi driver that the average job!! Wow! The lengths some people will go to not to pay the fare. Please may I add that this was an American study and as of writing Door 2 Door Taxis has experienced no such incidents. We are currently looking for new drivers. ?
Similar statistics showing that being a driver is much more dangerous than, say, police officer, have been published in the UK and other countries.
The above study strongly suggests, however, that nowadays the drivers have become safer than just a few years before. For instance, in USA the number of homicide cases diminished recently from 48 in the beginning of the 21st century to 23 in 2013. The improvement is usually attributed to the use of taxicab security cameras.
There have been several candidates to hold the world record for the biggest fare. According to the Guinness World Records, it belongs to three British students — Paul Archer, Johno Ellison and Leigh Purnell, whose trip in a black cab was all around the world.
The fare was nearly £80,000 (above $108300). During their journey, the students also set the record of the highest altitude reached by car. It is now 5,225.4 meters above sea level after they crossed a mountain pass in China.
During their trip, the students have been arrested in Russia and Iran, and their entry to Moldova was blocked (they finally did enter thanks to the intervention of Moldova’s president). In addition, they had to escape from the Taliban.
However, the students have been sponsored, and they apparently went without a regular driver, so the record may be somewhat questionable. On the other hand, they raised £20,000 for charity, which may well be another world record: namely, in raising charity funds “merely” by riding a taxi!
In one of the most famous episodes in history in which taxicabs played a very prominent role, during the battle of Marne in 1914, the French managed to stop attacking German troops. The taxis of Paris transported five battalions of soldiers who provided reinforcements at a critical phase of the battle. During those rides, the taximeters ticked all the time. After the battle, the French government reimbursed a little more than one-fourth of the total fare, amounting to 70,012 francs. But the fare was probably the biggest for its symbolic and historical value, regardless of whether the transport of soldiers by cabs really influenced the outcome of the battle.
It seems that the most expensive taxi cabs go along the streets of cities in Western Europe and Japan. You will pay:
• £6.14 per mile in Zurich, Switzerland;
• £3.93 per mile in Geneva, again Switzerland;
• £3.46 per mile in Tokyo, Japan. Cabs are also very expensive in London –
• £3.44 per mile, Berlin –
• £3.54 per mile, Amsterdam –
• £2.82 per mile as well as in Cologne, Copenhagen, Antwerp (Belgium), and Stuttgart.
The above cities form an infamous most expensive ten. On the other hand, the cheapest taxis can be found in Cairo, Bangkok, Moscow, Mexico City, and Jakarta. In Cairo, for instance, you would pay only a 10p per mile.
Obviously, if you disembark from your airplane having awful jet lag and unwisely try to take just any poorly looking taxi in front of the airport entrance, you may actually establish new records of taxi fare, exceeding by far even the prices in Zurich. And this can happen in almost every city in the world.
The list of most dangerous places to drive a taxi mirrors, to some extent, a similar list of countries where the road accidents appear most frequently. Roads and streets of Eritrea, Libya, Iraq, and Thailand are particularly dangerous with more than 30 deaths per 100,000 residents per year. On the other hand, San Marino, Maldives, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden are very safe places with less than 3 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants in one year.
As mentioned above, driving taxi can also be very dangerous because of the number of deadly attacks committed against taxi drivers. A partial list of the names of murdered drivers is maintained in Taxi Driver Memoriam List where 2422 cases have been identified. Among all states of USA, it seems that the most dangerous place for taxi drivers in the known history has been New York with about 200 fatalities. California and Texas have also been dangerous with more 100 registered deadly attacks. This can be compared with 43 cases in England and 26 in France. On the other hand, Montana and North Dakota certainly are the safe states for taxi drivers since no fatality has ever occurred there.
One can argue that really strangest “thing” ever to be delivered by taxi was a mayor of a city. He was unable to tell the driver his own address. As a result, the driver had to call another member of the city council to get the address and deliver the mayor.
Among other interesting belongings forgotten and left by customers in a taxi, the drivers have found cooked crawfish, cremated ashes, false teeth, living animals, and, last but least, a baby.
And finally, in February 2017, almost a million British pounds was found on the back seat of a black cab in London. Unfortunately, the cash was found not by the driver, but by the police.