Meet Your Minicab Driver | London

Sounthone
Driver at Jimac Radio Cars
Country of origin: Laos
I came to Britain to study in 1974, after working as a radio technician in Laos. A year later the country became communist. Some of my friends journeyed back, but then they returned because it was hard to make a living. The situation’s much better now, and I may retire there.

 

Portrait, Documentary and Commercial  Photographer Jonathan Goldberg is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography.  From his project ‘In Between Jobs’. To see Jonathan’s body of work click on any image.

 

London Minicab Drivers

Cab drivers in London perform an invaluable job, yet the most we usually see of them is the back of a head. Sometimes they offer up their entire life story, while others sit stoney-silent at the wheel. I wanted to delve deeper to find out more about the characters, many of whom are migrants from countries in flux, and how they came to be plying their trade across the streets of Westminster.

It should be noted that minicabs are distinct from the iconic black taxi cab, whose drivers are required to study for a stringent examination about the city’s roads. Minicabs are the budget option, and must be pre-booked. They are typically based in offices on most London high streets, and have a waiting room which tends to take on the character of its drivers. It’s inaccessible to the public, and therefore offered the ideal backdrop for some of my portraits.

 

Duku
Driver at Jimac Cars
You get informed of what’s going on in the country through passengers, and in world affairs through the radio. I listen to Nick Ferrari on LBC [a phone in debate show], he’s fantastic.

 

Neda
Driver at Chepstow Cars
I think I’m the only woman driver in the area, I work with 80 men. Sometimes I get comments like “Who’s cooking for you?” but I tell them my husband’s doing it. I’m married to an English man, he’s very supportive, that’s the only reason I can do it. For me it’s important to do a job in which I’m mixing with different kinds of people, whereas most Asian women mix with their own people.

 

Arif
Driver at Express Cars
Country of origin: Afghanistan
I went to university in Afghanistan to study pharmacy. When I arrived here I worked in order to bring my family here. Now I would like to improve my English then go on an access course, in order to become a good pharmacist. Minicab driving is not for me.

 

Mubashar
Driver at Circle Cars
We like chatting to our customers, most talk these days is about Brexit. Though if they’re quiet, we’re quiet. Whether we make money or not, we still have the same expenses: insurance, petrol, rent, eat, smoke and that doesn’t include mortgage.

 

Barbara
Driver at Lady Minicabs
Country of origin: UK
I love driving, it chills me out. I’ve only felt threatened a couple of times, though nothing came of it. My previous job was as a children’s day care provider, but the business went flat. Our children were grown up, and if we wanted to keep the car it had to support itself.

 

Mohamed
Driver at Tower Cars
Country of origin: Afghanistan
I like everything about my job, it’s flexible, you can pick when you chose to work. I don’t have any complaints in my life.

 

Saim

 

Macin

 

Many of the individuals I approached were highly suspicious of having their photographs taken, but when one obliged often their colleagues would too. Some came to see it as an enjoyable way of breaking the tedium between jobs, whole others would be delighted that a photographer would seek to shine a light on occupants whose industry isn’t generally celebrated.

 

See also:

Waiting For The Bus

By Jonathan Goldberg

 

 

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