I'm pleasantly surprised and pleased that many of my readers are interested or curious enough to read about the life of an ordinary Singaporean taxi driver. Maybe it's something refreshing from the daily staple of "abrasive" posts blog sphere. Sorry, no offense intended at fellow bloggers. So, here it goes, the continuation of my preceding post.
(1) how do cabbies handle accidents?
Based on the simple theory of probability, I get into more traffic accidents than others simply because I spend more time on the road than a normal driver. And I got into all kinds of traffic accidents, fortunately, none fatal.
When an accident happens, I'll determine whether it's fatal or otherwise. In case of a fatal accident and I'm not seriously injured, the first thing I do is to call for an ambulance and police and render whatever help I can to the victims before the authorities arrive. The rest I'll leave it to the traffic police to handle. I'll call for my company's tow truck and take some photographs as evidence.
For non-fatal accidents without major damages to vehicles, I'll try to settle the case amicably on the spot with the other party and with the signing of a standard indemnity form . If settlement is not possible or vehicles suffered damages, I'll exchange particulars with the other party, take photos and report to my company the following day.
Usually, my company will deduct a thousand dollars from my deposit immediately, pending the outcome of culpability. My maximum liability is a $1000, irrespective of whatever insurance claims from third party.
If I suffered injuries or whiplash and is absolutely certain that the other party is at fault, I'll engage a lawyer to claim for personal compensation. In such cases, the company will also reimburse the hirer ( not relief driver ) $80 per day for lost of income and suspend rental for the downtime of cabs inside workshop. But, if a driver gets into too many accidents, the company usually sack him.
Presently, many cabbies install CCTV camera to continuously record the traffic situation ahead and behind their taxi (not inside). In case of accidents, the videos images recorded are indisputable evidences for insurance claims. From my experience, it's always better to get the police involved, as the other party sometime twist their police report, with help from their workshop experts to pin you at fault and exaggerate their claim.
2) how do u handle belonging left behind by passengers?
Depending of the "value" of the items left behind and whether my call center contact me on the matter instantly, I'll usually trash the "cheap stuff" like umbrella, slippers, shoes, costume jewellery, magazine at the end of my shift. But I'll return sentimental and expensive items like photo album, cellphones, cameras, wallets, schoolbags to my office the next day. My office staff will take over from there.
If my passenger is able to contact me on the same night, I'll return it instantly but usually I'll request them to compensate me for the fare. Most passengers are more than happy to accept my request but some do refuse and say it's my duty to return their lost items. In that case, I'll ask them to collect it from my office. I think it's fair.
3. Do u have regular customers?
I don't have regular customers nor take advance booking jobs because I prefer freedom in my job and do not like to be tired down with a fixed pick-up jobs. But if somebody wants to travel regularly from Jurong to Orchard at the start of my night shift, I would certainly oblige because I'm assured of a good fare and a quick passenger at Orchard when my customer disembarked. Some of my buddies do have regular customers usually at the start or towards the end of their shift.
(4) what do cabbies chat about during coffeeshop drinking sessions?
Usually around 4am, my taxi buddies and I would gather at our regular hangout at a coffee shop in Jurong East Central to have our supper and share our night's driving adventures. Each driver would have some real life story to tell but it would normally center around some passenger's unreasonable attitude and other trivial matters. We don't talk about politics or religion.
Some tells hoary jokes while others relate boringly details of each of their trip. After a while, such stories and jokes became dull and boring because of repetitious theme. However, once in a while, someone would come out with an astonishingly humorous tale that got everyone standing on their toes, with open mouth and watery eyes from laughter.
We don't chat on political or religious matters often because these are highly sensitives, contentious and subjective subjects. Anyway, most of us are not that smart to touch on these subject intelligently. At most, we chat superficially based on "hear-say".
(5) have the casinos boosted ridership?
Yes, the two casinos had boosted ridership but as time goes by, passengers at these casinos had dwindled. Many must have lost their pants. Some couldn't pay the full fare at the end of the trip. dumb skull!
(6) does taxi companies raise taxi rental fees?
Yes, but not often. COMFORT maintains the same rental in the last five years for a Sonata taxi. But with increasing COE price, operating costs, inflation, improved cabby taking etc....taxi rental will surely increase in a matter of time.
(7) what are the advantages of doing night shift?
It's common knowledge that night shift taxi drivers taking is much more than a day driver because of the additional CBD, midnight and longer hours of peak hour surcharge. A night driver do less trips with fewer customers in the night but earns more and drives in less congested roads with cooler weather. But they spend more on fuel because they often have to cruise empty without passengers from heartland to city
Ego must be crushed. Forget about your glory days. But remember to love oneself and be proud of everything one do is important.
Most passengers are kind, understanding and law abiding. But some are "M.F." . Ignore them. They are with you for only a few minutes. This quote says : "If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience"