Who’s to blame for abusive cabbies
It’s been six months or so since I decided to take taxis to get around the cities. These are my discoveries:
1. Most taxi drivers don’t know the way to get to some major, even well-known streets. The usual reason is they are just new in the job.
2. Many of the taxi drivers refuse to take passengers to destinations that they think would entail passing through lots of traffic. I don’t understand why: their meters would be running anyway; and aren’t they supposed to get info through their company radio system where a bad traffic is, at any given time?
3. Many drivers “shake, rattle and roll” to the accompaniment of loud, banging and crunching “music.” Many taxis have seats with torn covers and metals protruding. Many taxis also run on “banged-up bodies” fittingly called “rolling coffins.”
4. Many taxi drivers are surly, drive badly and don’t understand Filipino, claiming they come from non-Filipino-speaking provinces. Many refuse to take passengers during rush hours.
5. In six months of taking taxis, only one driver gave me a receipt. The usual excuse for the inability to issue a receipt was, the boss was a cheapskate and wouldn’t buy the needed paper, or the needed paper had run out, or the receipt machine doesn’t work, to name a few alibis.
6. Twice, I got into a taxi with the driver stinking to high heavens, and his taxi looked like it had seen better days. I had to get off before I reached my destination or risk an infection or fainting from the stench.
7. Out of the about 300 taxis I had taken, only three were spic and span and had clean-looking drivers.
I cannot list down more offenses due to the limited space, but what prompted me to write this letter was a foreigner-friend of ours who took a taxi to the airport and, in the middle of the trip, the driver told him he didn’t know where the airport was. When that didn’t work, his taxi suddenly stalled and he invited our foreigner-friend to take another taxi. He was brought to the wrong terminal and my friend had to take another taxi to get to the right one.
Do we have a government body that protects paying passengers from “taxi abuses”? It seems like we don’t care if a few of our bad bananas are responsible for driving tourists and revenues away.
In Singapore, I wrote a letter twice, complaining about two taxi drivers who must have had a thing for Filipinos, and the police wrote me a letter telling me that the offenders had been warned and a second complaint would take their licenses away for good. Singapore takes their tourist trade very seriously. Why can’t we? Many of our taxi drivers are only interested in making a fast peso and are not concerned or even aware of the damage they do to the good image of our country.
But the real culprits are those who are tasked to regulate this industry, but shouldn’t there “oughta be a law” to regulate the regulators?
—SHIRLEY WILSON DE LAS ALAS,
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