20th May 2016

“Been Busy?” – The annoying questions drivers deal with

Can you believe it’s been 13 years since Peter Kay’s infamous “been busy?” stand-up routine?

It was back in 2003 when the Bolton comedian armed his fans across the country with the dreaded questions that taxi drivers have been at the mercy of ever since…

“…been busy? …what time are you on ‘til?”

Understandably, this resulted in taxi drivers up and down the UK having to put up with those insincere joke questions worming their way into passengers’ small talk. Everyone did it (and occasionally, they still do) for the laughs. Perhaps for those it didn’t get taxis often, it’d be a bit of a novelty.

However, taxi drivers hearing the same “joke” over and over again certainly gets irritating as time goes on. So, apologies in advance for bringing up those same annoying questions, as we take a look at why certain questions are so commonly used.

Been busy?

The king of the annoying icebreakers. Obviously, it can be a little awkward for passengers to sit in complete silence, so it’s natural they might want to kick off some kind of conversation. At least, that’s how most customers will approach you. But of course, you’ll still often get the odd joker thinking they’re clever with their decade-old pop culture reference!

What time are you on ‘til?

The follow-up question in Peter Kay’s “been busy” routine. Originally this may well have started as a point of interest for passengers, to get a glimpse of the taxi driver lifestyle and (especially if it’s a late one) the hours you generally work. As with the previous question, though, a bit of small talk for some has become a tired and out-dated joke for others.

Who d’you support?

As another bit of general interest, near enough everyone has a favourite footie team. For the most part, this often turns into a lively conversation about how the teams are doing this season. On the downside, if a passenger is a bit more opinionated (and perhaps a bit drunk!), things could turn a bit heated if you happen to support a bitter rival!

Can we just stop here a minute?

This one can be particularly annoying if your passenger is pretty vague about their reasons for wanting to stop. Usually, they’ll tell you ahead of time if they need to stop at a cashpoint along the way, or if it’s been a heavy night you can probably tell if they may need to be sick. Just make sure your passengers know that you may intend to keep the meter running, and watch out for anyone who might try to dash off without paying!

Ever had anyone famous in your taxi?

Everyone loves a bit of gossip and, especially in a big city. People might hope to hear stories of celebrities from taxi drivers, and if you should have any, they’d surely be good to share a few laughs over. Just hope you’ll never have to tell any stories about Peter Kay in the back of your cab, otherwise you’ll never hear the end of it!

Main image credit: The Independent

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