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John Consterdine: How taxi driving opened my eyes to Manchester

My aim is to make every visitors trip to Manchester memorable. I achieve this by providing carefully planned taxi tours of this fascinating City.

My interest in Manchester goes back a long way, to the sights and sounds of childhood memories. From shopping with my Mum to school trips to the Cathedral and Belle Vue Zoo. School days in Newton Heath (where Manchester United were formed) and football matches at Maine Road.

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The real knowledge of the city and region came when I was introduced to taxi driving. Wow, a real eye opener. This showed me areas of the city I had never visited, places different to the North Manchester suburb where I lived.

Perhaps the most important lesson I learnt was about the people and their stories, every one different. They told me how circumstances affected their lives, from the poorer working class areas to the affluent leafy suburbs, ( South Manchester is the affluent side because of the way the wind blows ).

Taxi driving also brought me into contact with visitors to the city and I found I was often asked questions about buildings, places, pubs, clubs, history and my answers had a direct effect on my gratuities (tips).

Manchester has many libraries, as you will see on your taxi tour, and I became a regular visitor reading about architecture, politics, industry, history, music and football.

In 2008 I took the opportunity to formalise my knowledge by going on a Tour Guiding course. This lead to becoming a fully qualified Green Badge Guide for Manchester, thanks to Jonathon Schofield and Marketing Manchester. I was now Manchester’s only fully qualified Tour guide and Taxi driver, what an accolade!

The natural progression was to set up Manchester Taxi Tours, to give bespoke and specialised tours of the City .

In 2013 I was honoured to win the coveted ‘Tourism Star of the Year’ award at the Manchester Tourism awards. This lead to a nomination at the 2014 ‘National Tourism Superstar’ award hosted by Visit England.

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A huge thanks must go to all my clients who have left reviews on TripAdvisor and being awarded their ‘Certificate of Excellence’ in 2015 was a very proud moment.

As I said at the start ‘My aim is to make every visitors trip to Manchester memorable‘.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

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