No more turning out pockets as cab firm turns to chip & pin

Cabsmart - In the office Ian Fountain, Shirley Spicer and Binumon Thankachan
Chip and Pin machine

Cabsmart - In the office Ian Fountain, Shirley Spicer and Binumon Thankachan Chip and Pin machine - Credit: Contributed

Cab travel in Ipswich has just become a whole lot simpler.

How many times after a late night out have you had to turn out your pockets or handbags to find the right cash to pay for the cab ride home? Sometimes it can turn out to be a trial.

Now Ipswich-based Cab Smart has solved that problem, with Chip & Pin.

“All our cabs now have Chip & Pin,” explained manager Ian Fountain.

Ian, who has been driving cabs in the area for 42 years, said: “It has been going two weeks now and is proving very popular, not just late at night but with people going home during the day as well.

“We are the only company where all the cabs have it.

“It is the way the world is moving. We all have cards and don’t carry much money with us, which is a good thing I think.”

Most Read

Cab Smart owner Binumon Thankachan added: “For the drivers it is a good thing.

“Normally cab drivers are known for carrying a bit of cash, so it is a little bit safer for them now.”

Cab Smart as a brand has been running for the past 3 1/2 years and it has a team of very experienced drivers, including Ian Fountain himself and Shirley Spicer, who is a partner in the business and also works on the control desk.

“We have a lot of regular customers,” she said, “Who keep coming back to us.

“They like it that we have a fixed fare from the town centre to the estates.

“They also like it that our drivers wait until they are at their door before leaving. That is especially important when the streets light are switched out. The estates can be very dark.”

Cab Smart has a strong sense of community, added Ian.

“We put on events for our customers.

“We have another social event for the over 60s, at the Westgate Ward Club, on July 31. We are expecting 150 people.”

There would be a buffet, drink and bingo, he said.

The team are also planning another charity cabaret night, featuring Dave Cass and Fumble Sisters on September 27 at the Westgate Ward Club, in aid of Age UK local projects.

I am told that Ian, Shirley and night supervisor Sue Irvine will be taking part.

In the light of the Royal baby arrival recently, I asked Shirley and Ian whether they had to ‘deliver’ babies in their cabs.

“I came close,” said Shirley. “I took a girl to hospital who was in labour – and she had her baby 20 minutes afterwards.”

All drivers have to pass the Ipswich Borough Council licensing test, he said, and had to have good knowledge of the town.

“It is surprising how many people, who live in Ipswich, don’t realise there are areas with themed names.

There are birds and flowers on Chantry, Welsh, Irish and Scottish names, the Crofts and famous writers.

“Sat-navs may be a help but there is no substitute for a good level of local knowledge.

“Fortunately the controller can also help with directions if needed.

Cab Smart telephone 01473 25 25 25 or 01473 40 41 42 or 01473 28 88 22.