LOVE them or hate them, but our favourite West Belfast institution leaves us with an experience each time we stick our hand out or make a T sign.
Users and drivers have a secret code for journeying.
This is it, keep it to yourself..
Thou shalt have no other forms of transport
If you are at a bus stop, you must not put your hand out for a black taxi.
Not only will the taxi man give you the finger but any other time he sees you about the road, he will wave his arm out and signal for the driver behind to pick you up.
The exception to the rule is if you are a woman with a pram in the rain.
Should this incident arise, the black taxi man may upon his own discretion, drop you to your door depending on how malnourished your kid looks.
No graven images or likenesses
The original London Hackney cab is where it’s at. These new fancy automobiles with their seat belts, sliding doors and electric windows are also used as private hire for airport runs. These aren’t proper Joe Backsies.
Do not take the name of the taxi man’s football team in vain
If you’re lucky enough to get the front seat, the taxi man will have a conversational starter piece dangling from the rear view mirror.
It is usual for the piece to declare support for an English Premier League team. If you are a supporter of an opposing team, you must not provoke the driver into what you would describe as banter. The driver will pretend he cannot hear you when you want out and will drive on for 100 yards past your designated stop.
It is rare for a black taxi driver to support the GAA and if he does, you do not want to ask if Antrim has ever won the Sam Maguire.
Remember the Sabbath day
You will not for the love of God get a black taxi when there’s a parade on the Falls Road. If you’re not a parader, go to your local bar because you’re locked into your estate until the road clears.
Honour thy father and thy mother
It is often that a black taxi man will know your face. When he asks how your parents are, you must speak highly of them. Even if they were no good for a tap recently and haven’t babysat since your kids were born.
Tell the driver about the great present you got them for their anniversary. This will reaffirm your family position as being good stock.
Thou shalt not kill
This is where the driver comes into the etiquette situation.
If a passenger pays with a £10 or £20 note accompanied by the words “sorry, I have no smaller” – the driver must use all energy to refrain themselves from killing the passenger.
If the passenger forgets the apology, the driver is open to giving dirty looks and splashing them with surface water at a later date.
Thou shalt not fondle each other in the back
Anyone lumbering or attempting to heavy pet in the back of a black taxi will be ejected with immediate effect.
Thou shalt not do a runner
Carrying out this act would be classed as very foolish and only a post ceasefire baby would do it. It is well known that many black taxi drivers are the original men behind the wire. Do not cross them unless you want a knock at the door.
Thou shalt not bear false witness
This means, you must not bullshit when someone you know gets in and asks “what about ye”? Someone is always earwigging and will know people you know. It will get around that you were talking balls in a black taxi.
Thou shalt not covet
If you find a phone or a purse – you must hand it to the driver. This property is not yours for the taking. Although umbrellas and clipper lighters are perfectly fine to keep.
Thou shalt not make eye contact
As soon as you get in, you must assign yourself a seat and await a boring phone call for everyone to listen to. Then send an imaginary text message (even if you have no credit), keep your eyes down until it’s time to get out.
If you have headphones, you must higher your music so that everyone can hear the back beats and guess what it is you’re actually listening to.
Thou shalt not move over
If you are only going on a short journey, you must sit at the exit door seat. If someone wants in or out, you must adhere to the no eye contact rule, keep your knees together and shuffle to the side to allow them past.
Thou shalt not close thou legs
West Belfast men have rather large undercarriages and need to keep their legs wide open to allow air circulation. This affliction is not their fault and you must not moan about having limited space to sit.
Thou shalt not converse with ones neighbour
This applies to teenage girls from St Louise’s. If you get in with a friend, you must not speak verbally. You must text each other and giggle randomly, making everyone in the taxi paranoid.
Thou shalt beat your kids
Any stressed mother getting into the taxi is free to slap their kids arses if they misbehave.
Fellow passengers are to ignore the subsequent screaming.
Kids are exempt from the no eye contact rule and must stare at strangers to make them as uncomfortable as possible.
*Inspired by Gary Doc – follow him, he’s funny