This morning, 15/12/2011, I was pleasantly surprised that my letter to the Straits Times's Forum was published. I wrote the letter with the sole intention of debunking their recent reports of an elite group of cabby's who turn their job into a real money spinner, taking home $3000 - $4000 per month.
I was annoyed when I read the news report that a cabby (Mr. Joseph Ho) is earning a lucrative income of $3000 - $4000 a month through his ingenious way of decorating his cab's interiors with seasonal figurines and giving his name card to passengers. I'm not envious of his methods. Every cabby could do what he does. But is what he does that effective?. He did a dis-service to other cabbies with what he told the reporter. The general public will get the wrong impression that driving a taxi is a lucrative job. If what he said in the news report are all "proven truth and sustainable", then all parents should sent their children to the "Taxi Academy" instead of the university. The return in investment in a taxi vocational license is faster than a degree.
I would like to take the pleasure of debunking every statement he made in the report with the privilege of my blog.
1. "I do up my car nicely and keep it clean and if customers like my service, they will get my name card"
Reply: Mr. Ho, I don't know what "crap" you have before I enter your cab. I board your cab because you're first in the queue, or the first I hail, or the call centre sent to me, not because I like your "decorations". I'll probably throw your call card into the nearest dustbin at first opportunity. I could get a cab faster by hailing one on the road or a call centre than calling you from your name card. You could be miles away when I need you. You'll probably ask me to wait for you. By the way, your various figurines could become flying projectiles in case of an serious accident. I could be killed by your figurines instead of by the car.
2. "I receive plenty of hourly booking from regulars and overseas visitors and earns $4000 on a good month".
Reply : Wow! Mr. Ho, Your service must be majestic - fit for a king - and you're the only taxi driver in Singapore. All your regulars and overseas visitors will wait for you patiently even if you're busy. They will stick with you through thick and thin. Even our government is not sure whether they'll be in control five years down the road. Nothing is constant in this world.
3. I recommend attractions such as Singapore Flyer and Botanic Gardens to my visitors and they would engage me for the rest of their stay in Singapore.
Reply: Sigh! Your customers must be blind or plain stupid because they can't read or see or know where to visit when in Singapore and needs you to recommend like a tourist guide. All the travel brochures at the airport and hotels must had gone missing. Modern days travelers are sophisticated and they spent wisely. Gone are the days where they let you burn their pockets. To save costs, they travel on their own or on package tour without personal tourist guide. In fact, a course teaching cabbies to be tourist guides has been discontinued because there is no demand for taxi tourist guides. Mr. Ho, please don't be lame. Your case of a elderly Australian man leaving a stack of notes that amount to $500 to you is history.
In conclusion, a hard working cabby who spent more time on the road, knowledgeable of demand pattern and locations, skillful in driving with least accidents or traffic offense and most importantly, pure luck, would earn more than the opposites. Having said that, don't be a taxi driver if you have other suitable job because you won't see any money when you hit 55 years old. You'll have no CPF. God Bless You if you join the rank.