Sunday 6 January 2019

First Day Driving After A Long Break

I must confess that on 2nd January 2019, as I walked towards the car park to start my first taxi shift after a sixteen months break, I was edgy and excited like a rookie on the first day at work.

Every instruments in the taxi seem intimidating, the taxi fare meter, MDT, Grab & SMRT driver application.

Even starting the taxi takes a bit of time to rationalize how to do it as new technologies has revolutionize every operation from manual to digital technology.

I used SMRT Taxishare application on my smartphone to unlock and lock the taxi door instead of a conventional key and token.

I believe you know that we don't need a taxi driver to drive a cab nowadays. In fact, driver-less taxi is now available in Singapore. (Link)

Anyway, on my first day at work, I was hoping to start the day off on the lucky mode with no traffic summons, accidents free and meeting friendly customers. Unfortunately, some unanticipated issues spoiled my day. SMRT taxi's MDT is the spoiler.

Before, I touch on my of my first day and subsequent days of grievances, please let me briefly explain what's a MDT.

MDT (Mobile Data Terminal) is a computerized device used in public transit like taxis, buses, police cars, trucking fleet, to communicate with central dispatch office. It has a screen with keyboard to view and key-in information. In taxis, we can use it to view our day's earning, details of each trip and also set "BUSY", "Change Shift", "TAXI", "HIRED" at roof top lamp.

Now, when I key-in my ID and PIN onto the MDT to activate my account, it rejected my details and said "I'm not allowed to drive this taxi".

Calmly, I called up the SMRT hotline to report the issue and drove the taxi for the rest of the day with a non-working MDT.

Shockingly, the same and other MDT related problems persisted in the next four days with no solution in sight till now.

In 4 days (from 2/1 to 5/1), I drove 4 different SMRT Taxishare taxis.

Out of thes 4 taxis, 3 had MDT faults. This is ridiculous to say the least.

It seems that frequent SMRT Train breakdown and faults are spreading to SMRT's Taxis Link

In desperation, I emailed SMRT and highlighted my grief in SMRT Facebook Group.

1). To: SMRT HQ dated 4/1/2019

I would like to use this email to report the frequent breakdown of SMRT Taxi's MDT recently.

I started driving SMRT Taxishare two days ago on 2/1/2019 driving SHB545P.

At the beginning of my trip I could not login to my MDT because a message said " I cannot drive this taxi" or words to the effect.

A verbal report of my problem was immediately relied to a Mrs Maria and Mr. Ghouse at SMRT TaxiShare hotline.

As I had abundant of petrol in my taxi, I continued to drive till the end of my shift without cancellation but my advance booking of the same taxi for the next day was cancelled and a refund was affected in the same afternoon.

I proceeded to book another taxi for the next day after receiving the refund.

On the next day (3/1/2019), I drove another taxi SHC4693M and I had NO problem logging in to the MDT.

But today, when I started to drive a new taxi SHB1770Z, I encountered the same problem like the former SHB545P taxi. 

I could not login to may MDT because I'm not allowed to drive this taxi".

It seems like some taxi MDT cannot recognize my ID and Pin.

Your IT department is aware of this recurring problem because according to Mr. Ghouse, other drivers also had the same trouble. Why your IT has not solved the hitch yet and it's causing many drivers a lot of unnecessary inconveniences.

I hope whoever read this email would follow-up with the relevant people in your big organization to resolve this issue as I do not wish to face the same MDT login problem when I drive another taxi (SHB545P) on this coming Monday 7/1/2019.

If nothing is done and the problem still persists, I'll follow-up with your top management and resign from SMRT TaxiShare.

Anyway your rental is not cheap at about $81.00 for 9 hrs. (7am to 4pm Tuesday).

A simple acknowledgement of this email is much appreciated.

P/S. No acknowledgement was ever received.

2). To : SMRT Facebook Group dated 5/1/2019 

Today I drove another taxi (SHC4778C) and luckily I could login to the MDT without a hitch but after it run for 3 hours, the MDT hung. 

Tried resetting by pressing the tiny button behind the MDT many times, but the MDT continued in "Hung Mode". What can I do?, Nothing...Just be calm like someone here advised and continued to drive till end of trip.

Its sickening to drive with a faulty MDT. Why?. 

One problem is I can't set "Busy" and only have green "TAXI" shown at roof top. 

With a permanent Green “TAXI” showing at my roof top, some nasty people pointed their middle fingers at me when I moved off to a Grab booking job without picking them. Some even hid my taxi and shouted vulgarities at me.

Why do I have to suffer such abuses through no fault of mine but the faults of incompetent SMRT maintenance and IT teams that failed to provide an efficient system?

Needless to say, I had reported the issue at the end of my trip.

In 4 days, I drove 4 different taxis and 3 of these taxi had MDT problem. i.e. 75% of faulty MDT. 

This is ridiculous to say the least".

It seems SMRT Train frequent breakdowns and faults are spreading to SMRT Taxis.  Link

Anyway, SMRT Taxishare rental is NOT cheap at $81.00 for 9 hours.

In Sept 2017, the rental was only $67.20 for also 9 hours.

In 1.5 years, rental had gone up by 20%. This increase is mainly due to a compulsory car washing of $3.60/day and an optional insurance purchase of $7.20 for 9 hours ($0.80/hr).

For a normal relief taxi driver of most taxi companies, the rental for 12 hours is usually below $60.00.

Why pay an extra $20.00 a day?. Time to jump ship?

Not for me yet . I'm just 4 days into my new adventure with SMRT.

In an optimistic mood and enjoying this music video, I hope to see a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow....Cheers!!


God's Creation said...

Sir,u still driving with taxishare?

Unknown said...

Bro how do u manage the petrol topping up? I understand u just need to ensure the needle do not go below the min petrol mark!...but how do we control this to ensure just enough petrol to go off shift!