Sunday, 26 January 2014

Exemplary Driver SH6757X Alexandra Road

Ms Salina informs the following on 24/01/2014:
I would like to take this opportunity to compliment Mr Ng (relief driver) of Comfort cab number SH6757X.
My colleague and I called a cab on 13 January 2014 afternoon and he picked us up at our workplace. Once we reached our destination at AST (Academy of Singapore Teachers), I asked if he could wait for 10 minutes because we need to carry some stuff and then return back to our workplace. 
Overall, he waited almost 25 minutes because being women, we had to manually transport down our stuff (stationery, files etc) a couple of times because firstly the place is huge, secondly there was no lift and so many stairs! (Anyone who has been there would know!) Lucky thing he sms-ed, called, and told me that he was still waiting for us! 
Due to the inaccessibility, Mr Ng asked where he could find us and offered to help us carry down all our heavy materials plue the trolley! In fact, he didn't want us to carry the heavy things because we are women! We carried lighter stuff though. 
While waiting and helping us, we found out that he did not even on the meter! He’s an excellent exemplary, caring and concern cab driver we have ever encountered so far. His selfless act touched our hearts. We should have more nice cab drivers like him who are willing to go the extra mile without expecting anything in return! But of course, we gave him a good amount of tip! 
Thank you Mr Ng!! Hope to ride in your cab again!
Regards, Salina 
p.s: we have also drop this same compliment to LTA online feedback form! :)
Indeed, this is a heartwarming story to share amidst the usual accounts of rude, obnoxious and ridiculous behaviour by drivers. I'm glad that you have taken the effort to publicise this driver's outstanding service and we sincerely hope that other drivers can take a leaf out of Mr Ng's approach to his vocation. Hopefully one day, these are the only stories we hear on this site. Hopefully.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Trans-Cab Again

Ms Geetika informs the following on 06/01/2014:
"I had lots of bad experience with Trans-cab. Latest one is when we took taxi from Changi Airport last night. We had lots of suitcases and it was difficult for us to keep adjusting the suitcases in the boot of Toyota Wish taxi, but the taxi driver stood beside the taxi watching us instead of helping us. When we stepped into the taxi I realised that he didn't had the ID card displayed in his taxi. While getting down at Jurong East this driver didn't even bothered to get down. He just took his money & left. If the driver could have helped us at the airport, it would have not delayed other passengers who have been standing for long in the queue. We pay 5sgd as airport tax, at least taxi driver should guide us if they don't want to lend a helping hand in handling the suitcase."
You raise a good point on the surcharge - the least the driver could do is give some advice on placing the luggage. Too bad you didn't take note of the licence plate number, otherwise you could lodge a feedback complaint to LTA online. All things considered, it must have been a good fare for him since you travelled from one end of Singapore to another - from the airport, no less. As usual, even the best circumstance for the driver is not enough to get some decent service.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Transcab Sticks Out Like A Sore Thumb

Truthful Truism informs the following on 18/12/2013:

I have been taking taxis almost daily for the past two years and have had my fair share of bad experience with irate taxi drivers from all taxi companies in Singapore.  
What really prompt me to send this feedback is the repeated bad experience I encountered with Trans-Cab Services. First, the taxis (especially Toyota Crown) are always badly maintained, at times with unhygenic standards. The taxi-drivers' attitude were rude and not customer-focus. Last year I had such a bad experience with one of Trans-Cab driver's attitude that I felt compell to write an official complaint to LTA. An LTA officer handled my case with extreme professionalism and the Trans-Cab driver was found guilty of "Failing to behave in a civil and orderly manner" under Rule 21 (a) of the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) (Vocational Licences and Conduct of Drivers, Conductors and Passengers) Rules. It was further added that Trans-Cab taxis does not really enjoy a good reputation in Singapore in which I can attest to this statement. 
I am always skeptical in boarding the red Trans-Cab taxis but due to the 'scarcity' of taxis especially in peak hours or bad weather and rushing for time I don't have the choice. 
Another extreme unpleasant experience with Trans-Cab taxi was in October'13. I board a red Toyota Crown around 8pm at Raffles Place and due to the driver of not paying attention to the braking, an accident happened at PIE/CTE. Luckily I was not hurt physically but the female driver of the private car was so traumatised that she cried. All thanks to the quick response of LTA Cisco officer, the matter was resolved systematically. However this accident was a real pissed-off to me, it could have been avoid if the driver of this Trans-Cab taxi driver have been more alert and concentrate.  
Just yesterday 17/12/13, left with no choice/alternatives I board a red Toyota Wish (SHD 9361H) at Amara Hotel 100am at 6: 25pm. I was taken aback to see the male driver keep his hair long, so long that he kept on managing his long hair with a hair band when driving! I was praying throughout the journey to have a safe journey. Thankfully nothing bad or pervasive happened. 
In short, I am quite happy with all taxi companies in Singapore with the exception of Trans-Cab taxis. There were several ocassions during early morning thunderstorms, SMRT taxis responded with my iphone bookings within 5 mins. The rest, in this aspects fails miserably.  
Already in the internet there were loads of nasty complaints against Trans-cab but the taxi company of such couldn't care less, much talk about improvement!

We've heard in the past that some cab companies have a lower standard when it comes to allowing hirers to operate their taxis and so those who get removed from other cab companies due to poor attitude end up collectively at the lowest-standard among all the cab companies. We're not sure if Transcab falls under that category but this could explain your observations of these drivers. We are heartened that you continue to pursue bad behaviour and take errant drivers to task - and we encourage all our readers to do so. Remember, it is by standing up against the ruffians that we can restore order.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Dangerous Driver Bedok North SHC1135C

Terence Teo informs the following on 07/11/2013:
On 7 November 2013, at about 7.40am, I was driving along Pan Island Expressway close to exit 8A/8B to Bedok North in the direction of Changi Airport when a Sonata Comfort Taxi, licence plate SHC 1135 C, cut into my lane from the left hand lane, the one that was leading to the Bedok North exit. The taxi came close to hitting me on my left front side. I have a video of the entire episode, which is why I can describe this encounter in such detail. 
I am sharing this with other road users, and this seems to be a recurring theme in all the posts I have read. I sympathise with taxi drivers and their long working hours and hard life, but this does not justify or condone reckless and dangerous behavior on the roads. Taxi drivers like to boast to me that they are professionals on the road and everyone else is an amateur, but the fact that you have long hours of experience and earn a living driving does not JUSTIFY arrogant and aggressive driving. I would like to ask taxi drivers to truly behave like professionals when they drive, so that we can post more positive experiences than negative ones.

Indeed, these drivers need to understand that no one owes them a living and they are motorists just like the rest. Unfortunately, waiting for them to gain this enlightenment is a recipe for disaster - as this blog shows. The best alternative then is to repeatedly call them out on their reckless, rude and fraudulent behaviour and intentions so that they will be cowered into behaving themselves. We urge you to submit the video to LTA through their online feedback portal so that it can be officially recorded against the driver's performance - more of such evidence will enable the authorities to clamp down on these errant motorists swiftly and prevent the accidents tha are waiting to happen because of them.

Clueless Egotistic Driver SH8148M

Milk C informs the following on 10/11/2013:
I came across your blog when I was googling for method to e-mail my bad experience with this cab driver to LTA, so I thought I should share it with you. 
On 10th November 2013, 1:07AM, my friends and I (there were four of us) decided to share a cab back home since we were all heading towards the same direction. We managed to hop onto this taxi (SH8148M) and told him our first destination. The taxi uncle seemed to be very indecisive and very unsure of which route to go as he would keep asking if it was okay to go by this route and re-confirm the route with us every few minutes. He seemed pretty polite (as of now) from the way he replied us after we re-affirmed the direction with him. 
The incident started after my first two friends alighted from the taxi. The remaining ones, my friend and I, lived in Tampines and Pasir Ris respectively. As our homes were really close to one another, normally we would tell the taxi uncle to go to the area which he thought was the closest one and allowed him to choose the route for us. It was different this time, however. The taxi uncle couldn't make up his mind where to go first, so he actually stopped the car some distance away from the traffic light on lane 1 before abruptly cutting through the lanes to lane 4 as he decided to go into KPE. 
The driver had yet to make up his mind even after we entered the TPE flyover, so I was telling him if he wanted to go to Pasir Ris first, he should exit by Exit 4. However, instead of listening to my suggestion, he asked for our addresses again (which we already told him after our two friends alighted). Nevertheless, we gave him again, but he still couldn't make up his mind whether to go Tampines or Pasir Ris first even when we were nearing Exit 5. 
Then, what he did next shocked me. He actually stopped the car in the middle of the highway and asked us where we preferred to go first (Note: There were 4 lanes and I vaguely remembered we were on the third lane). 
Honestly, my friend and I were really unsure whose house was nearer (since some of the taxi uncles would choose Tampines first, while some would choose Pasir Ris first), so I told the driver (again) to exit by Exit 4 if he wants to go into Pasir Ris, don't exit by Exit 5. However instead of following my request and/or acknowledging me, he just kept quiet and entered Exit 5 straight away and into Pasir Ris. 
I became annoyed because of that. But then I was having doubts that he might not have heard me, so I told him again that he should have exited by Exit 4 if he wants to go to my place, because it's faster. But he continued to remain silent and took my words like passing wind, which was then, I knew he was ignoring me on purpose. 
I started to look for his ID on the windscreen, but it wasn't there. So I asked him about it, in which, he finally opened his mouth and replied me (while raising his voice) that it had dropped and he didn't have time to paste it back. Then, he continued to raise his voice at me and said I was arrogant, which I thought was really out of nowhere (But after I think back about it, I think he said that because I was telling him that he should have exit by Exit 4 in a hostile way after we entered Pasir Ris. I was too frustrated at that point of time to talk to him nicely, especially when he failed to follow my request even after I told him that many times. My tone must have worsened as well after that because I was extremely pissed off by his rude attitude). 
After I alighted from the cab, my friend told me the driver kept on explaining that if he wanted to cheat our money, he would have gone to Tampines first. In that case, doesn't that means he already knew Pasir Ris was closer? =.= Why did he have to keep stopping the car in the middle of the road (dangerously) and asked for our opinions then (even when we repeated multiple times that either Tampines or Pasir Ris is fine)? 
Lastly, my friend told me he kept asking for my name. I'm not too sure why would he wants to know that, but I doubt it was for any good intention.

As you rightly point out, there can be no good intention from this driver. The best course of action is to lodge a complaint with LTA through their online feedback portal so that his actions can be recorded across different passengers. Otherwise, it is just a 'one-off incident' for each passenger he treats so poorly. Should we wait until an accident occurs and lives are lost before reflecting that we should have done this or that?

UPDATE on 24/11/2013 from Milk C:
Thank you for the suggestion. I've already sent my complaint to LTA and opted to revert the complain to Comfort because I think he should be given chance instead of having his licence revoked. Comfort had also responded to my complain, saying that they had issued warning to the driver. Hopefully similar incident will not happen again.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Driver Wanted for Film

Charly informs the following on 01/11/2013:

Dear Sir, I am a producer for MAKE Productions in Singapore and we are filming a pilot programme with Indonesian/French singer Anggun on Tuesday November 5th. We would like to film Anggun in a taxi who shows her around Singapore and would appreciate your advice on a recommendation for a taxi driver who would be appropriate for this. I understand your website is dedicated to negative experiences with cab drivers but perhaps you know some who deserve to be featured for being more positive cab role models?  
We would like someone who is charismatic and knows a lot about the city, who is very proud of the city and is happy to be on camera. We would need him/her to be available from 9AM to 11AM on November 5th. Please let me know if you have any ideas - I look forward to hearing from you.  
Kind regards, Charly

Readers, please nominate any driver whom you think is deserving for this role, thanks. You can leave the name and contact number of the driver in the comments or drop me an email at teo.lee.fong@gmail.com.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Cabbies: The Inside Story launched by Sam Hwang

A reader informed us about this book that was launched recently. We're not sure how good or informative it is but I'm sure if we were to collate all these stories here, we'd have a local best seller too! If any of you have read it, please share your reviews, thanks.


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Tyrant Clueless Driver Yishun SHD5506J

Aishah informs the following on 14/10/2013:

On 13 Oct 2013 at about 2325hrs, I took a cab (license plate no: SHD5506J) from Yishun MRT heading towards Woodlands. After Gambas I informed the cab driver to exit at a turn and he said he had already signaled to turn and he knew where he was going. 
Later, when I heard him signal to turn right, I informed him that this wasn't my exit yet and to proceed straight. He turned around to face me and lectured me for giving directions to him. He claimed that I was looking at my handphone and should therefore not be giving him directions. 
I found it extremely ridiculous that he took offense as I have been taking the same route home for close to a decade and I know where the turns are. I gave him directions because taxi drivers sometimes take the wrong exits to get to my address. 
Eventually, when I informed him to U-turn, he did a wrong turn instead. Not wanting to be in his cab any longer, I just told him to alight me opposite my home. I was looking for his name but the interior of the Prime orange/gold cab did not display his name. 
It's extremely disappointing to see some cab drivers being tyrants on the road. With all the emphasis on service, you would think the cab drivers in Singapore would be top notch and respect their paying customers. But upon reading all the complaints on this blog, I realised I'm not alone at being frustrated. 
I've met a handful of really excellent cab drivers on the road but I sincerely hope that the handful will soon outnumber the numerous bad drivers. Taxi companies should look to hire drivers who have passed certain service quality lessons. Drivers need to be assessed on their suitability to serve customers. 
I applaud the formation of this blog as it helps people share their experiences and most importantly, keep others aware of drivers with repeat complaints.

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Yes, we hope that this blog will one day not be required but until then, we want to consolidate all the rubbish dished out by these ruffians to serve as an infinite record of their misdeeds. The only way forward is for the commuters to take the fight to the industry since the industry is only interested in taking our money and giving us excuses. By reporting the matter to the LTA through their online feedback portal each and every time we encounter bad drivers, we put pressure on LTA for enforcement which then impacts the cab companies where it hurts - their bottomline. Once their operations and profits are affected, rest assured there will be change - fast and furious change, in fact.

Cowardly Dangerous Driver Alexandra Road

Ben Low informs the following on 13/10/2013:


On 19/05/2011 at about 6.20pm. I was riding on my motorcycle travelling straight on Lane 2 along Alexandra road towards Pasir Panjang road, just right outside Ikea. 
The Taxi Driver on the left of my lane signalled right for less than a second and swerved into my lane in an instant without checking for traffic.
That made me hit my brakes and horned at him. After hearing my horn, he stepped on his brakes slowing down his vehicle, so I overtook him, still on Lane 2. We stopped side by side at the traffic junction as the traffic lights were red.
He looked at me with an angry expression and gave a abusive hand signal at me. I looked into his car so he winded down his window, and asked me why did I horn at him.

I told him that he abruptly cut into lane without checking and almost caused me an accident. He then told me that he signalled so it's his right to change lanes, and also challenged me to the police station. After I said yes to his challenge, he kept insisting he was in the right of way and scolded vuglarities at me even though he had a passenger behind. 
I followed him to Queensway Police Station but he did not stop and just drove off. 
I was lucky to have avoided getting into an accident, but I cannot ignore such a incorrigible driver. 
I have send an email to transcab on 20th may 2011 regarding this issue and they promised me to give me an answer 5 to 10 working days. but it had been 2 weeks and I have not received anything from them. 

I hope some action will be taken on this taxi driver as this driver instead make a complaint to my company and because of this complaint I had been suspended from my job making me jobless now.

We are certainly not surprised that the taxi driver was all talk and no action - running away like the coward that he really is. We are also not in the least bit surprised that the taxi company did not get back to you - they are probably hoping that you will get tired of the matter and not follow up. This is why we strongly encourage those affected by rogue taxi drivers to immediately lodge a complaint through LTA's online feedback portal as that will result in concrete action and have firm outcomes. We feel bad that the taxi driver has pulled a fast one on you - thank you for sharing with us this experience so that other commuters and motorists can be forewarned when dealing with nasty encounters with these drivers.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Stupid Driver SHC1875A Telok Kurau

Dan informs the following on 24/08/2013:
I had a bad experience with taxi driver driving SHC1875A on 24 Aug 2013 at 0020hrs. 


As I was driving out into one Telok Kurau lane, which is a two way street but only accessible on one lane due to parked cars on one side, this taxi driver from afar can see me coming out and purposely stop just infront of me refusing to give way. Thereafter, he high beam me expecting me to reverse. He kept shaking his head and uses his hand signal to indicate he wants to go straight.


I use my signal to indicate that I will let him pass if he can simply allow me to head into a small gap but he simply refused and shaking his head. 


I'm so angry with myself that I didn't just park my car there and see what he could do but I was so tired and sleepy. Thus, I've reverse and let him pass. 


When he passes by my car, he was staring at me with hatred as if he wanted to start a fight. I am so angry but there's nothing I can do except sharing and hopefully expose this driver. 
Thanks for listening. 
A frustrated driver 
Indeed, these morons seem to prefer wasting everybody's time (including their own) with their nonsensical logic and rationale. Instead of practising safe driving and enabling everyone to have a convenient experience, we repeatedly see this type of senseless behaviour - in this case rushing to block your way. The best option is to lodge a report with LTA on their online feedback portal since part of the driver responsibilities includes being courteous on the road. By lodging a complaint, this particular driver will get the message that other drivers are not willing to put up with his nonsense any more.

Needlessly Violent Driver SHB5234D Queenstown

Mr Khriz informs the following on 19/08/2013:
Just like to bring to your attention my experience with a very threatening taxi driver of SMRT taxi, SHB5234D.  
I booked the taxi on 17 Aug Saturday evening, and the abovementioned taxi arrived shortly at my house in Queenstown area. I told the driver that I am going to Changi Airport Terminal 3. While inside the taxi, he asked how I would like to go. As I was in a hurry and also busy with my emails/calls, I told him not to ask me the directions and he should just take the shortest route.
To my surprise, he shouted "Simi l*n ji*o?!" loudly and stopped the taxi. He then told me that if I have such attitude, he does not want to take me and ask me to get out. He then opened his door and beckoned that he was going to remove my luggage. I replied in surprise that I did not show him any attitude, but just in a hurry, and I do not know the directions well because this is my parents' place and I was outstationed for awhile. He continued his aggressive approach that are peppered with expletives and kept telling me to get out of the taxi because he did not like my attitude. 
As it was very difficult to get a taxi at that time and I do not wish to miss my flight, I had no choice but to apologise to him reluctantly and ask him to bring me to the airport. He then insist that I tell him which way to go, so I said "PIE" but asked him if that is the shortest way. He replied that he don't care which is the shortest way, but because I said "PIE", then he will go via PIE. 
The journey was very unpleasant as he drove either very slowly or very recklessly, perhaps to spite me. At times, he would swerved when there are clearly no nearby vehicles, causing me to hit my head on the window twice. I told him to drive safely but he retorted that I told him that I was in a hurry, and if I am not happy with his driving, I should get out. Clearly he knows I am in a hurry and its tough to get a taxi on Sat evening, so using it against me. I had no choice but to keep quiet. When we reached the destination, he refused to help me with my luggages and told me that it is not his duty. Thus I have to spend time to take out my bags and wait for him to count my change slowly.  
I would like to highlight that at no time did I use any vulgarities on him, though towards the end I did raised my voice as I cannot take it any more. His expletive-laced responses and remark that I have an "attitude" is truly uncalled for.
This letter had also been sent to LTA with further details, and I hope the authorities can bring him to task before other passengers get hurt.
We applaud your bravery in standing up to this bully and following through with an official complaint. It is obvious to us that this is not the first time this idiot driver has harassed a passenger and it certainly won't be the last - until he is forcibly stopped by revocation of his licence. Please keep us updated on the investigation by LTA and the outcome.

Fraud Driver SHD5844H Cross Street

Ms K Tan informs the following on 17/08/2013:

Hi, I would like to share the 1st bad experience I had with a Transcab driver.
License plate number :SHD5844H
Me and my friend board the cab from cross st at around 2.05am on 17th August 2013. When we board the cab, the driver knew my friend was about to vomit, he did not chase us out and even said OK to fetch us. After which, my friend vomited into a plastic bag that he'd given to us. Then the taxi driver went to the nearest petrol station claiming that his taxi is out of petrol and he got no choice but to stop and pump petrol first. So we waited till he finished pumping the petrol then he proceed to send us back to boon lay.  
When we arrived, I sent my friend up to the house and the taxi driver offered to wait for me downstairs. When I came back down, he clamed that my friend vomited in his taxi and said he will need to claim car washing fees. As it was late, and I was alone, as a female I have no choice but to obliged. As I reached my destination, the cab fare was $41.50 The taxi driver then told me that the washing fees is $20. I find it ridiculous but still I have to no choice but to obliged because I was alone and there was no one around. I paid $60.00. And when I asked him for the receipt, he claimed that he cannot print out. 
I find that this taxi driver obviously is trying to cheat me of my money seeing that I'm all alone and as a female, I couldn't have fight against him. $20 for washing just 1 seat on the car? and my friend vomited into the plastic bag he gave, I did not even see any stains on the seat as he claimed he'd already wipe it off. If you said $6, I still find it's reasonable as that is what petrol stations are charging us for washing of the entire car. We waited for him to pump petrol, that alone already costed us more than $6.00
Refused to giving me a receipt already dictate that he is not doing something rightful. Everyday I'm taking cab, but never have I encounter such ridiculous incident before. As a Singaporean, it's very disappointing to see fellow Singaporeans extorting money out of us. Do you think this is my own fault or I can lodge a complaint towards him?

Obviously this driver is a predator who preys on night revellers who will be vulnerable when tipsy or drunk. It certainly sounds suspicious and looks very much like this was premeditated fraud and extortion. Our advice is to immediately lodge a report with LTA through their online feedback portal so that they can launch an investigation and hopefully revoke this guy's licence altogether. We must take into account that this driver probably makes a dishonest living by doing this regularly and in most cases, the person might be too drunk to recall the crime.

Monday, 15 July 2013

App to Hail Taxis

Mr Hadi informs the following on 08/07/2013:

I'm a fan of your blog, and I must say some of the encounters shared do irk me. But I'm not sending you this email to complain/compliment a recent taxi trip, rather, share with you an encounter of mine online, of a local taxi e-hail app; allows one to e-hail a taxi by a simple tap on their phone, check it out here :


What are your thoughts and possibly the visitors' on this?

Seems like an interesting idea and we wish you the best of luck to get this off the ground.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Imbecile Driver SHB5453? Aljunied MRT

Ms Valerie Jong informs the following on 04/07/2013:
We boarded on one SMRT taxi with plate number SHB5453# (couldn't recall the last alphabet), driver Lim Eng Chuan (or Chuang) from Aljunied MRT station to somewhere near Joo Seng area. The driver drove quite recklessly and was loud when he asked us the exact direction to the place we were heading to. Upon reaching the destination, my friend gave him a $50 note for the fare of $7.20 and he asked us rudely if we have smaller note cause he didnt have small change. He then asked us to pay with the Smartcard. He took the card from us with damn rude gesture and after he's done scanning the card, he asked us to get down to get our stuffs from the back of the car so effin harshly!  After we got down and retrieved our belongings from the back of the car, he shouted at us so loudly and asked us to shut the door properly as it wasnt shut tightly. My friend finally lost his temper and asked why he need to scream and shout like that. He scolded back at us with tonnnessss of obscenities and drove off. After he made a turning and drove away from the area, he still managed to wind down the window and spitted at our direction!!! Geez!! Please, the authorities should really take stern action on this driver for his extremely rebuke-able behavior!
Yes, this is the typical taxi driver, a moron with no sense of civility and appropriate behaviour. I think it would be a huge disservice if you didn't report this imbecile to LTA through their online feedback portal immediately!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Taxi Uncle Sings to Passenger

Chan informs the following on 29/06/2013:

Hi there,

Amazingly, I've not had a bad experience with taxi drivers in Singapore; I only feel frustrated when I'm late and they are driving slowly, or when it's a jam. But it's not their fault. 
Apart from that, I've had very good experiences where many times the taxi drivers strike a conversation with me, or thank me and say "good bye and have a good day ahead!"
Sometimes, I initiate the conversations or say thank you first - most of the time, they will chat or respond back to me cheerfully. Like my mom always says, it takes 2 hands to clap. 
Here's a video (not by me) but by a young Singaporean who did an "experiment" to see how nice taxi drivers are out there. It's really good and shows the great Singaporean taxi drivers out there.
Hope you will share this on your blog!
Best regards,
Chan


We do not have problems sharing the good examples - it was nice to see some drivers go the extra mile to help a fellow Singaporean out. However, we do wonder if the guy who made this video only added the positive experiences and not the negative ones?

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Menace of SMRT Taxi Drivers Woodlands Circle


Zhang Penghua informs the following on 13/05/2013:

I do feel our Singapore taxi drivers are mostly polite and careful in driving. But here I just to share my bad experience with SMRT taxi drivers.
 
First case happened about a month ago.
It was about 3:00pm on a weekday, at woodlands circle.
My daughter was crossing the “green man” zebra from evergreen primary school towards blk742, suddenly a SMRT taxi sped past her and the taxi driver realized he ran the red light, he slowed down after passing my daughter and waved to her to say sorry.
The car plate no was SHD65xxx.
 
Second case happened just today (05/12) at ~12:50 noon.
It was at woodlands Drive 40, my daughter and I was riding bicycles towards woodlands circle, while passing the auxiliary road from drive 40 towards blk 701, 702, a SMRT taxi suddenly turned left into the auxiliary road from woodlands circle direction without signalling and without slowing down.
The car plate no is SHD607xD, purple, Chevrolet.
 
I would like SMRT to emphasize to their taxi drivers the importance of safety, and don’t take people’s life for granted.

Sadly, such experiences are the norm instead of the exception and nothing is done until someone loses a life. Such is our society that is highly reactive but hardly proactive. We, as commuters and pedestrians, have to be vigilant with the taxi drivers here. We hope that this will change over time, but I am not hopeful at all.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Exemplary Driver from Comfort

Michelle Zhang informs the following on 08/05/2013:

Hi I would like to commend a taxi uncle who went out of this way to help me. I do not remember his taxi plate no. and name but he is from Comfort. That morning, I made a taxi booking from Comfort. The taxi uncle was early and made a phone call from his mobile phone to mine to inform me that he was at the lobby. I went down about 5-10 minutes later (my fault) and he was kind enough to wait for me. No vulgarities or complaints from him and he drove me to my workplace with a cheerful attitude. As I was rushing to work, I left a document bag in the taxi and forgot all about it. Some time later, I realised that I had left my bag in the taxi. As I had the number of the taxi uncle, I called him and told him about my blunder. Thankfully my bag was still in the taxi and he volunteered to send it back to my workplace which he did. Really glad to have met this great uncle who went an extra mile for me.
It's great to hear of such heartwarming stories but the truth is that such gems are so rare among the taxi drivers of Singapore. As you have the handphone number of the driver in this case, why not send a feedback through LTA's online portal so that they can trace the driver and recognise his exemplary attitude and service.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Idiot Driver SHB2700U Bedok South

Mr Phil Teng informs the following on 30/04/2013:
At about sometime after 7 pm on 30 April 2013, I was driving on straight road coming out of Blk 60 Bedok South, when I saw a speeding taxi from far driving on wrong side of Road. (my side) coming straight at me.  I stop and keep sounding my horn, but he still came straight at me and only stop inches away from my vehicle. I got down my car and want to confront him.  He was still talking on the phone while winding down his window. This driver is very dangerous to road user and pedestrian especially at the speed he drive in HDB estate and completely ignore everything while on the phone. Something must be done before further serious mishap happen. 
video
Taxi No: SHB2700U (white mercedes)

It is quite common for taxi drivers to be complacent and take things for granted. Perhaps this guy was distracted in trying to locate his destination. In any case though, he should have stopped to figure out what he is going to do rather than try to over-manage and nearly cause an accident.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Rogue Driver Resurfaces SHD352T Changi Airport

Wei Ren informs the following on 01/04/2013:
I search online for this taxi SHD352T and found your blog, and I am going to share what I had email to trans cab for my bad experience with the driver. Please see below:

Your taxi driver ruined my day!
Today, at around 10:30PM on 1st April 2013, I just got off from my happy trip arrived at Changi Airport terminal one. I went up to this Trans Cab taxi with car plate number SHD352T. First I told him i am going to Tampines Ave 5, he told me he just know Tampines, he dunno where is Ave 5, rudely! Hey man, he is a taxi driver, how can he got his license which such capability? And how can he be so rude?! Ok then I told him I will guide him until the destination.
Along the way I felt so uncomfortable as his driving skill is lousy, breaking while there is no car no red light in front, and the car is moving left and right.
When we arrived at destination, I first ask whether I can pay by Nets. Ya maybe I didn't notice that there isn't such Nets machine in his cab, but how can he impatiently response to me with "Do you see any machine in the cab!"??? Fine then I give him a note of $50 for the total charge of $14.42. When he is looking for the change, I told him just give me back $35.50. I am not intentionally to give him tip of $0.10, just I want to get off from the cab ASAP! He responded with "Take back all your money! You think 10 cents is so big?!".
He ruined my vacation mood with such bad attitude and driving skill! I hope you can do something or else I will complaint to LTA and hope someone else can give me a acceptable response!
FYI I found there is a complaint to the same taxi, link as below:


We are not surprised that the same taxi drivers appear on this blog because the regulations are not stringent enough against errant drivers. In this case, an extremely rude driver who once abandoned a passenger in the middle of nowhere displays his arrogance. This is why reporting every horrible incident is important - every time a driver gets away with his ruffian behaviour is a moment he gets bolder. We would advise you to lodge a report with LTA through their online feedback portal so that there will be more pressure on Transcab to take corrective action instead of giving lip service.

Aggressive Driver SHD2781A Ubi Avenue

Jessie Ong informs the following on 25/03/2013:

I would like to make a complaint against the driver of SHD2781A. This incident happened on 22.03.2013 (Friday) evening at 6.12pm.
I was waiting for a taxi along the main road of 50 Ubi ave 3 Frontier. And this taxi driver stopped opp of the main road and asked me to cross over to board his taxi. When I boarded the taxi, I told the Uncle, I wanted to go to Tampines st 93 industrial park, near to safra tampines.
And I even mention clearly that I want to go by “BARTLEY ROAD EAST”. I believe this not a VERY new road, although there are some road works there. He argue with me saying I cannot go by that road. (In a very bad attitude). So I asked him which way he want to use? He answered me OF COURSE by “PIE” Pan island expressway. I said HUH? Isn’t that a detour? It is going a big round.
He start shouting at me, saying than which way I want to use. Repeated 3 -4 times. Shouting. I am so angry, and wanted to alight immediately. This kind of service is really not acceptable. I AM A CUSTOMER. My Dad & father in law both are taxi driver. Both of them are driving in Singapore daily. They even know this road, how come this uncle don’t know, and he even got the cheek to tell me, “I STAY IN UBI” don’t tell me “Bartley road east”.
I myself is also a DRIVER. I am driving every day. From Loyang to Ubi. I am using this road everyday!!! Why can’t he just follow instruction? Enter Bartley road east and exit tampines ave 10. That is so simple. My whole journey took 8.1 KM… This so ridiculous.
My total fare come up to $12.35. When I paid and took a receipt from him, I told him, I will complaint him. He shouted at me again. “I AM NOT SCARE, GO AHEAD AND COMPLAINT ME”. I have 4-5 eye wittiness saw what had happened when I alight from the taxi.

This is precisely the problem we want to solve - taxi drivers abusing passengers when it is the latter who should be in control. These drivers seem to suffer from some inferiority complex and turn aggressive at the slightest discussion. The best approach is to proceed with a complaint via the online feedback portal offered by LTA.


Sunday, 10 March 2013

Xenophobic Driver SHD2609R Lavender Street

Mr Ranjan informs the following on 24/02/2013:


I found your blog when I was trying to find out how to pursue complaints with LTA.
I had a very bad experience with a rude taxi driver yesterday (22nd Feb 2013). Here is a description of what happened.

I, with my wife and our one month old daughter, took a cab from the ICA office to the Tekka Market at around 1 PM. As we got near the destination, I asked the driver to pull up on the right side of the Serangoon Road in front of the Verge Shopping Mall. Since, it is a one way road, stopping on the right hand side is possible. Also, Since, it was sunny and I did not want my daughter to get exposed to the sun. The driver did not respond and pulled up one block ahead. When I asked him that why did he not stop where I asked him - he responded rudely, "cannot lah, you cannot stop there". I settled the fare and got down to take out the baby stroller; my wife and baby were still inside the cab. As I got down, I saw another taxi stopping at the same place where I wanted our cab to stop. I opened the driver side of the front door and told the driver that if other taxis could stop there (pointing to the place, where I wanted him to stop), why couldn't he? At this point he flung open the door and walked agressively towards me, shouting at me "so what, if I did not stop there." When I told him not to shout, he started saying, "I can't stop suddenly, I dont have eyes at the back of my head" etc etc. When I told him again not to shout, he came on my face, continously saying "F### you", all the while I was asking him not to shout. At one point he started saying, "Go back your country" repeatedly. He came so close to me that an onlooker had to tap on his shoulder to stop a possible assault. At this point he went back in the cab. 
As I was fetching my wife and baby from inside the cab, I was talking to my wife about the ignorance and rudeness of the driver, he again came out and started saying, "F#$# you, Go back your country". The driver also asked me to complain and go to the court, if I wished. My baby was in my arms now, so I just took the cab's number.
It was a golden color cab, with the number as SHD2609R. I think he was a Chinese driver, in his mid 50s. As I did not know the company it belonged to, I called up Comfort Cab, telling them that I want to complain about a rude driver. The operator told me that she cannot take the complaint as the cab did not belong to her company. I asked her about where to lodge a complaint as I didn't know the name of the company and she she gave me the LTA number.
I called up LTA and narrated the incident. The officer said if I was willing to go to the court. I told her that I didn't know the law of the land and asked for her advice instead. She said that the officers would investigate the matter and get back to me. She took my name and number. 
My complaint is on 3 counts -
1. Being rude and inconsiderate about the passengers needs. I was travelling with a month old infant
2. Using swear words and coming close to a intimidating/threatening distance
3. Using racist language and asking me to leave the country
Later I found that the cab belonged to Prime company. I called them to lodge a complaint, but they said that as I have reported the LTA, that being a higher authority will do the necessary on this matter.
The reason for writing to you is to find out -
1. What would be the next likely course of action here?
2. What sort of proof or witnesses do I need, in case the matter goes to court? There were a few shop keepers that I can approach for help.
3. Should I expect LTA to call and update me? OR Should I call them to pursue the matter further?
Thank you so much, for patiently reading this. Will look forward to your advise.
Yes, lodging a complaint with LTA is indeed the right move as we have seen how cab companies try to trivialise the matter to maintain their profits. I do think the LTA officer should not have tried to frighten you with questions on whether you would be willing to testify in court because there is so much that needs to transpire before that happens. The authorities are strongly governed by regulations here in Singapore and so the course of action will be followed. The proof and court case issue is actually a separate issue and is about his intimidating behaviour which may be an offence under the Penal Code. As with any agency, efficiency is always a question mark so I would suggest calling back to check after 2 to 3 weeks if there has been no follow-up with you. It is unfortunate that you had to go through that horrible experience but whether there is a concrete outcome or not, it will be recorded in the driver's file so he will think twice about being a ruffian to another passenger again.  Thank you for having the courage to stand up to this bully!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Taxi Driver Needs Witnesses, Defu Bus Depot

Ms Lindy Lim informs the following on 23/11/2012:

I am a Comfort Taxi relief driver. I came to the defu bus depot to buy diesel.

I arrived at hougang depot on the 24/04/2012 at 3.30pm. It was a raining day and the depot diesel kiosk lane was crowded. Buses and cabbies were refilling diesel at that point of time. I waited less than a minute, the kiosk keeper waved to me and signal me to drive to lot no.6 which was just next to the cashier.


While I was coming out of my car I had a great fall onto the ground after which I noticed that the cemented flooring was greasy and wet. I tried very hard to grip or hold on to something whatever is near me to prevent falling onto the ground but I failed. I rest on the ground and after awhile the next taxi(citicab sonata) arrived queuing behind me. He saw me on the floor so he get out of his vehicle to help me. He then get some cabbies and the keeper pull me aside and call for an ambulance. Then I was send to CCG.


After that I was told that my hand was broken and as a relief driver, I couldn't claim for my loss of income and medical for the injury as
I have no insurance coverage under the relief driver.
Now I engaged a lawyer to claim against negligence. And I need the support from all comfort taxi drivers, please help me.

If anyone witnessed this incident, please drop me an email so that I can put you in touch with this taxi driver, thanks.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Positive Driver SHC5508J

Ms Khor Shu Kim informs the following on 10/11/2012:

Hi, I am writing in to compliment a taxi driver.

On 9th November 2012, I boarded this cab with a Malay uncle who offered to give my mother and I a lift to where we were heading to. We told him that we found a lost wallet but was unable to find the correct destination after searching for so long, so the cab driver took out his map trying to find the place but there was no such address in the map (the place turned out to be a block unit in a condominium).
The cab driver dropped the Malay uncle first and after he alighted, he switched off the meter and said he'd not charge us. My mum and I were completely shocked and wanted to pay him but he obliged. We took some time before we could find the condo.
I felt that he should be complimented! My mother and I thought that despite us doing a good deed, we also met 2 nice Singaporeans!

Name of taxi driver: Wong Choong Mum, taxi plate number: SHC5508J
While it is hard to find such sensible and sincere drivers these days, we are more than happy to highlight the good alongside the bad cases. Please make this formal by sending a feedback through the LTA online feedback form as well.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Understanding Driver Newton

Ms Jessie informs the following on 08/11/2012:

Caught a cab back from the city yesterday with a lovely friendly driver to Newton road. Did not realise until it came time to pay that I only had a couple of dollars and it turned out there was no card machine. The driver thankfully let me pay just a couple of dollars but naturally I felt sad as the driver missed out on the rest of the fare. The following evening I went to catch a taxi home from the city again and of all the 25,000 cabs I managed to get the same driver. He was delighted to see me and I made sure he got the money he missed out on and a little extra. Thanks to all the lovely taxi drivers in Singapore!

In future, you could always take note of the plate number and send in a feedback note through the same LTA online feedback form so that the compliment and appreciation can be formally recorded. Such experiences of positivity from taxi drivers is painfully rare. Hopefully this will change through our collective efforts.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Taxi Driver Perspective: Errant Cabbies vs Demanding Passengers

John Andrew informs the following on 23/09/2012:

Hi, I am John Andrew, Just recently knighted as a Cab/Taxi Driver with Comfort Cab these past 6 months. I was serving the Army as a Regular for the past 35 years. After all these years serving the Nation I decided that I shall be my own Boss and at the same time attend to my Charity works, social services as well as Counselling in order to keep my Counselling Psychology Degree current. Well so much about myself and now to write my views and observation on the topic I have chosen to share.

I do agree that we do have reckless, unruly drivers etc. but we Cabbies do too have very highly demanding passengers too. There are passengers (pax) who thinks cabbies should know every "creeks and nooks" in Singapore. I beg to differ. Singapore as we native Singaporeans know for a fact that roads, buildings, places in and around Singapore changes over time and it is tough to keep track of the changes. And the routes that changes over time.

Unlike the Countries I have travelled for e.g Australia, Taiwan, Thailand, USA, New Zealand... These places, roads and buildings remains unchanged. So is it right to say been born in a particular Country or commonly known as natives of one Country, Cabbies should know all the places in Singapore then I must agree to disagree to say the least. Sadly, it isn't the case. And I want to reiterate that when a cabby asked which route you prefer to take does not necessarily means we do not know the way,instead we cabby want to know your preferred to avoid being accused of taking a longer distance.

In these past 4 months, driving a cab in Singapore, please allow me to share my experiences or my encounters with Pax and you be the judge:

a. As far as possible, I will almost always ask my pax after greeting them, "is there any specific route you want me to take". And normally the answer from the Pax would, "Fastest and the Shortest route." No Thank You, No Please, and No Greetings Returned.

b. Most pax especially, the Foreigners, almost always assume (ass u me) that our Cabbies are all out to cheat on them by taking the longest route, checking our taxi meter with ostrich neck movements, and worst still taking out their toy phones and googling the route we are traveling to penalize us for not going the other direction etc. My view on this is, Your shortest route may not be my shortest route. As a cabby, I choose to travel routes that are less congested or faster because I rather pick more passengers at various stops then to be stuck with one pax for long. it does not pack monetary sense.
N.B: I try as often to explain that in Singapore Cabbies who are found flouting the rules or cheating pax in terms of taking longer than perceived routes can be penalized by LTA.

c. Then there are Pax who books a call and at the same time waits on a another Taxi by the by. And the moment a taxi comes along their way they take that taxi and cancels your booking. This has happen many many times with me and I am certain it happens with other cabbies too. Not bearing in mind that usually when a call is made and when take the bookings we have to make u-turns and turns to rush to the callers location only to disappointed with a rude cancellations. And this happens far too often that affects our business as it is becoming too rampant. And most of the time it's a foreigner who abuses the booking system here in Singapore.

d. I have also encountered pax who directs you through a certain route and when they suddenly gets disorientated with the route accuses the Cabbies by remarking, "You take on from here you are the cabby and you should know the routes? Come on excuse me, you bring us to a unknown destination or location and ask us to navigate from there is that fair on us Cabbies.

e. And to make matters worst the insist on paying us less than what is shown on the meter as a discount for taking them for a ride so they claimed. Often we Cabbies will just bite the bullet and receive our dues rather to engage with an argument with these sort of nasty pax or cheapo pax.

f. Then there are pax who expects you to drive fast so that they can reach their location faster because they are late for work or their appointments etc. If we comply we are good Cabby otherwise they rant and vent their grudges and anger on us.

g. How about pax who makes a booking and make you wait 5 to 10 mins but if you make the pax wait 2 to 3 mins they grumble and cry mother and cry father. Looks like damn you do and damn you don't.

h. But having said all of the above, I must admit we do have great pax who are friendly, greets you with please, thank you and above all treats us cabbies with dignity. But to dwelve into these I shall write about it in my next sharing.

Thank you for reading and forgive me if I sound nagging and intolerant due to lack of patience and understanding. God Bless and Have a Blessed Day.

Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Taxi Driver Perspective: Be a Considerate Passenger

'Sir Nelspruit' informs the following on 13/09/2012:

Let me add some further points/perspective to the 3 written earlier.

d) Passengers Staying in Nearby Locations

Now I'm sure this may have happened to many passengers over the course of their ridership in taxis. That is: when you join a taxi queue and then tell the driver your are going nearby. This happens quite frequently to passengers at Changi Airport returning home to places to Pasir Ris/Tampines. In fact I picked up 1 such passenger last night.
Or you perhaps after a night out in town want to go to Newton or Spize River Valley, or if at Woodlands Checkpoint or the Zoo and want to return home to Woodlands. I think you get my point.

What does happen occasionally, is that you get drivers who moan and groan at your destination, or worse driver erratically and abuse you. Some even threaten to drop you off at the expressway! This is totally unacceptable.

Look, you have a right to buy a house where ever you want, and unless the driver is willing to buy you a home at his expense somewhere further, I don't see what justification is there to abuse a passenger. Anyway he doesn't complain when he gets a fare to Jurong or Town (City centre), why must he complain when he gets Tampines (from the airport).

There is a golden rule - if you queue you don't complain or choose, when you get not so good fares. You don't want to experience this, don't queue up. Like last night, I was in 2 minds should I stay back at the airport for a fare or go somewhere else, say East Coast? Always a possibility I could get Tampines and make my time waiting not so productive. It is a risk I took, and when you gamble, there's always a possibility you might not win. So why should I take my frustration out on the passenger, who is totally innocent and wants to go home? He or she is not asking for a free ride is she?

So remember this, no choosing when lining up, tell the driver if he don't like to face such possibilities, don't queue up, he can put his change shift location and ask normal street fares, but in a queue, pick and go wherever the pax wants. Similarly if I was behind a driver who refuses to pick up a fare (the first in line): I will also not pick the fare, instead tell the fare to take the first one or complain. If the fare does get into my cab, rest assured I will ask the pax for his details so I can register a complain with LTA.
You can't always expect to have your cake and eat it. Don't be bullied by such tactics.

That said, sometimes a bit of understanding is not misplaced. Sometimes during street hire, a driver may ask you for your destination, maybe he or she has a prior appointment with a little bit of time to kill or wants to head to a particular destination for that appointment (could be a family matter as is usually the case). I think in such circumstances a little bit of give and take is fair, because the LTA has this stupid rule that changing shift is purely for that - changing shift, so if the driver's family member has something on that he has to attend, he cannot put changing shift only busy - which is a waste, since he can help some passenger going to that location he is going.

I know that the reason for not allowing this, is because some abuse this and always put changing shift to avoid going to 'unproductive locations' but I think a bit more common sense and a proper case to case study in determining what punishments (if any) should be meted out. But the irony is that a single hirer with no relief can never put changing shift, he can only put busy! So if I am such a driver and want to go home to AMK and stop for the day, I am not allowed to put changing shift because I have no relief! LTA it appears only makes rules to punish but not rules to study and understand the problems on the ground, causing such rules to have to be continously flouted, because it's not practical.

e) Card Payments

It is true that there has been a lot of technology in place to encourage a more cashless society. And it is not misplaced, it is a good idea and saves you the trouble of always drawing money to pay for stuff, some of which may be spur of the moment needs or buys. Imagine having to draw cash every single time - that can be quite a hassle!

However, there are certain things to remember, when you use a card - a) some shops demand a minimum purchase for using it b) you definitely pay more for it and most crucially the following - c) you must have cash in your account to pay for it and d) the system has to be working to accept such payment - your card could be unreadable or the system might be down. So there is always a definite risk in paying by card that such a payment might not be available.

Now taxis are not fixed shops, where you can terminate the purchase by not buying the goods. In taxis you pay for a service like a meal in a restaurant, after the service has been provided. If you did not bring sufficient cash, then things can be sticky and lead to problems both for yourself and the driver.
So if you intend to pay by card, please check before boarding that the system is working in the cab or that the machine can accept your type of card. (Different companies and taxis have different operating systems, so not all cards are acceptable by certain machines).

Of course there are some cabbies who refuse cards for some reason or the other - again fairly or unfairly to the pax's point of view. I am not trying to justify such actions, but I understand why. If I am a hirer (the one who leases the cab), I would have no problems with card payment. Why? Because payment goes directly into my account and the company can deduct the rental from it and I only need to top up the difference if any. It saves me the time to raise the figure and deposit into the bank. Therefore the more passengers paying by card, the better.

But if I am the relief, then it might be so good. Why? Because I have to pay the daily rental and diesel consumption by cash daily (to the hirer) and pocket whatever difference. Therefore as a relief I must have a certain amount of cash 'to roll' daily. Add to the fact that payments made by card after 10pm get deposited the day after (not the next day at 6pm), and payments made after 10pm Thursday only become available at 6pm on Monday (Tuesday if a public holiday is in between), and you can see a problem I will face, if I need cash to pay for my and my family needs on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, not forgetting that I still have to pay the rental and diesel in cash too. This of course if I drive with Comfort, other companies card payment return system (to the driver) might take a few more days longer.

So therein lies a problem that remains up to now. Perhaps it's time for companies to look at this issue better and offer better incentives or rebate for card payments to their drivers, instead of leaving them to drivers to have to choose between offering better service to the passenger or their family needs. Between the 2, I am sure you know which the driver will choose.

In short, by never addressing problems for drivers, companies or the authorities in drawing rules, inevitably make the passengers bear the brunt of whatever flaws they have in their rules, even if these rules are supposed made to 'help passengers or ensure better service'.

Back to my suggestion. I think it's fair if your trip is over $15 and you pay by card, if you're short of cash. But try to have at least $10-15 in cash before boarding a cab. I think it saves the hassle of having to find an ATM along the way. Of course sometimes the system is genuinely down (my cab's system has a mind of it's own, sometimes it's ok, sometimes it accepts only credit card but not NETs - I dunno why and really I don't have the time to drive down and get a full system check and deprive the hours needed to find fares).

Whatever it is (I do realise sometimes some pax have to pay my cards issued by their company for claims), always check before boarding and where possible pay by cash, if you can.

f) Please Do Not Eat in a Cab

You heard the saying - 1 man's meat is another's poison. So try not to consume food in a cab. If you must, ask permission first from the driver. If he allows, well and good, if not, then wait until your destination. Eating in cabs is not allowed, but nobody bothers. There will never be a fine for this - just another 'rule' that has lost its' practicality.

But eating does pose some problems for the driver and the passenger after you. Your crumbs will somehow find its' way into crevices and this will attract cockroaches over time. The smell will linger in cab and future passengers will have to put up with this. Not a very nice thing is it? And the driver has to clean up after you left, especially if you left used tissues and wrappers behind.

And not all food smells nice, I am not a Muslim, but I don't like pork, so the smell of pork in the cab can be quite nauseating to me, what more a Muslim passenger later. The same goes for other meats like beef for instance or fried food. Try leaving fried food in an air-conditioned setting for 20 minutes, the smell of oil will permeate the room.

If you're hungry eat first then board the cab, multi tasking is not appreciated here. I won't pick passengers eating food while hailing for a cab. But I have had some passengers ask me nicely to eat in the cab, and this I do allow, advising them to eat carefully while I drive slower and open the windows.

So a bit of common sense please, imagine if I, stranger, got into your family car and started eating, how would you feel?

Ok that's this for now, perhaps a few more things later on. Please feel free to comment on my pointers and giver your reasons whether you agree or not, thanks.
And thank YOU for providing us with such detailed advice!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Taxi Driver Perspective: Be a Smarter Passenger

'Sir Nelspruit' informs the following on 10/09/2012:

Let me offer some advise, tips and explanations for the taxi passengers.


Now not all of these advise/explanations may sound reasonable, especially if 1 adopts the attitude - Look, the passengers are paying for a service, they deserve to accorded a superior service (where possible) and have every right to demand or have high expectations, - in short - The Customer Is Always Right Policy.
Which on paper, no one can argue, but sometimes the situation on the ground or reality is different, and the passenger has to accede some (to the driver) or forgo some expectations.

The primary duty of the driver is to send the passenger in the shortest/cheapest route to his/her destination, unless otherwise directed. That is the service the customer is paying for, this is the basic requirement, which also includes safety and in relative comfort.
So in order to fulfill/ensure this, here are some things a passenger can do, must understand, expect and sometimes accept.

a) There is almost always no such thing as the Cheapest. Shortest and Fastest route. (There might be some instances but I think it's only like 5% of the time). Here we are assuming normal traffic, not rush hour or when congested.

Fastest normally means taking an expressway, with no traffic lights to worry. And expressways are usually constructed to go around (not into) estates, meaning a loop. So that means going longer distances, as such you will usually pay more, but arrive faster.

Shortest and invariably, cheapest, means you go through normal roads directly to your destination, but you will of course be subject to traffic lights. But if the traffic lights change normally (no congestion at intersections) or if you get a 'green flow' of lights, your fare will almost always be cheaper than going the expressway route . Eg if from Yishun you wanna go to Bishan J8, via the CTE exit AMK Ave 1, you will arrive faster than if you went via Lentor, AMK Ave 6 and 8.

So make up your mind, which you prefer and instruct the driver, and this leads to.....

b) Inform the driver of your destination and instruct him on the route your prefer. Do not assume he will know the route you had intended, unless it's very obvious, say from Clark Quay to Spize River Valley.

Signal your intentions early, don't wait until the last moment or after he's passed the exit or turn off point you wanted. If you go to and from work in a particular way it's better to advise, something I try to ask pax obviously going or coming from work. They are so used to particular route, whether long or short, any deviation can cause anxiety especially if one is running late for work.
Give directions where possible, and if the driver asks for it, please give it instead of being frustrated. Some drivers are new, but some like myself, also don't know the way around certain estates, or only know 1 or maximum 2 ways, which might not be the one you want or it might be much longer.

I know there are some drivers who simply cannot accept being told how or what to do, and they take offence, which is silly and wrong. Unless it's very obvious, then this becomes irritating being reminded where to turn when I already notified you I know the route. But this is a small matter for drivers, but can quite important for passengers. Besides I mean why should you pay more for something you always pay at a certain price day in, day out? I know, I won't be happy about it.

I concede there are definitely some, who will 'act blur' purposely take a longer route in order to gain a few extra dollars. So you should nip this in the bud and give directions. If the driver insists on going his own way ignoring yours or starts to drive erratically, do not get into further arguments, as he's holding the wheel and angry road users inevitably get involved in accidents sooner or later. Instead take a video of this and inform Lee Fong and she'll advise on the steps you need to take. If at any point you feel in danger, call the police, giving your location or intended destination. I'm sure the 999 operator will be able to advise you accordingly.

If the driver just goes the long way or ignores your route, then can still report. Again Lee Fong will advise. However if the driver advises your route might not be such a good idea, say a congestion is ahead / along the way, or he has a better (cheaper or faster) route, it might not be a bad idea to accept his advise.

c) Do not wait too long for a taxi, when there are none available. I think 20-25 mins should be the absolute maximum. Or if after 15-20 mins, still no cab, try booking for one. I mean it's $3.30, which is better, spend that $3.30 or keep waiting for 30 mins or more?

If after calling or IPhone booking, you still can't get through. No point in continuing to wait, call and get more frustrated. Take a bus or train to a location where more taxis are available, or take the bus/train home altogether. Or if you need to take a cab, then wait until the demand subsides.

Waiting at the end of 1 way streets, or the last few taxi-stands in a 1 way street, is not a good idea during the peak of demand, as you'll be served last, if at all.
Unfortunately there is also a CBD surcharge ($3) from 5pm to midnight, meaning that the areas just preceding the zone, might be very hard to procure a cab. If you are waiting at Arab Street, Raffles Hospital, Scotts Road, Keppel Road, Cantoment Road, Outram MRT etc, these are not good locations for catching a cab. Why? Because if the driver drives 500m - 800m more, he will be in the zone and be able to collect that extra $3.

This is wrong you protest, and I accept that, but practically isn't this the obvious thing to do? Isn't it human nature? Another 500m, not even 10 secs, you earn $3, wouldn't you do it if you were in his shoes? You might say you won't but if you drove a cab, and realised that things like rent and diesel have gone up and you need to earn a certain figure to keep your family going, you'd be forced to drive that extra 500m for the $3.

So don't wait just outside the zone for a lengthy period, if there are no cabs available. Walk that 500m, and pay the $3 for saving your time and avoiding getting angry and frustrated. 
Thank you for sharing these pointers!