In his book Shane O’Sullivan, more commonly known as Jack the Hat, explores true stories of locals and university students alike persuading the reader to enter the what he calls “the Exeter bubble”. Jack’s taxi cab metamorphoses into a different, safer space from a counselling office to a football team meeting, to a café catch up, to a helpline to a priest’s confession box. He takes us along to meet a woman facing prison release shortly before we are greeted with the politics of student intramural football. The book will make you smile, cry and reflect. Thoroughly unapologetic, Jack provides a multitude of places and times as he explores Exeter, Devon, and South West England bending his modest and unassuming persona to the requests of his clients. Jack the Hat skillfully adapts his character to the people he meets being able to engage with the intricacy of student gossip and unveiling as the complex lives of colourful local characters through the lens of his taxi. Described by Classics Professor Mathew Wright as “engaging, funny, humane, warm-hearted, and full of human interest” Jack the Hat will give you an insight into Exeter citizens at their most spontaneous times.
Long-standing competition between Apple Taxis and Exe Cars was heightened this week, as a misjudged advertising ploy forced Trading Standards to get involved.
A now defunct website appeared last week appearing to advertise a fictitious taxi firm named ‘Exe Cabs’. The website displayed a logo similar to that of Exe Cars, yet directed users to Apple Taxi’s phone number. Following a complaint from Exe Cars to Devon County Council’s Trading Standards department, the website was removed.
Whilst Exe Cars have been satisfied with the action taken by the Trading Standards department, the row has confused them. “We don’t know why Apple Taxis have it in for us.” Exe Cars told Exeposé: “They’re a far bigger taxi company and we are of no real threat to them. (Yet).”
Exe Cars reported they were unhappy with the Express and Echo’s description of the feud as “tit-for tat”, emphasising their desire to avoid conflict. “We have no ill will towards Apple Taxis, we won’t get sucked into such childish and unprofessional behaviour.”
When questioned about the website, General Manager of Apple Taxi’s, Steve Screech, told the Exeter Express and Echo that: “It’s something that was mocked up in jest and it shouldn’t have gone live.”
Apple have publicly shrugged off the incident, with their Facebook page reporting that “ANY PUBLICITY IS GOOD PUBLICITY!” Adding, “Many thanks to one of our competitors for the free on-line advertising with the local newspaper – it would have cost us a fortune to get our logo posted like this!”
Apple Taxis recently announced they were the official transport partner for Radio 1’s Big Weekend, charging between up to £72 to take customers between Exeter and Powderham on the Saturday and Sunday. As the largest taxi fleet in Exeter and the University’s approved supplier, Apple receives a considerable proportion of student business. Yet with Exe Cars recently becoming an authorised taxi provider for the University and alternative firms such as Jack the Hat proving popular amongst students, competition over transport in the city has spiked.
Exeposé approached Apple Taxis regarding the dispute, but they declined to comment.
Prince Albert II of Monaco called upon the service of Exeter’s Apple Taxi company during a visit to the UK last month.
Having travelled from Monaco to London and then on to Exeter, the principality’s embassy called Apple Taxis from London to book the Prince’s journey in one of their 18 “executive” vehicles.
His Royal Highness was visiting the area for the formal opening of Plymouth University’s Marine Station on October 29. As an honorary Doctorate of Science holder from the University, where his Monaco Foundation supports research into protecting the environment, he was there to unveil a plaque and officially open the building, in the course of his visit he also toured the University building and spoke to students and stuff.
Durning his taxi ride, he shook drivers’ hands and presented them with ties and pin badges, which General Manager of Apple Taxis, Steve Screech, said that the two drivers were “well thrilled” by.
Prince Albert is not the first famous customer for the taxi company, which in the past has driven David Attenborough, Queen’s Bryan May, Rod Stewart and, for his Timepiece DJ set last year, Snoop Dogg, a journey Screech described as “a funny one”.
A merger of former Gemini and Capital taxi services, Apple Taxis is the University of Exeter’s preferred taxi supplier, using the company to take its Reed Hall staff home after late shifts, as well as recommending its services to students.
Earlier this year, the company launched a mobile application for both Android and iPhone allowing, users to order taxis via the app and track the progress of the vehicle.