Final fare for Leven’s longest serving cabbie

Ian Harris, of Buckhaven - about to retire as Levenmouth's longest-serving taxi driver (picture by Mark Rodgers)
Ian Harris, of Buckhaven - about to retire as Levenmouth's longest-serving taxi driver (picture by Mark Rodgers)

Driving repeatedly across Fife, and beyond, would probably equal a round-the-world trip or two, if you do it for long enough.

And Ian Harris has probably circumnavigated the globe a few times in a taxi-driving career spanning 40 years.

He’s the longest-serving cabbie in Levenmouth – but Ian (64) is hanging up his car keys for good this weekend.

Having travelled many miles and transported a multitude of passengers to and from a range of destinations, he’s decided it’s time to retire.

And while he has seen many changes in the industry over the years, he described his long career as “brilliant”.

Ian, of Buckhaven, worked at a local chemical firm and with Nairn’s in Kirkcaldy before taking up taxi driving to earn some extra money.

Gradually, it became full time and he worked with several local operators before becoming a partner with Diamond Cabs in Methil.

“I enjoyed the chat with customers – 99 per cent of them were brilliant,” said Ian. “You do get people asking for you personally as well.”

He added, however, that increased regulations and changes to the industry over the years made it very expensive to keep taxis on the road, which the public didn’t always realise.

Ian’s wife Roslyn sadly passed away but he has two daughters, Kim and Julie, and six grandchildren.

Ian hopes to play golf – “I was never good at it but always enjoyed it” – and bowls as a means of getting out and escaping the pressures of driving, while he also loves holidaying in Cyprus.

He might also travel occasionally by taxi,but he admitted: “I get a bit wary of pother people’s driving!”

Daughter Kim said: “He always like to help his passengers and everybody said he was a good driver.”

Many taxi drivers have tales about unusual destinations or passengers leaving strange objects in the cab.

Ian recalled going to South Uist to pick up a passenger bound for Leven, and had to travel at night to catch a ferry. He’d been told at first it was the Isle of Skye and only found out later he’d have to go considerably further. Needless to say, he got the fare in advance.

Umbrellas and mobile phones were the most common belongings left behind, he said.