Monday, October 15, 2007

If you don't know where Lau Pa Sat is, don't drive a cab

If you don't know where Lau Pa Sat is, don't drive a cab
By Edwin Yeo
IT is with great joy that this writer greets the news that the Public Transport Council (PTC) is now given power to punish transport operators should they fail to meet an acceptable service standard.

But I am a Singaporean, so you'll forgive me that I still gripe about the inadequacies of this announcement.

All well and good that the PTC has decided to send out stern warnings to the bus and train operators, but what about the one public transport whose service level could really do with a favourite Singaporean pasttime (upgrading, as if you really needed to ask)?

Ask any Singaporean, and I do mean any, and I guarantee that they will be able to recount a horror story about a taxi driver.


On Tuesday, a colleague of mine SMSed me this message in the morning. 'My taxi driver is crazy. I might not make it to work today.'

She followed this up with: 'I'm seriously considering jumping out. My chances of survival might be higher.'

She made it to work alive. After heading down to Singapore Pools to buy Toto, she told me about her traumatic journey to work.

Apparently, the taxi driver had a tendency to sound his horn every 30 seconds or so, no matter what speed the car in front of him was going at.

And when the car in front finally gave way, he made it a point to stare at the driver when he overtook him. Every single car unfortunate to be in front of this taxi received the same treatment.

In between composing a symphony with sucking noises, the driver also took the time to swear at each car he passed.

My colleague swore that all the cars were going to force him onto the roadside, pull him out and pummel him to death. If she survived the initial crash, she added, she might have added in a kick or two.

That, however, was not the scariest thing about this story.

The most frightening thing is, some six months ago, I had taken the exact same taxi.

Which means this guy, who must have been described by his peers when he left school as Most Likely To Become A Road Rage Victim, has been out there risking innocent lives for at least half
a year.

Knowing how busy PTC will be in the coming months wielding a stick to SMRT and SBS Transit, I've helped them come out with rules to regulate the
taxi companies.

These rules are drafted up from my extensive research into the service level of taxi drivers. The source of this research is from the reliable information bank known as My Memory.

Should taxi operators contravene any of these rules, I recommend that they be slapped with an open palm, but not on the wrist like they have been used to until now.

# Do not give taxi licences to escapees from mental institutions.

This is generally a bad idea and may have led to the abovementioned case study.

# Do not give taxi licences to drivers above the age of 100.

Unfortunately, it is a sad truth that I've sat in taxis where the drivers looked as if, if an escapee from a mental institution honked at them too suddenly, they would have had a heart attack there and then.

That would be quite bad for the passengers.

# Do not give taxi licences to drivers who don't know where Lau Pa Sat is.

I once had this conversation with a taxi driver.

Me: 'Lau Pa Sat, please.'

Him: 'Okay. That's at Bugis, right?'

Me: 'Er, no, it's near Raffles Place.'

Him: 'Oh I see, Robinson's there la.'

Me: 'Yes, Robinson Road.'

Him: 'Last time it was Sogo.'

Me: 'No, not Raffles City. Raffles Place. You know Shenton Way?'

Him: 'Oh, say so lah. They have this big hawker centre there, right?'

I, of course, killed him after that.

There is so much more, but I've run out of space - and I haven't even touched on Miss Singapore Universe's nightie yet.

No comments: