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  • Writer's pictureDamian Brzeski

Taxi equipment - Taxi drivers don't talk about it out loud, but everyone should have it...

Taking a taxi is not only a way to quickly get around the city. Each taxi driver is not only a master driver, but also the owner of a mysterious arsenal of equipment unknown to most passengers.


In this article, we delve into the secrets of a profession that may seem simple at first glance, but in fact has many non-obvious aspects.


We will look at both basic and lesser-known elements of taxi equipment that guarantee the safety and comfort of both the driver and passengers.


From the TAXI lamp that allows you to see the fare from a distance, through protection against potentially dangerous passengers, to the tools necessary in emergency situations, every detail has its importance. We discover the secrets of the taxi driver's profession, but also draw attention to how important it is to properly prepare the vehicle for work.


We invite you to read it, which will shed new light on the profession of a taxi driver and help you understand why certain elements of equipment, although not always visible at first glance, are absolutely crucial for the safety and efficiency of work.



Taxi on the street in Gdańsk

Necessary equipment for a taxi, are you sure you have everything?


TAXI lamp


First, let's start with the basics. Are you sure that your car is marked exactly as it should be? Does all car equipment meet the requirements of the local transport authority?


It may seem like such a prosaic matter as marking a car, but you don't have to look very long to meet a taxi driver in the city who apparently read different regulations than me.


The resolution of the Gdańsk City Council clearly describes what the correct marking of a car should look like.


It used to seem obvious to me, but apparently the latest recruitment of taxi drivers studied different regulations and also have different customs. The TAXI lamp is to be white or yellow. This also applies to the backlight.


The TAXI inscription on this lamp should be visible on both sides, the lamp itself should be placed on the roof of the vehicle (not inside, on the dashboard or on the rear shelf), and most importantly: facing the direction of travel.


When the so-called taxi lamp The "gate" is connected to a traditional taximeter, it should be integrated in such a way that it turns on when the taxi is FREE and turns off when it is OCCUPIED.


I am ashamed of the drivers who so-called They treat the rooster - the most recognizable symbol of this profession - as a necessary evil, and sometimes they even ridicule themselves and others by placing this device in the most bizarre ways.


I can really understand a lot, but a yellow or white rooster with the inscription TAXI should be proudly presented and not worn casually. If the driver treats the symbol of his job this way, how does he treat the passenger?


Price list and other markings on the glass


In the following points, I will focus on the taxi market in Gdańsk. Unfortunately, there is no single national taxi marking pattern.


Each commune establishes its own regulations for taxi services, which describe in detail everything related to the carrier and its passenger.


Likewise , there is no such thing as a nationwide taxi license. In each city in which you provide services, you are required to have a license for the area of that city/municipality.

I will not go into details - whether we like it or not, as an entrepreneur you are obliged to know the regulations that apply to you.


Coming back to the taxi markings. The regulations adopted by the Gdańsk City Council clearly describe how, where, what and in what dimensions the markings are to be placed.


There's really nothing to complain about. In many cities, you have to cover your car with stripes, mermaids or other coats of arms. In Gdańsk, you are only obliged to have a price list visible on BOTH SIDES to the passenger on the right rear window.


“Inside the vehicle, on the rear right door window, in the upper left corner, there should be a double-sided sticker informing about the fees. It is prohibited to place any markings other than those specified in this resolution on the lowering window of the rear right door of a taxi, with the exception of information about applicable discounts (dimensions no larger than 130 mm x 40 mm).”


Below you will find an additional sticker with information about the office's telephone number in case of a complaint.


You are obliged to place a sticker with the city's coat of arms and side number in a visible place on both sides of your vehicle. In Gdańsk, there is no exact place to place this sign.


However, it is a good practice to stick it on the rear side "non-lowering window" or as a magnet on the C-pillar.


ID


This is something new when it comes to Gdańsk. Previously, IDs were issued within certain corporations. After the last change in regulations, every taxi driver is obliged to have his or her current ID badge visible to passengers.


It's really a shame that a taxi driver would have to explain such basics to other taxi drivers, but unfortunately many of our colleagues ignore it.


The second thing is that thanks to our friends from transport applications, passengers have become accustomed to the fact that a taxi is a car that sometimes has markings and sometimes does not have them, and that there is a Georgian or Ukrainian behind the wheel, and if you want to talk, you have to use Google Translate.

Modernity…


Taxi lamp - Gapa

Do you care enough about your safety?


After this slightly long but necessary introduction, let's move on to more pleasant topics.

How many times have you had the pleasure of traveling with a drunk or high passenger? How many times in your career has someone knocked you down? Have they ever tried to rob you?


If none of these things happen, don't worry, your time will come.


It so happens that you work in a profession that involves certain risks. The truth is that the cheaper the company you work for, the greater the risk of pathology.


Honestly... this is a profession where you always have to keep your eyes peeled because you never know which course may be your last.


And remember one thing: I don't want to scare you here, I just want you to take it to heart. The question is not "if" but "when" a dangerous situation with a passenger will happen to you.


What could go wrong?


You never know what's going to happen tonight, so you'd better be prepared for the worst. The rest of the taxi drivers died and had their throats cut in the middle of the day in the forest outside the city.

What am I most afraid of? A noose around the neck and a knife.


Imagine the situation: a passenger sits behind you. You set off, after a while the guy puts a steel rope around your neck and puts his foot on your chair. You're about to lose consciousness.


I guarantee you that you will not win in such a situation with a steel cable or even a belt tightened - forget about the cartoons from YouTube - you are already done.


Second situation.


Again, the passenger sits behind your seat. You're driving, you look in the mirror - the guy is nervous. Thoughts of what will happen are already swirling in your head. He'll probably give up at the crossroads. The doors of your car lock tightly as soon as you start driving.


At some point, when you are focusing your eyes on the car in front of you, the passenger pulls out a wallpaper knife and cuts your neck from ear to ear. You have at most half a minute to live.


You'll probably say that I'm scaring you and trying to discourage you - nothing like that. I'm writing this guide to make things better for all of us and to make you safer.


Remember the most important thing: it's not how much you earn, the most important thing is that you come home as often as you leave it.


So how can you protect yourself against an attack from behind?


Have you ever seen what taxis look like in countries where such dangers are even more common?


An ordinary taxi partition will be a huge obstacle for a potential opponent. Many people wonder why I still have Plexiglass installed, even though the pandemic is over and I have been vaccinated with four doses.


Here's your answer - before your opponent breaks the barrier, you have time to react.

Buy clothes with high collars, wear turtleneck sweaters in winter.


In Poland, access to firearms is very difficult, and a gun kept in the right place is the best means of defense in many cases.


But that doesn't mean you're completely helpless. I always have pepper spray on hand.

Honestly, if I had a rope around my neck, I would press the gas pedal and throw the car straight into a wall or a tree. The patient will probably fall through the glass.


The passenger gave up


A classic case, you arrive at the address indicated by your passenger or passengers. The door opens and you just say goodbye to your money.


Before you analyze the situation, turn off the engine and jump out of the car, two young adrenaline-filled clowns are already about 50 meters away.


Ok, I know people who caught up with the escapees, but for some reason most of them got hit in the head, and only a few won at the start.


Don't forget that your opponent will not be an old woman, but a young, strong man or two charged with adrenaline, alcohol and God knows what else. Honestly, if you're not good at martial arts, don't give up, everyone can do it.


In fact, don't call yourself a taxi driver if someone has never escaped from you.


Passengers can also show their cleverness and inventiveness


My favorite story is the one told by one of my colleagues. In the evening, a couple boarded at the station in Wrzeszcz. He had a large, heavy suitcase in the trunk.

They ordered a route to Słupsk because, as they said, they would not have to wait a few hours for the next train. The only problem is that they don't have cash with them because they didn't expect that the plane would be late and they would have to take a taxi instead of a train.


But when we get there, my wife will run home and bring the cash.


My friend quickly analyzed the situation - good course, a suitcase in the trunk, and he would still have one of the passengers there as security. Of course, it's a long way, so they agreed on an amount for the trip.


They talked nicely all the way, so when they arrived at the address, my friend was calm. As agreed - the passenger's wife went to get the money, entered the tenement house, the lights in the staircase turned on.


But a good few minutes pass and it doesn't go away. It's late, everyone's tired, so the passenger says to my friend, "You know how it is with women, he'll come in and start talking and forget about God's world. I'll go get it because we'll have to wait until the morning," the friend agreed, because they wouldn't escape without their suitcase.


Well, at that moment your hard-earned money became a memory. The suitcase turned out to be found in some dumpster, stuffed with grease and some brick or something to give the impression.


Taxi in a dark street

How to level the playing field against bandits?


Remember one thing: if someone wants to rob you or hurt you, they often create a scenario in their head before they get in your car. He will surely surprise you, because he will choose the moment to attack. It's different in a fight with stoned people, you have a chance to sense this in advance.


But the worst thing is the passenger, whose brain will boil and he will go crazy. In a time when even drugs aren't what they used to be, you never know who will fail. In fact, if someone consumes a line of some crap with a liter of vodka, it may turn out that he will become immortal.


I personally know a case where two large drivers tried to deal with a teenager with the stature of a broom stick while stopping. One of them held him by the neck, the other beat him on the liver, and the young man got up from the ground, holding a hundred-kilogram peasant on his back.

You really have to be afraid of drugged people.


Pepper spray


Basic equipment for every taxi driver. Good gas is not the largest cylinder or the most powerful. A good gas is one that you always have at hand.


Privately, I recommend gel gas - if you need to use it outside the car, it will travel further and will not come back to you with the wind. It also works more effectively because it sticks to clothes and face.


The instructions for use say not to aim at someone's eyes. This can seriously damage your eyesight. This is important information when you encounter a guy with a knife in front of you.


The downside of the gas is that it doesn't work when you have a player thoroughly pumped with adrenaline or drugs.


Personally, I also know crazy people who were able to apply some gas to themselves at the shooting range and check whether they would still be able to shoot accurately at a distance of 25 meters.


Expandable baton


Probably the most effective legal self-defense device in Poland.

It is light, handy and can be used instinctively, even without training.


Moreover, it stimulates the imagination when you face a clown with a knife and unfold the "bar" with one move. I'm sure your opponent will at least think twice.


Do not buy sticks in the form of springs with a rubber ball at the end. They are uncomfortable and also ineffective. Neither is a coupon for white policemen. They were good for shipyard workers, not for drugged-up teenagers.


A police tonfa is not a good solution either. It's really a driving school to use it.


The best stick is a relatively long one, necessarily hardened, with a comfortable handle and non-slip surfaces. It should have a steel tip, not a rubber ball.


The advantage of a baton is that often the psychological effect itself can protect you. You won't have to fight in close quarters. And in the worst case scenario, a meter-long club will reach your opponent's head faster than he would reach you with a 15-centimeter knife.


Taser


You may disagree with me, but in my opinion it's money down the drain. Well, unless you buy a stun gun with firing electrodes, but now I'm not sure whether it's not covered by the Office of Biology and Anti-Virus (UOBiA).


The worst ones are the flashlights with stun guns. Believe me, you're more likely to hurt yourself than a potential attacker.


Knife


Seriously, if you are thinking about buying a knife as a self-defense device, I advise against it.

First, the legal issue. If you attack a drunk teenager with a knife, or worse yet, stab him, you better have a good lawyer.


In fact, the right to self-defense in Poland is one thing, and court decisions are another.


Besides, a knife fight is not a weekend boxing sparring - commandos learn it for years.

Finally, a large foldable knife lying on top in the car raises a million questions during every police check. And you will probably be considered a bandit.


A taxi trunk filled with junk

Do you think you have everything you need in your car?


Now that we've got the less pleasant things out of the way, let's now focus on making money.

The most important thing is that the car is in good working order. What's your ideal plan for a weekend evening when you grab two slippers on Friday after 8 p.m.?


Even if you have a new euro, bought a while ago from a showroom, some misfortune or even a stupid failure may happen, which will immobilize you just at the moment when most orders come in.

You'll probably say what car assistance, 24/7 mobile repairs or a courtesy car are for.


Everything's great, but the truth is that if you catch a slipper just as a concert at Polsat Arena or a large party at Ergo Arena or the Amphitheater in Sopot is ending, you don't have time to wait a few hours.


You have to go back to where the customers are and make money. The next such event will take place in a few months.


Spare wheel


There's no substitute for a real, full-size spare tire. Replacing one while it is in the trunk takes an efficient driver 15-20 minutes and then you're on your way.


How many of us carry a spare tire? There's probably no room in the trunk because of the gas cylinder, because the manufacturer only provided a repair kit?


A can of repair kit won't do anything if you slash the tire. Additionally, it can kill pressure sensors if you have them in the fans.


Tire repair kit


There are several types, but I recommend the cheapest and simplest one based on "butyl string".

Most often, air loss is caused by a nail, screw or rod that punctures the tire cord.


A butyl pin will solve the problem once and for all, if you place it correctly, you will be able to ride on such a tire until the next replacement.


Repair kit in the form of a liquid sealant. Good quick topic, but I wouldn't use it on cars with air sensors. In my opinion, there is too much risk of damaging the sensor.


Self-start


It's worth having with you, especially in winter, if not for you, then for your potential client.

When winter comes, every corporation starts to hear calls asking for help with start-up.


With a self-start and jumper cables, this service will take you 5 minutes and a few dollars in your wallet.


Jumper cables and tow rope


Two items that are not mandatory by law, but no professional driver should set off without having them in the trunk. Invest in good, long, but also thick jumper cables.


I guarantee you that they will pay off with interest after the first winter.

The tow rope does not have to be used for towing. Personally, I do not provide such a service because I have a car with a DSG gearbox.


But winter will come and you will pass by a user of all-season tires buried in a snowdrift. If you have a rope, you will help and you will definitely get dinner for it.


Basic tools


I'm not talking about carrying a toolbox with you, but literally the most basic tools.


About two screwdrivers - flat and Phillips, pliers, pincers, a sharp knife, scissors, basic wrenches. It's also worth buying a small adjustable wrench. Personally, I take such a set of tools, put it in a plastic bag, wrap it in a rag so that it doesn't make any noise and put it in the trunk next to the spare wheel.


I can't even count how many times it saved four letters for me or one of my friends. It's a stupid thing, recently I couldn't unscrew the nut from the valve, if it weren't for the pliers I wouldn't have moved it in China, it was stuck like that.


Try-try-tka and more


It's a new car, so you won't be carrying half of your garage with you, right?

Some time ago I had a situation where two badgers jumped out in front of my hood and all I could do was choose which one to hit.


Hitting such an animal is like exploding a grenade, if it weren't for the fact that I had a few things: zip ties and Duct Tape, I would probably have to wait for a tow truck and the passenger would have to order another taxi to the airport.


Wet wipes, paper towel and other cleaning accessories


It may seem obvious, but in fact these are some of the most important subjects in our work.

Passengers are different and, let's say, in different conditions. If you think that glass cleaner is only suitable for cleaning windows, you are wrong.

 

In an emergency, you can use it to clean your car of a peacock left by a drunk English woman.


In my car organizer, I have a whole arsenal of resources for keeping a taxi clean, but the minimum is paper towels, wet wipes and spray-spray on the windows.

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