Ask Bizarre - The truth about keeping straw in the back of your taxi
BEN: Keeping straw in the back of your taxi... I know this sounds like a euphemism for something eye watering for grownups only... but I was told that it is the law that taxis actually do this and when the police want to stop a taxi without giving a reason they use this law. Truth or testicular?
Keep up the good work… call that a job? etc etc
DR MIKE: Actually it's no longer a legal requirement. We checked this out with our mate Dave Allen, who as well as being editor of Cab Driver Magazine also helps to run a fleet of London taxis. He explained that the business is governed jointly by the provisions of the Cab Acts and by the Licensed Taxi Association's terms of fitness and conditions. Neither the current Cab Act nor the LTA terms mention straw. Dave reckons the story may once have been true though, since the Cab Acts were not updated all that quickly to take account of the arrival of new motorised cabs. So it's quite likely that for a few years at the turn of the century it would have been technically illegal to drive a cab without straw in the boot – and since police methods tend not to change that quickly either, we bet if the cops did pull over a few black cab drivers they wanted a quiet word with and failed to find anything else incriminating, they justified the stop-and-search with reference to this obscure old bit of legislation.