Konrad Marshall: My week at the wheel begins in darkness, at 3.50am on a Monday on an industrial side street in Richmond, out the front of a small taxi depot opposite a panel shop and a dumpling factory.
I’m a little nervous about my first shift. Such apprehension is not unexpected. The taxi company I work for provides a handout designed to walk virgin cabbies through their lonely beginnings – a leaflet entitled: It’s my first shift! What do I do?
I should know exactly what to do. I recently finished 12 days of intensive ”taxi school” training in an old shopfront office in Clifton Hill. I know all the rules and statutes that govern cabbies. (Did you know it’s a $153 fine for a driver to be out of uniform?) I am familiar with the on-board MT-Data computer system and EFTPOS terminal. I’ve passed every road test and written assessment, and studied the street directory as a medical intern might study Gray’s Anatomy. I am now a master of the Melway – a qualified, registered metropolitan taxi driver.