I first heard about It’s On The Meter from Kirsty, in one of the best comments from this past December. Johno Ellison and his two friends are attempting to break the Guinness Book Of World Record for longest taxi journey – in a London classic black cab. Their trip reminds me of The Ultimate Train Challenge I’ll be participating in this fall and I’m hoping to meet up the It’s On The Meter guys somewhere along their path in the next few weeks. Johno was kind enough to take a few minutes to share a bit about the trip which began February 17, 2011.
Whereabouts are you right now?
We’re currently in Geneva, Switzerland after spending the last six weeks driving through Scandinavia, Russia, Belarus, and Eastern Europe. It’s a little strange seeing people on the motorway waving at us and honking their horns and probably thinking we have only been on the road a few days when in reality we’ve covered over 6,000 miles (~9,650 km).
Where did the idea to attempt the world’s longest taxi ride come from?
My team mate Paul was sitting in a taxi going home one night and watching the meter going higher and higher when he thought, “I wonder what the highest ever taxi fare is?”.
He always used to come up with these crazy ideas so we didn’t take much notice at first but after a while Leigh and I got involved and the idea went from a drunken idea to a real project…
How did you plan the route?
The current record is around 21,000 miles (33,000km) so we knew we had to beat that and we knew we wanted to end up in Australia so we basically sat down for an afternoon with Google maps. We figured that all taxi drivers in the UK never take the shortest route anywhere so that’s how the route ending up going all over the place.
What’s the dynamic of you and your travel companions; how do you plan to get along after so much time together?
We’ve all known each other for about four years and spent a lot of time together so we think we’ll be able to make it to end of the trip without killing each other.
The worst point was actually the few weeks before we left England when we were working twenty hour days trying to get the car ready, sort out the visas, finalize sponsors and sort out a million other things. We had quite few bad arguments but the second we were on the ferry to France on the Launch Day all of our worries just evaporated and everything was forgotten, it was the greatest feeling.
We’ve tried to accept that arguments will happen during the trip and that we’ll have to get over them. We are also Couchsurfing and have friends traveling with us for short sections of the route so the constant injection of new people takes a bit of stress off our relationships with each other.
Any parts of the journey you think might be especially dangerous or difficult?
We have already had to change our route to avoid Libya and northern Africa and are currently keeping a close eye on Syria. It’s a shame because we planned the route specifically because we wanted to see certain places and experience different areas of the world but our cab isn’t exactly inconspicuous so sometimes we have to make compromises.
The other area which may be dangerous is the Iran-Pakistan border close to Afghanistan. However we’re finding more and more that the people who warn us not to go there are the people who haven’t been there themselves; the people who have visited always tell us how great it was and how warm the people are.
Where did you guys get the cab?
We actually got the cab on eBay for £1500 then spent a load of time repairing it, adding new features and getting it ready for the eight month journey. We think it has done about 300,000 miles but the mileometer is broken so we’re not really sure.
You can check out the It’s On The Meter route on their website, and follow Johno, Leigh, and Paul on Facebook and Twitter as well. Johno, thanks again for taking the time and hope to see you guys soon somewhere along the path.
The first picture let me know I had to read more about these guys! I love the old British cabs and this adventure they are on sounds like a hoot. thanks for introducing us all to them.
I think the London cab is hilarious, can’t imagine the look on people’s faces as it they drive it through Tehran or northern China 🙂
A truly weird but fun idea. I’ll be interested to see if they’re still friends at the end of the day. Three guys in a taxi for 21,000 miles might just end up in a murder or two.
haha, it’s definitely a lot of time together although I believe their taking a week apart right now in Turkey to prevent any homicides 🙂
Great idea. Amazing how people come up with ideas like this and then actually follow it through!
I’ve found the distance between crazy idea and crazy action is actually very short 🙂 It’s On The Meter is a good demonstration of it! Also, a good demonstration of what plans beer can produce 🙂
Yep,alcohol-induced conversations and look what happens! Genius! 🙂 Will be following with interest.
LOL! That gives me hope for some other alcohol-induced ideas we’ve come up with over many an Efes…
“However we’re finding more and more that the people who warn us not to go there are the people who haven’t been there themselves; the people who have visited always tell us how great it was and how warm the people are.”
Excellent quote! Always being afraid of the “them,” gets so many countries in trouble.
Funny how words of travel caution usually come from those who haven’t been 😉
What a crazy and brilliant idea.
Some of the best kind 🙂
This is brilliant 🙂
What is the meter reading now ?
The meter is currently on roughly £16,000 and we’re at about 10,000 miles (16,000 km).
We originally planned the try to match the meter reading with our Red Cross fundraising but it looks like the final reading will be around £60,000…
What a GREAT adventure!! I love it!!!
Thanks for the nice comments and encouragement!
We are a little behind with our blog at the moment as we’re all currently taking a few days apart (“a holiday from a holiday”) in Turkey but when we return we’ll be updating much more frequently.
Johno and the team 🙂
I found these guys not too long ago also — really cool concept. And yes, it does remind me a bit of our train challenge. Can’t wait to catch up with you for that one soon!
We might even cross paths in Egypt before, I’ll be headed there in a couple of days.