When you’re living in the countryside getting a taxi is a bit more complicated than in the city where all you need to do is stick out an arm. No, invariably you have to book in advance, sometimes more than a day beforehand. One of the reasons why this might be is the taxi company in Church Stretton doubles as the undertakers, and when I was younger they drove the school bus too. The Welfare State may no longer guarantee to look after us from the cradle to the grave, but Morris and Son are willing to fill the breach. When I did manage to get organised enough to book one of their taxis I did think about asking them if they ever had to bring the hearse out for a taxi trip – perhaps if their regular car(s) broke down, but I guessed they’d probably heard the joke too many times.
Perhaps they also need the money on the side because they have broken the cardinal rule for taxi companies – having a name that goes right at the top of the alphabetical list in the phone book. This desperation is now getting to ridiculous levels. Old favourites like A2B and ABC taxis are being pushed down the list by more imaginative firms. I’m looking at the Shropshire Yellow Pages now (time hangs heavy) and A2B are only 4th, with ABC behind them. Just ahead are AAA Shrewsbury Taxis which at least looks like it could stand for something, but they are trumped by AAAAAA R&J of Shrewsbury who have abandoned all pretence of dignity in a desperate bid to get first place. Sadly, their efforts are in vain as they still fall behind AAAAAA 1st 4 Taxis who are clearly masters of the post-literate txtspk world. The multiple ‘A’ trick undoubtedly works, but I’m a little unsure that calling your firm something that resembles a scream of terror is going to encourage business.
One trick no-one seems to have used is going from the start of the dictionary and having Aardvark Taxis. Perhaps they fear that it will give people the impression of some kind of rickshaw, pulled by one of these: