My Life, My Car: For Love of Driving and People

My Life, My Car: For Love of Driving and People

It’s been three decades since Sabine Weis started driving a taxi, 5 years after passing her driving test. It’s not just the driving she loves about her job. First and foremost, it’s the people.

26. 4. 2018 MODELS

She’s looking relaxed. Tanned. With an appealing smile playing on her lips. Sabine Weis has just got back from a short holiday in Egypt. Days off are few and far between. Her mobile is constantly ringing. Except for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, when she gives herself a break. Even then, she doesn’t leave her regulars stranded, but places them in the hands of colleagues.


A female element in a man’s world

She has traveled more than 4.5 million kilometers in 30 years as a taxi driver. That’s the same as six times to the moon and back. Or 112 times around the Earth. And she’s never broken down or been in an accident.

Sabine Weis smiles as she confesses to her love of driving, a passion evidenced by her very first trip after passing her test. Newly qualified drivers typically drive to the local ice-cream shop or visit their grandparents. Not Sabine. She drove to Paris. In her white Ford Capri. For a coffee. She soon found herself travelling to France on a regular basis – as a lorry driver. Her trips were not limited to the country of wine and romance either. She went all over Europe.

Sabine Weis
taxi driver


Maneuvering articulated lorries, planning routes the old-fashioned way with maps, and checking her engine oil, cooling liquid and the pressure in the brake pipes were all routine tasks for her. It’s hardly surprising, then, that she felt quite at home in a classic male domain. But something was missing.


Customer contact is what really counts

To start interacting with people again, the 23-year-old Sabine took up a driving job with a taxi company. Wonderful years. She clocked up her first million kilometers in her first car. Sadly, her boss decided to retire and sell up just three years later. So Sabine had a choice: switch to another outfit or take over her boss’s company.


In the meantime, she met her future husband. He was a real man. How you’d imagine a bouncer to be. And as it happens that’s what he did for a living. At her favorit nightclub. He was Sabine’s rock, helping her to make the right choices and supporting her. It’s probably because someone had faith in her that she started believing in herself. She was only 26 when she and two of her colleagues bought up all their former boss’s cars and set up their own taxi company. And they were successful, with a steady stream of business. Over time, she realized that customer contact is the key to success. Unfortunately, she expected more than her partners could deliver when it came to customer service.


Customers need to feel comfortable. They must be able to relax.

Sabine Weis

Aware that it’s the small things that sweeten the journey for customers, Sabine carried tissues, throat lozenges, aspirins, cold drinks, the latest newspapers and phone charging cables in all of her cars. This kind of service proved so popular that she had many regular customers. There was no one else they wanted to travel with. She started asking herself why she should share her success when she could handle everything herself. And better. Soon after, she bought out her partners, and from then on the company was hers alone.


How hubby René became the perfect partner

Her business, Flying Cars, became the work she lived for. No wonder, then, that she brought her husband on-board. The thrill of being a bouncer had faded anyway. He was ready to team up with his wife to create something big. Looks can be deceiving – behind that tough exterior, he’s level-headed, a boon when it comes to organizing things and dealing with issues. Their reliance on each other has made them the great team they are today.


Replacing the fleet with ŠKODAs was also his idea. Sabine had lost faith in other makes because none of them could reach the million-kilometre mark as they had in the past. ŠKODA changed all that. And in an instant, there were no more engine breakdowns at less than 100,000 kilometers, and no other problems. In a business where punctuality is everything, this was a welcome turn of events.


The SUPERB offered roominess, comfort and renewed faith in cars

The first SUPERB became a customer favorite in no time as it was very roomy, was fitted with comfortable leather seats, and had a driver who was always on time. So Flying Cars decided not to stop there, and now has a fleet of seven ŠKODAs. What was it that won Sabine and René over? Durability.


SUPERBs are not the only ŠKODAs in the family. Sabine Weis drives her customers round in a RAPID SPACEBACK with a TSI engine and DSG automatic transmission. This small hatchback, with plenty of space in the rear, is much appreciated by customers who regularly travel to Frankfurt, Mannheim and Heidelberg. Sabine Weis was so impressed by her little silver arrow that she persuaded her daughter to buy one, too.


We drove close to 420,000 km in our first SUPERB. Without a single problem.

René Weis

However, cars don’t have the time to make themselves too much at home in the Weis’ garage because their high annual mileage (in the region of 150,000 km) means they are replaced every three years. “The good thing about that is that we always have the latest models,” smiles René Weis. He is particularly keen on the infotainment and Canton sound system. Nor is he averse to the heated leather seats, powerful LED lights and adaptive chassis. Comfort is of the essence when you spend so much time driving. Your car becomes much more than a working tool – it’s your partner. You need to enjoy yourself. A challenge needs to be fun if it is to be your dream job.


10 questions for Sabine Weis

1. How was your workday yesterday?
Yesterday, I indulged in a long breakfast and found time for a quick sunbathe by the pool before I was picked up from the hotel and taken to the airport. I came back from holiday yesterday, you see. I had a relaxing few days in Egypt after the hustle and bustle of Christmas.

2. What’s the story behind your becoming a taxi driver?
I've always been a driver. I started out in the logistics industry and drove cargo all over Europe, even in big trucks. But as time passed, I realized I was missing something.

3. What do you like about your work?
The people. I love my work because I can help people and make them happy. Whether it's a stressed-out company director or a gaggle of girls on a hen party, I’ll gladly chat with anyone, but I also know when someone needs a bit of quiet.

4. Anything you are averse to in your work?
Drivers who are playing around with their mobiles while driving. They’re a danger not only to themselves, but also to other road users. It’s irresponsible and it's a risk to me and my passengers that could be avoided.

5. Do you remember your first outing in your very first car?
Yes, of course. I had already bought a used Ford Capri before I passed my driving test. It was a beauty, all in white, but it had seen better days. I did it up and decided to go for a coffee right after I got my licence. The café was in Paris. Everyone asked me why I drive to Paris for a coffee. I answered, why not?

6. What would you do if cars didn’t exist?
That’s a tough one. If cars didn't exist, we'd still have to get from A to B somehow. Whatever the vehicles looked like, they’d probably need a driver, operator or whatever. That would be me, I guess.


7. What will cars look like in 20 years?
I can't say for sure. There will be more screens, more connectivity and certainly even more sophisticated driver assists. They won’t be powered by petrol or diesel alone. But I do think that a driver will still be needed in the future because computers can’t control all situations in the same way a human being can.

8. What was your favorite toy when you were little?
Oh, there were lots. But I was really attached to one of my first dolls. Later me and the local boys would play with Matchbox cars. The most beautiful was a white Ford Mustang. It was completely battered, but I loved it.

9. Do you have any funny car stories?
The most unusual story I had was during the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano seven years ago. I got a job picking up customers from one airport and driving them to another – in Ireland. They were seven airline engineers who needed to get there urgently, but because no aircraft were flying, they had to rely on Flying Cars instead.

10. What’s your dream car trip?
My husband has been raving about the Pan-American Highway for years. I'd love to go with him. In South America it’s nice and warm and I’m looking forward to the landscapes and the people there.