ONE driver skill which only comes with experience is judging whether a customer in your taxi might be thinking of doing a runner without paying.

Now, before I go any further, I must say this – 99.99% of customers are as honest as they come, happily paying for the service we provide.

In fact, I can only think of two occasions of runners I’ve experienced in the last 10 years.

A letter I received last week reminded me of one of them, I’ll come back to that in a moment.

There’s usually tell-tale signs for a runner – you normally get a feel for it pretty much immediately.

A runner might avoid eye contact, occasionally and nervously look at the mirror, sit on the edge of their seat, even make a call and pretend there’s an emergency.

The runner only has one thing in mind. The runner will try anything.

You can take a few steps to protect against it – 

I won’t share all my secrets on here, but payment up front for an individual going out of town is a common safeguard.

There’s other occasions you simply don’t see the signs.

Every once in a while a runner will well and truly catch you out – he or she just didn’t seem the type, or the tactic they deployed was so underhand you had no chance to spot it.

Which brings me back to my case study and an old friend who got back in touch last week.

Mrs X, the stage is yours:

“In 2017, I faked chest pains to get out of paying my taxi fare. It haunts me more and more as I grow into someone who isn’t a little sh*tbag.

“I would really like to pay this fare now. I live in Australia so if you have a Paypal, that would be ideal!

“It was from Queen Street station to Dorchester Avenue in Anniesland.”

My gut reaction to this?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

The second I read it I remembered it. Yes, it was a pain in the you-know-whats that day but just another lesson learned. While a decent fare it wasn’t the longest, so could have been worse.

Contact has been made but to be honest the message last week makes up for the money lost in 2017. Doing a runner to Australia does seem a bit extreme right enough!

Stay safe.