I was driving through the city traffic yesterday afternoon when in one of Sydney’s main streets, a taxi just stopped dead in the outside lane with not so much as a hint of indication. Double parking is a curse of inner city streets but doing it in one of the main streets is unbelievable. If it was one of us, you can bet a traffic ranger would have had a ticket on our windscreen faster than Clark Kent in a phone box.

He was collecting damsel in distress who had hailed him and who had bags to be put into the back. Showing  an extraordinary lack of consideration, he sat there while the passenger leisurely put the bags into the boot and got into the back seat.

The cars piled up behind like bowling balls all tooting their horns, waving fists and shouting all sorts of insults, some of which were even in English! In a final act of defiance the driver flipped the bird at those angry enough to have dared to give him a thoroughly good toot. The commotion caused no end of interruption to traffic flow and no end of distress to other motorists. All the while not a single police car passed the scene. Perhaps they were too busy booking non-professional drivers for overstaying a parking metre.

You see it all the time. Taxis crossing double lines, stopping on no stopping zones, running red lights and darting in and out of traffic. On this evenings news one taxis school was placed under a spotlight when it was revealed that all attendees passed their exams. Some didn’t speak English, some didn’t even know what suburb the test were being conducted in.

Once upon a time, regular tests ensured taxis drivers were well versed in the road rules and had their importance impressed on them in no uncertain terms.

The service level seem to have dropped as has the interest they show in those who drive with them. Most of us have given up trying to catch a cab on busy night such as New Years and Australia day and we now feel as though we should apologise for a short ride with a low fare. Drivers now often ask where you’re going before they let you get in.

We need them as part of a properly considered public transport scheme but perhaps those in power should give more thought to tightening regulations. Perhaps some of the Speed Camera revenue could be use to educate the taxi fleet and the drivers who think it is OK to Uturn in front of you.

Never mind, if government have their way, they, and the captains of industry, will be the only ones allowed to drive in the inner city. The rest of us will be forced to use the hopelessly unreliable, and stratospherically expensive public transport system.

Maybe we should all move to the country!