Dial-a-Cab should be getting used to making it's own history, but Friday
October 29th at 17.33 certainly comes close to topping that chart when the
last of the postal ballot replies went into it's correct pile - fittingly
perhaps into the winning 'yes' pile with almost 1000 others of the same
ilk. In fact, most of the spoiled papers also said 'yes' so the total
number of drivers who were in favour of allowing postal voting for AGM's
could well have exceeded four figures comfortably.
Just two weeks earlier, when crawling through the St Martins
Lane traffic doing my real job of taxi driving, one of our drivers pulled
alongside me and asked which way I was going to vote. I don't do anything
that I am ashamed of and am always happy to talk to anyone about my views.
However, when you only have a few seconds before moving off and as I had
an account passenger in the back, it becomes difficult to have a
meaningful conversation. However, I had no problem telling him that I was
in favour of a new voting system for AGM's. I also added that regardless
of whether I was Call Sign Editor or not, I would always attend AGM's.
"What about effing democracy?" he shouted. Then the
lights changed and we all started inching forward, so I couldn't really
answer. Neither would I even attempt to start giving my view on such an
important subject knowing that I had only several seconds to put them
Had I the time, I would have asked him what he was talking
about? After all, how much more democratic can it be than to give every
subscriber the opportunity to vote on such an important topic. Had those
drivers who couldn't be bothered to vote - and they should be ashamed of
themselves - all voted 'no', the vote would still have been won - so
comprehensive was the 'yes' vote. Isn't that democratic then?
Well no, according to another driver who I was having a
coffee with and who - while most definitely against the rule change - at
least listened to other views.
"Drivers will use the postal vote as an excuse for not attending an
AGM," he said. "there will be no discussion on important topics.
That isn't democratic."
He spoke calmly, without resorting to shouting or swearing, and I could
see his point. But after twenty years on DaC, I am heartily sick of our
AGM voting system where topics that could change the whole future of our
Society are decided by a show of hands. If you could guarantee that every
vote called for would have a huge majority one way or t'other, then there
wouldn't be a problem.
But unfortunately, that isn't the case. Those who were here
when we voted on whether to go forward with Data will remember the EGM
with a smile. We were voting for the very future of Dial-a-Cab. Should we
progress with a data system or not? The vote was close - very close. I
would hazard a guess that even the-then BoM weren't too sure who had won!
The vote was called as carried amongst a virtual riot (of words). But what
if the vote had been called the other way - it was certainly close enough;
where would we be now? The probable answer is that we may well have been
in the same boat as Datacab and now be part of DelGro's City Cab's of
Singapore. We certainly wouldn't have been a major player without going
data when we did. Nobody will ever know for certain which way the vote
That was only one of many split votes through the years. The
point is that hand counts do not work and a card vote at an AGM would be
totally impractical as the count would take hours. I also strongly believe
that voting should be secret. Anyone who denies that there is intimidation
at AGM's among some groups is living in cloud cuckoo land.
I sincerely hope that drivers will still attend AGM's. If
they don't then that is their choice provided they send in their vote. And
that - like it or not - is democracy.
Diabetics, The PCO And Rumours
As Editor of Call Sign, I am delighted that Insulin diabetics
now seem to be winning their
cases to get their licences back and I am proud of the part that this
magazine played. I would
hope that those who now get their licences returned, listen to their body
and act accordingly.
Let me say now that there is nothing regarding the Call Sign
campaign to get these drivers their livelihoods back that I would change.
So I sincerely hope that the coincidence of me getting a 'stop note' on my
cab while it was parked overnight on my driveway just a week after the
last issue published a thank you from the driver who started the ball
rolling, was just that - a coincidence. It was the first 'stop' that I had
had put through my door in my memory - and I've been driving a taxi for 30
The fault was a small leak from a brake calliper. Very
difficult to spot but a fault nevertheless. I had it done and took the cab
to the Penton Street. Firstly, I asked my garage to give the cab a check
to make sure that there were no other problems.
I got to the PCO at 14.00 on a Friday afternoon and the
Carriage Officer put the cab through the mill. It could have been an
overhaul - including a meter run where the CO decided to light a cigarette
without having the common courtesy to even ask. I don't know whether they
are allowed to smoke on duty, but I would have had no problem had he asked
if I minded.
He found four more faults - minor he called them but I would
have to get them done before I could use the cab again. So that meant no
Friday, Saturday or Sunday working.
I also hope the Carriage Officer concerned enjoyed the
weekend trip to Bournemouth that he was discussing with his mates while
finding 'minor' faults with my cab.
Just writing the above makes me feel better and I'm pretty sure that the
'stop' was a coincidence. But the PCO still have a lot to learn when it
comes to behaviour. The man at the top, Roy Ellis, is doing an excellent
job but some of his officers could use a lesson in tact.
Finally, and for the last time this century, may I wish you a Merry
Christmas, and for Jewish drivers, a Happy Chanukah.