"..a bardy view!"

The Philippines and London Cab Drivers……

Philcab I was impressed by this photograph of a London black cab emblazoned with the Philippines Department of Tourism banner.

There are 50 of these iconic taxis in and around London, and the PDOT ran a free shuttle service with them for VIP guests departing from Buckingham Palace on Royal Wedding Day.

As they said, the event was watched by 2 billion people, so as an advert it was an opportunity not to be missed. These cabs have been floating around the capital since 2005, and are regarded as one of the most successful institutional projects ever initiated by the London PDOT.

There are many London taxis with advertising on their livery, but few are as eyecatching as this one. As a mobile advert its hard to beat. There may only be 50 out of the thousands on the roads, but that's 50 promotional messages being read every minute of everyday throughout Greater and Central London.

I jumped into one when I landed at Heathrow on one occasion. London cabbies are not slow in starting a conversation, so when I was asked where I had travelled from, I took immense delight by saying that it was the same place that's advertised on his cab. He went on to say that he'd only been carrying it for a few days, and I was his first customer (to his knowledge) who had actually been there.

Well its only a 20 minute drive from Heathrow to home, and we spent it talking about the Philippines.

He remarked that he was surprised how many people had mentioned how great his cab looked. He said it was a talking point especially on a cold, dismal wet and windy day. He said he almost chose to advertise a well known insurance company instead, but he figured that wouldn't have the same impact. I agreed.

I wouldn't be too keen to board a cab advertising an accident claim company for example.

I'm not greatly enamoured with London cabbies, for the simple reason that they wait for ages in the queues at the airport, and the last thing they want when they have moved up the line is to get a customer who's only going 6 miles.

Their disappointment is visible – almost aggressive, because they are after a fare to take to a west end hotel, and return another back to the airport. They don't get that with me, because I'm equidistant between the two, so they find themselves in cab limbo-land. Do they head on to central London after dropping me off or return to Heathrow? My heart bleeds for them.

The fact is they can't refuse me, so to compensate there loss, they will hit the fare  button and then mess about making a meal about positioning my luggage, and then wander off and have a conversation with another driver, on the pretext that it was crucial to their existance. By the time we drive off, there is already an £8 surcharge accumulated.

So I get the tube home now – even though I have to struggle with luggage on the escalators.

But back to my Philippine's friendly cabbie. On arrival home he even carried my luggage to the front door – a very rare move – and he received a handsome tip.

"Thanks guv'nor" he said, doffing his imaginary cap. London cabbies – dontcha just love 'em!


May 9, 2011 - Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Events, Humour, London, The Philippines, Travel, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I’m loving how you said that Filipino cabbies are friendly.. Yes, there are still some who embodied humility and patience to their passengers that is very rare now. Every time I would go on a ride in a taxi.. I always wishing for a taxi driver is just in his services esp here where fares are paid through meters.:)


    Comment by NAIZA | May 12, 2011 | Reply

  2. NAIZA, he is not talking about Filipino cabbies but British cabbies with Philippine ads on the livery of their cabs.
    Great article tho, hopefully this project could be implemented in more cities. 😉


    Comment by Ryan Buaron | May 16, 2011 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: