Friday, 4 July 2014

Ingenious Ploy of Taxi Fare Cheats

"Deal with me if you want to cheat"

All the bars in the city had closed. It was 4am on a Monday morning. Only a few drunks and stragglers were on the streets. Even to get them was difficult as so few were left and many empty cabs were competing to nab them.

I was wondering whether to head home or made a last cruise around Chinatown. Then, out of nowhere, a young Chinese couple stumbled in front of my cab at a traffic light. They hailed and I happily waved them to get in. I felt lucky to finally have passengers after half an hour of cruising around.

The couple appeared inebriated and were wobbling and hugging each other in tight embrace like trying to help each other from falling over and laughing. And as soon as they landed themselves on to the back seat, they continued laughing and singing loudly like they were still in a karaoke pub. They smacked of alcohol.

"Where to?" I asked, interrupting their duffing.

"Ang Mo Kio Ave 10."  the young woman replied, giggling.

I punched the meter and speed off.

My radio was softly broadcasting the BBC news.

"Uncle, Can you put on some Chinese music?" the guy asked politely.

"Yeah, sure", I answered, tuning the radio to one of MediaCorp's Class 933.

The SHE's "Nothing Ever Change" filled the cab.

"Wow, this song ab-so-lute-ly rocks!" slurred the girl. "Thanks, Uncle."

"Welcome" I replied tiredly, as I was in no mood to socialize with a couple of "duffers" at that hour.

Soon, the two in the back were onto other things and seemed to be "smoothing" each other.

Ten minutes went by and suddenly, there was stirring in the back seat.

"Hey!" the girl shouted. "That F@#$%g hurt!"

"Ah, c'mon," the guy said.

"No," she continued. "That really hurt."

"Look, I was just trying to have a little fun," he countered.

"Get your dirty hands off me."

"Hey, what's the problem?"

"You're a pig, you know that?" she screamed.

"What the hell do you know?," he shouted back.

"A lot more than you think, you pig !" she bombarded him with her waspish tongue.

"Uncle, is she crazy?" the guy tapped my shoulder, wanting me to join their "conjugal strife".

"Leave me out of this", I told him peevishly, wishing then I had quit for the night.

"Yeah, pig, leave him out of it!"

Then, I could hear the tones of a cellphone being dialed.

"I'm calling your wife up right now," she said. "I'm going tell her all about her f*** pig of a husband."

"F@#$%" he said, reaching across the seat to grab the phone back.

Then, I could feel the phone fly past my ear. It hit the front windshield with a heavy smack!

Immediately, I pulled the car over. We were at AMK Ave. 10. I picked up the cellphone, held it in front of the guy, and then the girl quickly grabbed it, opened the door and dashed out.

"Crazy bitch," he said, as she crossed the street and disappears behind a tree.

"Sorry, Uncle, I got to get her. She is drunk. Wait here and we'll be right back, honest." the guy pleaded.

"OK", I said, shaking my head. "But before that, can you pay the taxi fare first" I demanded.

"Uncle, I'll be back in a minute, Don't worry. I "soon-pa" (swear)". he reassured me.

With that swearing, he took off swiftly and soon disappeared into nowhere.

While waiting on tenterhooks, I cursed myself for not getting him to leave something valuable behind or detained him from leaving.

Sad to say, with a boney frame of mine and being physically infirm, I was not in a favorable position to make any demand, detain or chase after him. Sure enough, three, five, ten, then fifteen minutes passed and there was no sign of them. They were gone.

It drawn on me that I've been hooked and calling 999 would be a waste of time, I reckoned.

This was a set-up from the start. All the laughing, screaming and the drama was a ingenious ploy to cheat the fare, an elaborate charade to cheat a dumb old cabby. And I fell for it.

Probably, the next night they'll come up with a different routine, maybe one of them would pretends to be sick and needs to run into 7Eleven for panadol or cigarettes. Who knows?

On hindsight, I should have "locked" the doors to prevent sudden escape of this sort but on the other hand, if I had locked the doors and if a desperate robber panicked with locked doors, he might slit my throat to ensure a smooth escape.

In the end, only the $20 fare was gone with the wind as I sadly drifted home like a falling leaf in a thunder storm. I am still alive today to live another day.

In reality, I think there is no fool proof way to avert a plotted robbery or fare cheats. As I value my life more than the fungible money, I'll let them cheat my fare or rob me of the meager monies I had with me.

I praise the "Lord" if they leave me in one piece to earn my living the next day.

16 comments:

Florida taxi driver said...

...and I thought, people in Singapore are law obeying citizens or they could be subject to caning.....?

Lim James said...

Hi Florida Buddy,

Majority of Singaporean are law abiding citizens as most penalties are severe. You can get caned for sticking chewing gums inside a train. Crimes are more frequent nowadays with large influx of immigrants from 3rd world countries. Our population had gone up by 40% in the last 5 years. Now, 45% of people here are foreigners. Though its good for taxi business but the mad, sudden and unregulated increased in population will have serious repercussion on every life. Hope this Government wakes up from her madness.

Anonymous said...

Hi uncle Lim, I'm a part time relief driver as well.. I fear meeting such customers but I fear those violent and rebellious ones more.. I met someone who bring a very if note like $100, and we never have enough to change for them at a very early hour.. Haha all these are tricks and ways how passenger wanted to trick us poor taxi drivers...

Lim James said...

Hi, Anon,

Thanks for your comments.

There are many ways to cheat the poor TD. I've written a post many months ago on this subject. You might want to read it at
http://cabby65.blogspot.sg/2011/07/taxi-fare-cheats.html

Regards: James Lim

patriot said...

Ruse everywhere in a sick society.
It is sad to see the decay of moral and the lack of virtue from top to bottom.

Where are we heading in Sin?

patriot

Lim James said...

Hi, patriot.

I totally agreed with you.

"The love for money is the root of all evils". The desire to get rich quick,greed, and insatiable love for materialism has caught up with everyone in our society. We hear rich people boasting of their condo, cars, degrees, status,etc...Shockingly, some of them are leaders of this Sin City. Their questionable moral values and desires will inevitably lead to decadence in our society. Simply look at the many MPs and their friends and you'll know what I meant. This Sin city will not last till the next century with the kind of "G" we have now.


Anonymous said...

"....Hope this Government wakes up from her madness."

Uncle Lim, seems that you are still holding on to a glimmer of hope that the miw will come to their senses and change.

History tells us that people in power will never let go of their power to rule willingly (Nelson Mandela may be an exception). Change has never and will never come from within. These "elites" are usually over thrown by the very people that brought them to power in the very first place.

The trust between the leaders and the people has been broken. It will never and can never be fixed and reverted to the original state. The wind of change has been blowing and it is getting stronger.

I hope I am wrong and I would love to be proven wrong.

I love my country Singapore.

MAJULAH SINGAPURA!

Lim James said...

HI, Anon,

Your comments are similar to the feelings deep down in my heart.
Regards : James Lim

taxilim said...

Hey Uncle Lim,

Sad to know that you encountered the fare cheats. If I were you, I would have printed the receipt and made a police report.

They will be caught and this will prevent them from cheating other taxi drivers next time.

Even if they are not caught, I would have done my part in trying to make the streets safer for taxi drivers. Sorry, it's just me and I am not trying to judge.

Last Saturday late evening around 11 pm, two suspicious young men tried to flag my cab in remote Woodlands. They were hesistant in flagging. I smelt trouble and did not stop for them. Rather forgo the fare than to be cheated or worse, robbed and killed.

PS : First para, it's nab. I know at 4am, everyone needed a nap. haha..

taxilim said...

*hesitant* not hesistant. typo...

Gintai_昇泰 said...

My fren Johnny managed to detain a half drunk pax refusing to pay. Police arrived more than 30 mins later. Asked lots of questions but no arrest made advising him to go to court to settle the case. Wasted 2 hours. Loss of income. Really not worth calling the police.

Lim James said...

Hi, Gintai,

I knew from experience that getting the man in blue to help in a such situation is futile because its a non-arrestable offence like a family quarrel. I think the best recourse is to get the drunk to the nearest police post and hopefully by then the drunken is less drunk and again hopefully he pays the fare.

Anonymous said...

Sad to say....beware of mandarin speaking youths!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear. It is better to lose the fare than be injured as a result of trying to recover it, particularly from a drunk person.

roger chew said...

Feel for u, uncle. I had a fare cheat 2 mths ago. A middle age lady flagged my taxi @ junction of Dover rise n commonwealth west. Chit chat to me all the way to taman jurong. Reached destination then ask me to wait, say she was going up to her flat to pick her daughter up to go shopping @jur pt. waited ard 15mins, until I gave up for a 11.5 fare. From then on, I will never let pax go unless I get my fare first.

Lim James said...

Feel for you too, Roger.
We learn through trail and error in our trade. Yes, never let them go without paying or follow them to collect it. Best is to get them leave their handphone or handbag behind. Good Luck, buddy.