Friday, August 30, 2013

More Problems Ahead

Last Wednesday afternoon, the very first passenger whom I picked up at Whampoa Food Centre was the start of my taxi meter giving me weird problems. This passenger wanted to go to Toa Payoh Lorong 5 and when I drove to his destination, my taxi meter showed $15.00 which was incredible for such a short distance. I knew straightaway that the meter is going 'Bonkers'. The actual fare should have been around $9.00 and that's what I asked for and collected from my surprised passenger. I could not get to repair the meter till the next day because it was already too late and so, I decided to take a break and went on to deliver 'Kangen' water to friends for the rest of the day.

New hi-tech gadgets sometimes give unexpected headaches to many senior taxi drivers especially those who are less educated in operating computer-like stuffs, having to press all sorts of buttons here and there causing them great distress. The Chinese educated taxi uncles are most affected by these changes. Attending classes conducted in English and learning to operate new gadgets makes it worst, takes a long time and also causes loss of income to many. Also nowadays, we need to go to our office at least once a month for them to check up and record on how many kilometres we travelled per day during peak hours, whats next and so on and so forth. Mind you, these appointments to attend are all on compulsory fixed times and dates. New rulings and regulations have made taxi driving more and more difficult, stressful and strenuous.

Because of continuous complaints from the general public on difficulties in 'catching' a taxi, too many 'On Call' signs, disappearance of taxis when most needed and to ugly behaviours of drivers and etc, Authorities are coming up with more new Rules and Regulations for taxi operators in the near future. It is definitely going to be more difficult and harder to be a taxi driver.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Festivals and Celebrations

                     "SELAMAT HARI RAYA ADILFITRI" to all my Muslim friends!
                                     and "HAPPY BIRTHDAY SINGAPORE"

Its so unusual, so exciting, so wonderful to witness the sharing, co-existence of so many different races and religions celebrating their festivals at the same time and at the same place. This only happens in SINGAPORE. Yes, the Chinese festival of the 'Hungry Ghosts' month, the Malays celebration of the end of Muslims fasting month, Ramadan and the celebration of Singapore's 48th Birthday, all of these happenings during the same week. 

Our Malay taxi drivers will enjoy their Hari Raya by taking the long weekend break while the others will carry on with their usual driving routines with extra passengers and holiday revellers as well as some increase in fare earnings. 

Meanwhile, taxi drivers are facing more and more new rules and regulations being carried out and implemented, such as the compulsory 250 kilometres on the road per day, more emphasis on taxis to be on the road during peak hours of between 6am to 11am in the morning and between 5pm to 12 midnight daily. This is because of daily complaints of difficulties in getting a cab during these times made by the general public and taxi drivers will face more disciplinary actions such as getting demerit points for this and that, or being sacked. Already it is a hassle having to report to their respective companies for compulsory routine meter checks and mileage recordings at least once a month. I feel it is no longer true that we are self employed. There is going to be greater pressure and hardship falling upon drivers in this vocation with taxi rentals continuing to rise with replacements of newer taxi models from time to time.