Will taxi drivers be feeling the love this Valentine’s Day?
Love is definitely in the air as Valentine’s Day approaches, and taxi drivers are once again getting ready to see the good, the bad and the ugly side of romance.
St Valentine’s Day is the day people around the world celebrate love. Despite its Christian festival origins, today it is all about the commercial side of romance, with couples enjoying meals out or trips away together. There is a surge on the sales of roses and other flowers, as well as a boom in greetings cards and special gifts.
Inspired by an article in the Glasgow Evening Times, we wanted to take a lighter look at Valentine’s Day, and what it means for people now, whether it is their first date, or another special occasion after decades together.
The first thing that jumps out at us is planning. Whether it is buying a special gift or booking a restaurant, hotel or taxi, it can’t be left until the last minute.
And for some reason, taxis are often the key thing that is overlooked on this special occasion. A thoughtfully romantic partner might have reserved a table at a couple’s favourite (and now fully booked) restaurant, but forgot to order a taxi to get them there in time. Frantic calls are made to the local taxi office or frequent swipes of taxi apps are repeated until a taxi is tracked down . . . hopefully in time for their special meal. Table booked for 7pm . . . taxi arriving at 7.30pm might just spoil the occasion.
Taxi secured, it can lead to a definite atmosphere on the way to the restaurant, which we hope won’t spoil the evening.
For those whose taxi booking experience has been less frantic, Valentine’s Day is certainly a memorable occasion for taxi drivers, whether they are in black cabs or private hire vehicles. Because of the planning involved, most people will have booked a private hire vehicle rather than taking the chance of flagging down a passing black cab with its taxi light on.
As drivers arrive to pick up their fares, the start of the evening is usually relaxed with an air of excitement and expectation. Happy couples are dropped at their favourite pubs or eateries where they plan to enjoy their evening, while the drivers head off to collect the next fares.
This scenario is repeated up and down the country, and involves families and friends as well as couples.
But it is usually the journeys home that are more memorable, often for the wrong reasons.
While many couples have enjoyed their night out and are returning home wined, dined and relaxed, this is also the time when the driver discovers that the planned romantic evening has been anything but perfect. And they can usually gauge how an evening has gone as the passengers approach their vehicle.
Some couples will be storming back to the cab either mid-row – or in complete silence. While the driver might struggle to get a word in edgeways with a rowing pair, for those sitting in silence, the atmosphere could be cut with a knife. The only exchanges might be grunting the destination while the rest of the trip remains an awkward hush.
Whether someone said the wrong thing, booked the wrong restaurant or forgot a romantic gesture such as flowers, it is another Valentine’s Day ticked off for Britain’s taxi fleet.
But the fun starts even before the main event – taxi drivers often see people rushing around trying to find gifts at the last minute. It is usually men who have left it late and are often spotted wrapping gifts in the back of a taxi on their way to meet their partner ahead of their special night out!
Whatever you are doing or wherever you are going, the key is to plan ahead. As private hire vehicles aren’t insured unless they are booked in advance, there’s still time to get in touch with the local taxi office to make sure you won’t be disappointed.