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A stock character whose main job is to get the other, major characters from Point A to Point B so the plot can progress, after which he usually either drives off and is forgotten, hangs around the car and is forgotten or, in very, very rare cases, actually follows along and is generally forgotten. Every once in a while he might have some comic-relief scene in which he actually gets involved in the action, but not often at all.
However, he's not just a generic taxi driver, he'll have enough of a presence to be a unique character unto himself (he'll usually be given a name, for example) and to make sure that the audience doesn't see him as a piece of mobile furniture. He could be replaced with "So the group went from A to B" but for whatever reason, the author decided to create a scene and a character to go along with it. They may show up again, and may even become a regular if the show goes on for a while, but appearing as anything other than this role feels like a cameo appearance.
Drivers who fall short of this trope, and don't have a personality to speak of, are at high risk of becoming a Disposable Pilot.
Anime & Manga
- Bus Driver from Rosario to Vampire. Although this is seemingly just one of his roles, mostly what he does is drive the students around so they can have their own adventures. (As good as lampshaded at least a couple times with "Huh? why did he just drive us here and then leave?" reaction.)
- He also seems to fill the role of The Watcher and bears an uncanny resemblance to the school chairman, one of the three demon lords. Hasn't been taken anywhere yet, but there's still time...
- This is an entire career path in GetBackers, usually antagonistic to the heroes, who've been hired to retrieve the object being transported. Most notable is Stepford Smiler Akabane Kuroudo, who does just so he can fight interesting people.
- The taxi driver from Canaan.
- If you're in the DC Universe and you're stranded anywhere in the Milky Way, who ya gonna call? Space Cabbie!
- If you're in the Marvel Universe and you want to ship something anywhere in the galaxy, you'll want to call U.S. 1.
- John Constantine's friend Chas Chandler from Hellblazer and the film adaptaion, Constantine
- Ebony White in The Spirit.
- Moe Shrevnitz, played by the late, great Peter Boyle in the 1994 adaptation of The Shadow. He gets a couple of good lines, but basically he's there to get Alec Baldwin from scene one to scene two and that's all. Amazingly enough, it's done well enough that you don't get the feeling they wasted a great actor on a bit part.
- The school bus driver in 'Sky High
- Scrooged: The Ghost of Christmas Past dresses as a cabbie and drives a cab. He takes Frank Cross to various scenes in his past so Frank can learn from them.
- Benny the Cab, the anthropomorphic car in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, when he took Eddie Valiant and Jessica Rabbit out of Toon Town. Just stick out your thumb...
- Die Hard has that limo driver.
- The cab driver in Goodbye Lenin, who may or may not have been Sigmund Jähn.
- Ernie Bishop in It's a Wonderful Life.
- Happy Hogan, Tony's chauffeur, in the Iron Man films.
- George the taxi driver from Rush Hour 3 who kept reappearing in the movie to drive Lee and Carter across Paris because he loves the action.
- Ernie Prang and Stan Shunpike, the bus driver and conductor, respectively, on the Knight Bus from the Harry Potter universe, are actually two of the most popular "background characters" in those books. And all they do is get Harry to the Leaky Cauldron when he's wandering around after running away from home. Admittedly it's a memorable scene, but one that takes up just a few pages out of thousands in that story.
- Mr. Butt in Haroun and the Sea of Stories.
- Although all the main characters in Animorphs can turn into birds so they normally don't need to drive anywhere, when it comes up, Marco is always the one behind the wheel. Despite the fact that he is a terrible driver.
I heard a loud crunching sound. <What was that?> I asked.
<Fence,> Marco said.
A few seconds later, a very similar sound.
<More fence, okay?> Marco said. <Everyone just shut up, I have it under control.>
- In the web-novel Domina, Jarasax of the Blood-Doused Hunters acts as this for the retinue.
Live Action Television
- The cab driver in the pilot of How I Met Your Mother pops back up every once in a while.
- Ranjit! "To the town car!"
- Abaddon in Lost was a mysterious and menacing figure in his first appearences, but in the last episode he apperead in ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham") he was demoted to being pretty much this trope embodied, saying "I help people get to where they need to get to, John. That's what I do for Mr. Widmore".
- Chuck Bass' driver Arthur gets to see a whole lot of action on Gossip Girl.
- Jim Hacker's driver on Yes Minister generally knew more about what was going on than Hacker did. He explains that the ministerial drivers overhear all the secret conversations their employers have and gossip about them during their breaks.
- Charon, the boatman who ferries the dead (and errant heroes) across the River Styx to the Underworld.
- Paranoia adventure Vapors Don't Shoot Back: The PCs travel to the site of their first mission in a modified autocar driven by a man named Fiber-O. He maneuvers so wildly that the PCs are at risk of being thrown out of the car, drives at break-neck speeds, and can't be intimidated.
- Kapp'n from Animal Crossing. You and he have a nice conversation at the beginning of the game (disguising the fact that he's configuring the game for you), then he drops you off and except for very specific circumstances, you never see him again. But, everyone knows Kapp'n.
- The taxi driver from Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, who may very well be Caine, the first ever vampire.
- Bishop Shidux in the first No More Heroes will always ride out your motorcycle to you if you get too far from it in the overworld.
- Jock in Deus Ex flies your stealth/black helo. He can actually get killed if you don't check up on certain things or people at the right time. You can also break into his apartment in Hong Kong with a few trickish jumps.
- Several of the Cids, with airships instead of cars.
- Your cab driver, Raul, in Hell Cab.
- For some reason, it falls upon the player character to chauffeur everyone everywhere in every Grand Theft Auto game. Even San Andreas, which lampshades CJ's reckless driving.
- In The Omega Stone, one of the four characters you meet is a multipurpose example of this trope, able to drive everything from an RV to a limo to a helicopter to a sailboat.
- Rower from Naruto the Abridged Series.
- Otto Mann, the school (and other) bus driver from The Simpsons.
- While Uncle Ruckus has a couple dozen jobs, one of his most recurring ones in The Boondocks is school bus driver. Another is valet.