21 June 2013
When London’s East End-born Peter McLeod says he can’t think of a better city in the world to be a taxi driver, he’s referring to Cape Town, where he is a driver for Rikkis London Cabs.
When 64-year-old Brit Peter McLeod immigrated to South Africa nearly 39 years ago seeking new opportunities, little did he know how well his distinctive accent and Cockney background would serve him in his eventual career – as a cab driver for Cape Town’s best known taxi service, Rikkis London Cabs. Born and raised in Poplar, East London, McLeod is a Cockney through and through.
A furnaceman by trade, McLeod came to South Africa in his thirties to pursue a new life. He worked in the furnace and television industries before trying his hand at cab driving in Cape Town. Since joining the company in 2006, his chatty, charming manner has made McLeod one of Rikkis’ most popular and memorable drivers.
“We have clients who regularly call for Peter and Peter only, and are prepared to wait for him should he be busy,” says General Manager, Ayub Baker. “You don’t build that kind of reputation with customers unless you give exceptional service, which Peter definitely does.”
“I just love Cape Town. Alright, the pedestrians who jaywalk can be annoying and some Cape Town drivers are notoriously inconsiderate, but it is such a beautiful city. Personally, I can’t think of a better place to drive a cab,” McLeod says.
“The most fascinating part of Cape Town for me is the area from Observatory to Woodstock, where you can be driving past a row of small homes and then come across an old farm house. The architecture is picturesque and I doubt you can find that sort of diversity anywhere else in the world!”
His rapport with the locals is also strong. “Capetonians are similar to us East Londoners in that we share a similar sense of humour. Passengers tend to be more serious but people who talk to me on the street are really interesting to interact with.”
Rikkis, founded in 1984, has operated its popular door-to-door London cab service in Cape Town since 2006. Since then, the taxi company has grown its fleet of genuine imported London cabs to 40, and the black London taxi has become the instantly recognisable signature of Rikkis.