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.