The million-peopled city
The unlicensed Driver, and the extreme Depravity of this Class.
A third circumstance, which has given a very evil name to cabmen in general, on the part of the public, is a class of men, who, though dismissed from their body, are yet much mixed up with it. These are cabmen who have been deprived of their licenses for drunkenness or bad conduct. The law, in kindness to the licensed cab-driver, allows him, in case of need, to employ an unlicensed substitute for a period not longer than 24 hours, and by this means these discharged men get to drive licensed cabs. This is especially the case with the cabs of what are called " long-day men," -for the cab-drivers are divided into several distinct classes, according to the number and character of the hours during which they ply for hire, and there are, consequently, the long-day men; the morning men, who are out from 7 A.M. to 6 P.M.; the long-night men, who are out from 6 P.M. to 10 A.M.; and the short-night men, who are out from 6 P.M. to 6 A.M. The long-day men (and it is they chiefly who are employed by the contractors) leave the stables at 9 or 10 in the morning, and do not return home till 12 or 1, or, in some cases, till 4 or 5, or even later, the next morning. These hours are more than one man can well endure, and he is therefore glad to avail himself of the help of the unlicensed driver towards the end of the day, or while he is
|at his meals. There is also employment for these discarded men on the stands, and the licensed driver is ordinarily glad to give them the sixpence they expect from each driver for cleaning up the cab and harness, which otherwise he would have to do himself. Their mode of life is correctly sketched in the following extract:--" They usually loiter about the watering-houses (as the public-houses are called) of the cab-stands, and pass most of their time in the tap-rooms. They are mostly of intemperate habits, being usually 'confirmed sots.' Very few of them are married men. They have been what is termed fancy men in their prime, but, to use the words of one of the craft, ''got turned up.' They seldom sleep in a bed. Some few have a bed-room in some obscure part of the town, but the most of them loll about and doze in the tap-rooms by day, and sleep in cabs by night. When the watering-house closes they resort to the night coffee-shops, and pass the time there till they are wanted as " bucks."  When they take a job for a man they have no regular agreement with the drivers, but the rule is that they shall do the best they can. If they take 2s., they give the driver 1s., and keep 1s. If 1s. 6d., they usually keep only 6d. . . . The regular driver has no check upon these men, but unless they do well they never employ them again.. In the season some of them will make 2s. or 2s. 6d. a-day by rubbing up, and it is difficult to say what they make by driving. They are the most extortionate of all cab-drivers. For 1s. fare they will usually demand 2s., and for a 3s. fare they will get 5s. or 6s. If the number of the cab is taken, and the legiti- mate driver summoned, the party overcharged is unable to swear that the legitimate driver was the individual who defrauded him, and so the case is dismissed. It is supposed|
|that the " bucks " make quite as much money as the drivers, for they're not at all particular how they make their money. The great majority-99 out of 100-have been in prison, and many more than once, and they consequently do not mind about re-visiting gaol. It is calculated that there are about 800 or 1,000 bucks hanging about the London cab- stands, and these are mostly regular thieves. If they catch any person asleep or drunk in a cab, they are sure to have a dive into his pockets; nor are they particular if the party belong to their own class, for I am assured that they steal from one another while dozing in the cabs or tap-rooms." The number of these unlicensed men has since materially increased, about 700 cab-drivers having been deprived of their licenses last (), on the ground of character. These are now added to the "bucks." And it illustrates how many even of the licensed cab-drivers were little or nothing better than the others. A class has always existed of a very profligate character, chiefly those employed in night work, although some respectable contractors employ a portion of their cabs at night, simply because they have not room in their stables for all their stock during the same hours. The bad class are willing to "sign" for a higher amount than others, and they resort to every discreditable purpose to make it answer, especially seeking for fares from swell- mobsmen, drunken, and profligate persons. They also ordinarily live with bad women, who by their sin assist in their support. The article in the "Chronicle," just quoted from, stated their number as " 1-1th, or to speak beyond the possibility of cavil, 1-12th of the whole number of [licensed] cab-drivers." They are now not more, pro- bably, than 1-20th, but they are only transferred to the unlicensed portion of the trade.|
 This is the name given in the trade to cab-drivers who have been deprived of their licenses
 " Labour and the Poor." Letter lxxii. " Morning Chronicle," October 3,1850