Feature: Can you take me to …?
As we all know, in life you basically get what you pay for. Take a taxi in London and you’re 98 per cent certain the driver will not only know the streetyou want, but he’ll also know the shortest route.
It takes two years to train as a cabbie in London, and there are severe penalties if a driver engages in hanky-panky.
But, when you reach your destination, be prepared to sell your home to pay for the ride. It’s usually an arm and a leg job
By comparison, taxis in Manila are dirt cheap, but it’s more miss than hit that the driver will know the street you’re looking for.
How many times have we all gone round and round in circles asking people if they know where to go as the driver clearly doesn’t?
I’ve even had a taxi driver who didn’t know how to get to Manila’s Terminal Two from Makati. I had to show him the way.
And I’ve yet to find a cabbie who has a map. As I said, you get what you pay for.
Perhaps the mayors of Manila might consider providing free maps for drivers. Maybe a great project for a Manila-based Rotary Club.
And, if you’re a foreigner, look out. One in three taxis I’ve taken recently in the capital have tried to diddle me such as not turning on the meter or keeping the meter running from the previous passenger.
These days, at the risk of being punched on the nose I tell the drivers who try it on that I’ll report them to the LTO.
As for taxis in Bacolod, apart from equaling Jeepney drivers for bad driving, they tend to be a sad bunch.
I once had a driver point to the flag fall on the meter and say "Sir, these are dollars, not pesos". When I suggested we go to City Hall to clarify the matter, the driver turned to me and said "Just joking sir".
But not all taxi drivers are bad. I’ve had some really good ones. Unfortunately, it’s the majority of drivers who give the good ones a bad name.
Taxi drivers in the Philippines have a poor reputation internationally. A professional tour guide told me it would be a real shot in the arm for the tourist business if we had honest and helpful taxi drivers. He cited the City of Davao where he said the taxi drivers are very tourist-oriented.
We live in hope.*