Thursday, December 20, 2007

there's something about ..... travelogue 2: Taxis

We complained so much about our taxis in Singapore.

How they disappear between 11 to 11.59pm?

How expensive they are during certain hours?

How touting is bad for the image and unfair to most customers who queue?

In Shanghai, thank God, they do not have midnight charge. They do not have peak charges as well. It's so bloody cheap that we took taxis everywhere we go. It's like staying at Marriot Hotel and you wanted to go Raffles City.... take MRT? Nah... just take a cab. The meter never move and we still pay the same flag-down rate of 11RMB which is a little over $2 for 5 of us.


This is also where the problem comes.

In Shanghai, the demand for Taxis is extremely huge! You have tourists like us, coming from Singapore who felt the Taxi Charges are so bloody cheap.. can you imagine the Caucasians, both tourists and working there!! This become our basic mode of transport.

What touting?!?!? If there is word to describe what I did, the closest would be "reverse-touting".

We have boarded at least 5 Taxis only to be told that they do not know the place that we were staying. Only on one of the Taxi Rides did we learn from the driver that most Taxis would not want to send us back because the distance is too short and they wouldn't earn enough.

We decided to "bribe" them more. Each time a taxi driver refuses to take us, we offered them $10RMB more ($2) and they would pause a while and suddenly, they would know where we stay.

We consider this "bribe" as worthwhile. They do not have Taxi-Stands and it's like a War out there. Especially in the City and when it's raining.

We don't care if that sets the precedent, we were desperate.

In fact, I was involved in a "fight" over a Taxi.

We were in the City and it was raining, we were unprepared by the down-pour and we waited like 30 minutes under the rain. Finally, I saw a taxi stopping like 50 metres away from me as one passenger was alighting.

I ran towards the Taxi. Likewise, one local woman was also running towards the taxi but she came from across the road.

She reaches the cab before me, but she was asking the driver about a certain locality when I just boarded the cab and told the driver I would pay him 10RMB more. Naturally the local woman was furious.

She came over to the passenger seat where I was, open the door and screamed at me. She wanted me to get out of the cab. I told her that I boarded the cab first and she argued she saw the cab first. I told her that I was on the same side of the road and she wasn't. She continue to abuse me and ordered me to get out. I ignored her and she screamed "下流" before Slamming the door on me.

She probably didn't know where I came from. Otherwise she would have known that Singaporean are so bloody thick skin and we are almost immuned to such abuse of low standards that didn't involve my parent's genitals.

What she also didn't see was that I was grinning. I never have such an opportunity in Singapore and I was glad to be involved in such a "fight". It makes my day.

Don't blame the touts. They were touts because the tourists allowed them to have such opportunity. It's wrong. But really... the tourists wouldn't care. We didn't care as well in Shanghai.

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