Hailing down a cab might prove tougher than usual over the next couple of weeks. After a series of unexplained fires, TfL and the Public Carriage Office have ordered drivers of TX4-type cabs with a 56 registration to take their vehicles for a safety check, or risk having their license suspended.
Seven cabs have gone up in smoke over the past three months, and though nobody's been injured, the decision was made to have a tinker under the bonnet and see what's wrong before the inevitable happens and somebody is hurt. It's thought around 600 vehicles will be affected, or 3% of all cabs.
In other taxi news: a survey has revealed that mobile devices are the item most mislaid in the back seat of a cab. Over 56,000 were lost in the past six months - that's nearly treble the number of taxis on the road - while other electronic devices, including laptops and memory sticks, are also frequently forgotten. But who's this behind the survey? Credant Technologies, a "mobile device security outfit" who suggest that such devices should be protected by encryption - a service offered, in a spurious coincidence, by Credant themselves. Fancy that!
Less easily malleable into puffy PR are some of the odder goods left behind: a sawn-off shotgun, children, prosthetic limbs, a menagerie of animals including pheasants, dogs, and cats, funeral ashes and a toilet seat. Sounds like the prop list for a Fellini film.