A VIP Chauffeur in London
Saudi princes, sat-nav snubs and sitting around: the reality of life as a VIP chauffeur
Sezar Struzha is a driver for London-based EG Chauffeurs. They provide professional driving services for discerning travellers, boasting a number one ranking for chauffeur companies on Trustpilot.
Originating from Kosovo, Sezar worked in bars and restaurants when he first moved to London in the 1990s before a friend suggested he became a minicab driver. “I had a nice car and in those days you didn’t need much in the way of licences,” he says.
As much as he enjoyed driving cabs, he soon found himself wanting to progress onto bigger and better things. He took on his first chauffeur-driving job in 1997, when he was tasked with driving a Saudi prince to Harrods and, since then, he’s never looked back.
Today, he drives a Mercedes-Benz S350d, which he owns himself. He’s not too concerned about the current anti-diesel agenda, having just ordered a replacement S350d for delivery in March.
“It makes no difference whether it’s diesel or petrol,” said Sezar. “Customers will probably never know. Diesel cars are now so quiet and the interior is exactly the same.” And as Sezar drives modern cars, he won’t be hit by London’s new T-Charge. “The diesel S-Class meets Euro 6 standards,” he added. “It’s very, very clean. I’m not worried.”
While he enjoys his job, he says it’s very different to how he expected – even compared to his previous job driving a minicab. “Minicabbing is normally driving from A to B… but chauffeuring is completely different. You spend more time waiting than you do driving. “On average, you probably drive for about 15 minutes and then you end up waiting for three to four hours.”
As well as being a driver, Sezar says he’s almost a PA to some customers. “You’re supposed to know all the best restaurants and pubs,” he says. Using the sat-nav is a big no-no with some clients, who expect their driver to know London inside out. He tells a great story of a nameless VIP’s daughter who had very demanding requirements. She’d spend five or six hours shopping at Harrods every day, and if her chauffeur wasn’t waiting outside a certain door when she’d finished, she’d be on the phone demanding a new driver.
“Most clients are fine,” he says diplomatically. “Many are down to earth, friendly and will give you a tip. Some will ask you to join them for food at the restaurant, while others will give you £20 for lunch or a coffee and tell you how long they’re going to be.”
Sezar often delivers VIPs to Buckingham Palace. “You have to follow a police escort,” he explains. It’s not all excitement, though. “A few weeks ago I was at Buckingham Palace and there were more than 100 chauffeur drivers inside waiting for their passengers.”
As the interview draws to an end, I ask him the question we all want to know: “So, er, who’s the most famous person you’ve had in your car?”
He laughs. “I couldn’t possibly tell you.”
featured image courtesy of EG Chauffeurs
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