"What happens in a black cab stays in a black cab!" The stock response from cabbies when they're asked about the sauciest behaviour they've seen on the backseat. When it comes to letting loose without reprisals, a black cab is a Las Vegas in miniature — a microcosm of Sin City — cruising around the West End on wheels.
Luckily, a few licensed cabbies were willing to break ranks. and a few passionate passengers were up for confessing all.
"The guy usually apologises afterwards. He's all, 'oh, I'm sorry!'"
Peter* has been a black cab driver for 16 years. He has couples shagging in the back once every couple of months, and it's not just those in the first flush of youth. "It's a mix of ages," he says, "The oldest couple were both over 60! And when I first started in this job, a woman in her 60s invited me upstairs!"
Peter's seen a woman getting changed in the backseat. "I picked her up from work, at the HSBC bank in Canary Wharf, and she wanted me to take her to Spearmint Rhino on Tottenham Court Road. It turned out she worked there as well!"
In the case of couples bumping bits, Peter says, "the guy usually apologises afterwards. He's all, "oh, I'm sorry!" and nine times out of 10, the girl's scarpered 'cos she's embarrassed!" Peter's never asked anyone to reign it in, explaining, "it's a bit of fun, isn't it? In a boring job, it makes you smile!"
Peter's piece de resistance of risque cab-scapades involves a threesome that almost gave him whiplash. "They got in, this girl and two men, and I start driving, and suddenly it's, "where's she gone?" — turns out she was on her knees! She was doing both of them and they ended up with one guy at one end, and the other guy at the other end. I got a really sore neck!" he jokes, adding, "I'd say they were merry but they weren't off their faces — and I don't think she was a prostitute. They just weren't shy at all!"
"The cab driver was looking in his rear-view mirror, thinking, 'don't get anything on my seats!'"
Mark was almost as brazen on a cab ride from Chelsea to the West End: "I was with my girlfriend, and we'd been to Sophie's Steakhouse on Fulham Road. It was about 10pm and we were both pretty tipsy. Alcohol being the great motivator, we started kissing in the cab, then she got my dick out, hitched her dress up and climbed on board! We only did it for a few minutes but the cabbie must have had an eyeful — I'm surprised he didn't crash!"
Looking back, Mark remembers feeling a bit self-conscious. He explains, "the cab driver was looking in his rear-view mirror, probably thinking, "don't get anything on my seats!" I'm sure he'd seen it all before. And you know what cabbies are like — if he'd disapproved, he'd have said something.
"When we got out, I just handed him the money through the opening and we laughed as he drove off!"
"You've got one eye on the road, one eye on your customers. You do realise when one of them's missing!"
Sarah has been driving a black cab for 11 years. Like Peter, she sees couples having backseat sex every couple of months — but she finds it rather less fun and she does have words. "There’s no consideration that you're sitting two feet away from them — that's what's so outrageous, she explains, "I feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. You're constantly looking in your mirror, because you have to when you're driving — and you don't want to see that! But some of them, they like to make sure you're watching — they look right at you in the mirror."
Working nights, Sarah often picks up people who've had a drink. "You tend to keep an eye on them anyway," she explains, "because the worst case scenario is somebody being sick. So you've always got one eye on the road, one eye on your customers, so — not for being crude — but you do realise when one of them's missing! It's like, where's she gone?!"
At this point, Sarah slams on the brakes, "or I bang on the partition, like, "come on guys, please!" Normally they stop and they're apologetic. I remember one lady saying, 'oh, I'm sorry about all that,' when she got out to pay." Other times it carries on, in which case, Sarah stops the car. She says, "I just feel like, 'I've asked you to stop, you're just being disrespectful.' There may be others who let it carry on but I say, "I’ve had enough. Out you get!'"
"Black cabs are inherently sexy — it's something to do with the sense of indulgence and luxury."
Steven's had sex in a black cab on more than one occasion. He explains, "black cabs are inherently sexy — it's something to do with the sense of indulgence and luxury when you take one. And then there's the spaciousness. It's not like sex in your average car, with your limbs folded into awkward positions!"
Looking back, Steven says, "in the early days of our relationship, my partner's penchant for exhibitionism was outrageous. We'd treat ourselves to a cab now and then, and within a few minutes, she'd be undoing my jeans and stroking me. Despite the sense of privacy, I was aware the driver could see us, so I took to hiding behind a copy of the Evening Standard. It worked fine for a hand job, but it's less effective when your partner whips her knickers off, pulls her dress up, and lowers herself on to your cock, for a fast and furious back-of-the-cab fuck!
"Being slightly more reserved, I remonstrated with her the first time. I told her the driver shouldn't have to put up with that... after we'd brought it to a satisfactory conclusion! She laughed and said he probably enjoyed it."
But the next time Steven and his partner had a fast and furious cab fuck, it was more awkward. "When I paid the fare, the driver couldn't even look at me and I knew we'd overstepped the line. Since then we've been a bit more furtive. Occasionally I take out her tits and lick her nipples. It's not the full-on naughtiness we used to get up to, but it does mean that when we get home we can't wait to rip each other's clothes off!"
"You can't have a woman bouncing up and down — it makes the cab shake!"
Tom has been driving a cab for 38 years, and he's pretty much seen it all. "When I started driving the cab in 1980, there were plenty of prostitutes around King's Cross, Paddington, and Commercial Street in Aldgate," he says. "Quite a lot of times, fellas would hail me down with a prostitute and get in the back. It was businessmen in suits, with girls you'd recognise, because after a while of driving a cab, you keep going in them areas and picking up work, you recognise the girls. Sometimes you even knew their names. They'd tell me to drive round while they did one or two little things, naughty things, in the back. I'd drive round 'til they finished their business. As long as they didn't dirty my cab, I didn't mind!"
As for couples? "All the years I've been driving a cab, I haven't had many people having sex in the back," says Tom, "Some people have tried, and I've had to say, "calm it down a bit!" because you can't make it too obvious. It's one thing if the girl pops her head down — that happens — but as far as sexual intercourse is concerned, you can't have a woman bouncing up and down — it makes the cab shake!"
"When you live in Croydon, and the taxi takes 40 minutes to get home, you have to keep doing something or the passion dissipates."
Mike lives in Croydon, and relies on some backseat sauce to keep the juices flowing on the journey home. He explains, "when you live so far out, and the taxi takes 40 minutes to get home, you have to keep doing something or the passion dissipates and then you've got to rev the engines up again when you get in. Keeping things ticking over in the cab is just something you have to do!"
Mike has had sex in various public places, but he draws the line at doing it in a cab. "I think it's just too in your face knowing the driver can be watching. You might as well just do it in front of someone — it's that step over from "might get caught" to blatantly being watched — and that's a different mindset. Plus, they have cameras now!"
On Mike's third date with his now girlfriend Emma, they found themselves getting frisky in a cab with another couple. Mike says, "we'd missed the last train and we were at the taxi rank at London Bridge. I asked if anyone was going Croydon way cos it costs a fortune, and we could split it 50/50 to the first house. This other couple agreed and as the taxi approached, I told them this was an early relationship, so don't mind us if we're a bit too into each other to make conversation. The bloke said that suited them fine — this was their first date and she was coming back to his!"
Interaction expectations established, Mike gave the driver his address, then, "we basically all got down to smooching! It was the first time Emma had come back to mine, and we hadn't had sex yet, so I was exploring her boundaries — which stopped pretty fast when I tried to get under her dress! We came up for air and looked at the other couple. He'd got his hand right up her skirt. He was definitely fingering her and she was either orgasming, or almost there. That must have got Emma horny, because she started fumbling at my crotch. She put her hand in my pants, and this time I got inside her knickers, but then we were at mine."
Thinking back, Mike says, "the driver must have been aware of what was going on, because he had to try really hard to get our attention at the end of the journey — the other couple didn’t even look up!" Mike adds, "recently I said to Emma, let's watch a bit of porn, and she said she wanted to see the taxi driver ones. When I asked her why, she said it reminded her of the taxi home on that date!"
*Names have been changed.
Samantha Rea can be found tweeting here.