Monday, September 03, 2007It is hard for me to sympathize with some cabbies when I read today's item in The STAR. On Friday I phoned for a cab to get to the airport and was charged more than what I paid for the airport cabs on my way home. The cab rattled all the way and the cabbie told me that he killed a few motorcyclists with the cab. I did not notice whether he was wearing socks or not but I remembered that his shirt was not tucked in.
When I got to Penang I bought a taxi coupon and was charged the Midnight Rate even though it was not midnight yet. I cursed Air Asia for "retiming" the flight. After breakfast we tried to get a cab to go to Lebuh Light and was told that the hotel provides limousines which cost RM39 to my destination. I need not impress my optician by arriving in a limo so I declined and walked a short distance away where I saw three red and white taxis parked. When I told them my destination, they quoted RM30. Did we look like tourists? Maybe. I was carrying my camera bag and Mimi was dragging her small suitcase because we checked out early. We had to catch the afternoon flight back and we did not want to waste time going back to the hotel even though it is a nice hotel. Anyway we walked across the road and waited for a cab that, hopefully, would want to use the meter. The cabbies then shouted their counter-offer (RM20). I used hand signals to tell them that I was willing to offer only RM15. They asked me to cross the road. I didn't feel like walking and a taxi came. He was willing to use the meter. Encik Shah, the cabbie, lives in Bukit Jambul where the hotel is and he sounds like a very reasonable and law-abiding cabbie. The fare came to only RM12.60. Encik Shah offered to give me a 60 sen discount but I declined and gave him a tip instead.
I read that London cabbies went through very strict tests before they are allowed to drive cabs. I have used London taxis before. They did not pick and choose destinations and they did not try to fleece me. I am not sure whether they had socks on.