Beware this taxi!  

Posted by Laya in ,

Night Shift Taxi, TXL 629.

I took very careful note of that name and number.

That was the taxi whose driver refused to turn on his meter. I had just left NAIA Terminal 3 after a flight from Gensan, and it was about 5 pm. Because airport taxis usually charge P500 and above if you hire them at the terminal, I usually get a taxi out front. Heck, using the taxi meter, the maximum fare from the airport to where I stay in Sta. Mesa is below P150! The driver asked me where I was bound and when I said Sta Mesa, he nodded and opened the door. Only when the taxi was moving away from the terminal, I noticed that the meter was not on, so I told him. He said that the practice was not to use the meter when picking up a fare from the airport, but that the standard fare to Sta Mesa would be P350. This despite the huge sign just outside the airport terminal that said taxis should use their meters and that contracting fares was forbidden. When I told him so, he did me a song and dance about how passengers should understand that taxi drivers were losing money because the fares were too small, and I firmly told him to let me off at the nearest gas station, after, of course, noting down his taxi name and number.

I had taken taxis from that point before, and was usually given by the guard a form with the taxi's name and number on it, as well as hotline numbers to report transgressors. The guard in this instance was chatting to other drivers and neglected to give me any such form. Fortunately, I kept a copy of that form at home and reported the driver to the hotline.

That driver had the ultimate gall to even intimate that I was inconsiderate for not giving in to his demands, even when he was the one breaking the laws. He said that the fares were too low, that drivers could barely feed their families, that the distance was too far (hello, airport to Sta Mesa, doesn't even take an hour if the driver knows shortcuts!), and finally, that he had already paid P50 to be able to wait in line at the terminal and that going by the meter wouldn't even make him back his boundary. Now don't that beat all.

First of all, Manong, it's not your passenger's fault if you paid P50 to anyone so you could go on chiseling your passengers. You shouldn't even have been made to pay anything because there wasn't any regulation at that area and if anyone asked you for money that would have been extortion. Just as you asking for P350 for a fare that cost less than 150 is also extortion.

Second, you are not the only one with woes. We are all living in this Godforsaken country, struggling to get by. We are all burdened with rising prices, with low salaries, with high taxes, so what the Goddamned hell makes you think you're special? I pay rent, electric bills, water bills, and fares. I buy groceries and food. I'm on a budget too. You should not have thought that just because someone takes your taxi instead of a bus or a jeep, he could well afford to pay higher fares. You should not have thought to cheat your fellow man, period.

Third, just because someone comes from the airport and presumably could afford an airline ticket, doesn't mean he has money to burn. I only scraped together enough for my economy fare home to attend my sister's wedding and my budget was already tight enough that I would be pinching my pennies till next payday without you trying to pressure me to pay you more than you ought.

Fourth, I well understand the plight of the drivers. I often add a tip when taking a taxi. But only to those drivers who don't ask me for anything and who show the right attitude. Asking someone for more money without even rendering good service or any service at all? Don't bullshit me. For your information, the meter of the taxi I took after you dropped me by the roadside amounted to only P132.50... I didn't even ask for change back from my P150.

I hope that anyone who reads this will be wary if they encounter this taxi driver in the future. And you, Manong, as we say... Makarma ka sanang bwisit ka!

This entry was posted at Tuesday, March 24, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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