The effects of the Cab Strike

by Instant Noodle

EFFECT OF THE CAB STRIKEThe 1853 cab strike was in protest against new laws about fares. Ultimately, it was useless; it had to be drawn to a halt after a few days without income. Essentially, the cabbies wanted to have their cake and eat it.

THE NEW CAB ACT.

MMADE FOR THE BETTER REGULATION OF PERSONS WHO RIDE IN CABS, AND FOR THE BETTER PROTECTION OF THOSE WHO DRIVE THEM.

(Being the kind of Act that Cabmen would wish to have.)

This Bill will shortly be printed. The following are some of its most important provisions:—

The Cabman shall have the option of accepting a fare or not, just as he pleases, and he may charge, either by time or distance, precisely as he likes. If he has travelled a long distance, then he is to have the power of charging according to the number of miles, but if he has only been a short journey, and he has taken a long time in going over it, in that case the Cabman is to be allowed the privilege of charging by the hour.

Any Cabman, fancying he has gone quite far enough—and Cabmen know best for themselves how far they can go—may suddenly stop, and insist upon his fare alighting, no matter at what distance the latter may be from his destination.

The rate of speed to be regulated by the Cabman himself, as it depends entirely upon what kind of horse he has got, and whether he has engaged his fare by time or distance.

In the event of the fare making any complaint, or neglecting to pay at once the full sum demanded of him, the Cabman is empowered to drive him to the nearest station-house, and to have the matter investigated. If in the wrong, the Cabman may have him fined for incivility, the penalty whereof shall be a sum not exceeding five pounds, and not less than five shillings; or, at the discretion of the magistrate, imprisonment, with or without hard labour, in the House of Correction, for a term not less than two calendar months.

Any person refusing to give his card, or to be quietly carried to the station-house, or convicted of having used insulting or disrespectful language against a Cabman, to be liable to a heavy fine, not exceeding £50, one-half of which is to go to the Queen, and the other half to the Cabman, or an imprisonment as above; and the person so condemned is further to find two sureties to keep the peace for six months.

Any person convicted of two such offences is to be deprived for ever of the privilege of riding in a public cab.

The rate of payment to be two shillings for the first mile, and as much as the Cabman likes to charge for every mile after that.

The above rate to be materially increased, if a person is going in a hurry to a railway, or is returning home late at night, and also on all special occasions, such as Queen’s Birthdays, Easter and Whitsun Mondays, Horticultural and Botanical Fête days, and all illumination nights, and likewise at all times when it should happen to be hailing, snowing, or raining.

In the event of a dispute as to distance, the ground to be measured at the expense of the person disputing the Cabman’s word, and a sum of two pounds to be paid into Court as a guarantee of the result thereof.

Clause the Thirteenth enacts that, in all matters of dispute, whether the Cabman shall be proved to be right or wrong, he is to be paid his expenses, and a certain sum, not less than five shillings, for his loss of time.

Every person, beyond two, to be charged at the rate of a separate fare.

Luggage to be charged according to weight, at the same rates demanded by the Parcels’ Delivery Company.

Back Fare to be paid on all occasions, and to be doubled after twelve o’clock.

By the next Clause it is enacted, that ladies are to be charged one-half as much again as gentlemen (this clause has been objected to as being rather stringent, and oppressively severe, but when it is considered the trouble that ladies give, and how they always object to pay what a Cabman asks of them, and how they always keep the Cabman waiting, with their useless arguments and frivolous complaints, it is but right that the Cabman should be protected against all such contigencies, and be allowed something extra for his unfeeling waste of time).

Babies, if taken, to be charged each as a separate fare, or else weighed as luggage, according to the option of the Cabman.

In no case is the fare to have the power of appeal against the Magistrate’s decision.

There are several minor clauses, but we think we have shown enough of the New Cab Act to prove that if only one-half of it is carried out, we shall have not only the Cabmen better protected, but also a better and more respectable class of riders in cabs.

(1853)

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