Dumb it down
Is it true you can shut taxi-drivers up with the push of a button?
A new and unique initiative to shut taxi drivers up is being rolled out in the UK, but what does it entail and will it be coming to Ireland anytime soon?
So what’s all this about shutting taxi-drivers up with the push of a button?
Shutting taxi-drivers up is a unique initiative which is being rolled out by a London cab firm called GreenTomatoCars. Basically, some of their ‘green cabs’ (most likely a fleet of Toyota Prius’) have a special sign fitted in between the driver’s seat and the passenger side seat that tells the driver if their customer is up for a chat (pictured above).
Wait, so they have signs to tell them when to talk? Explain…
Yes, they do. When the customer hops into the cab they can either change the sign to say ‘Talk’ or if they’re not in the humour of chatting to the cabbie they can change the sign to read ‘Don’t Talk’. Simple as.
Okay, but why would you need a ‘Talk/Don’t Talk’ sign in the first place?
Well, mainly because GreenTomatoCars recently commissioned a survey that asked the public about how reserved they are. It’s a common stereotype to call the British over-polite (the Irish suffer from it too, at times) so many people end up talking to the taxi driver for the duration of the trip when all they want is some peace and quiet. However, GreenTomatoCars is talking the embarrassment out and putting a form of politeness into telling the cabbie to “shut the f*ck up” - all thanks to the new signs which are in a few of their cars.
Are they in every car?
Not yet, but they hope to install them into their whole fleet if the initiative is successful. In fairness, we can’t see it being a failure.
Is this a serious thing or are GreenTomatoCars trying to pull a quick one on us?
Well, here’s what the GreenTomatoCars managing director, Johnny Goldstone, had to say: “It’s a bit of fun, but has a serious underside. People are more likely to tell a waiter they don’t like the food or ask for the service charge to be removed than they are to tell a driver that they would prefer to sit in silence. Our customers pay for our service in the same way they pay in a restaurant so we want them to feel equally comfortable.”
Sounds like he’s doing some damage control by saying it’s light-hearted with a serious underside. Still, we can see it becoming a fairly big success.
Will the ‘Talk/Don’t Talk’ signs feature in Irish cabs anytime soon?
Not that we we’re aware of. However, with taxi firms over here doing everything they can to entice customers into their cabs (20 per cent discounts, free apps etc.) we wouldn’t be surprised if they all had a talk/don’t talk function in the not too distant future. At least you wouldn’t have to ask the driver how long he's been working for or what time he finishes up.
We have a feeling the green side may gather some dust