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Do not disturb: Taxi firm to introduce ‘don’t talk’ sign

Passengers will be able to show their driver whether or not they want to talk Passengers will be able to show their driver whether or not they want to talk

Friday, October 12, 2012
3:59 PM

A London taxi ride can easily turn into an unwanted social occasion, especially if your driver is the classic chatty cabby.

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But after years of awkward conversations, one company has found a very simple solution - install a talk/don’t talk button in the back of the vehicle.

Green Tomato Cars decided to trial the button after a survey revealed that a third of Londoners had been in a taxi with an overly chatty driver.

Another 40 per cent said they felt obliged to make conversation rather than say they wanted to travel in silence with only 10 per cent of passengers having the courage to ask a driver straight away to keep quiet.

Managing director of the firm, Jonny Goldstone, said that the idea would make travelling a much better experience for both customer and driver.

He said: “I spent a bit of time as a cabby and lot of the time, the driver doesn’t want to talk but thinks the passenger does and vice versa. You end up with a conversation between two people that really don’t want to chat.

“Personally, most of the time I do want to chat but sometimes, you just don’t want to. It just depends on your mood.

“It’s not rude or aggressive to say you don’t want to talk to your driver. No one will be offended if you say you don’t fancy a conversation, so why not?

“It’s just like a ‘do not disturb’ sign.”

The sign will be introduced on a trial basis in five Green Tomato cars and, if it takes off, will soon be a permanent fixture.

“I would like to think that people will like it and hopefully we will then be able to introduce them across the fleet,” Johnny, who thinks the idea could catch on in other companies, added.

“Other companies have followed us in the past with other things we have done, so perhaps they will follow suit.”

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