I do not want to generalize; there are taxi drivers who are really sweet, service-oriented, funny, honest, and are good story-tellers.
I ride the taxi at least once a week, for the reason that they are convenient, and because I am always late. During these taxi rides, I have experienced both sad and happy taxi stories.
Sad Taxi Story #1:
Me and my sister rode a taxi from General Avenue, Proj. 8 to Department of Agrarian Reform, which is along Quezon City Circle. The reason: we were running late again for an event. It was a good 15-minute ride from home. I had with me some Php 200 – which is more than enough, because I usually pay Php 70 for the short ride. At first, the ride was okay. The driver seemed nice; he started telling stories. Somehow, I figured, it’s easier to get others’ trust when you disclose about yourself. And he kept holding his rosary that hung from a statue of Sto. Niño. Halfway through, I checked the meter. I asked, “Manong, tama po ba ang metro niyo?”, and he said yes (ofcourse, he said yes!). When he dropped us of at DAR, the meter said Php 180. That’s more than half of what I usually pay for! Being the war freak that I am, I engaged into an argument with the driver. “Manloloko kayo manong! Sa lahat ng ayoko yung ginagamit yung religion para makapanloko o makapagsinungaling!” I paid him Php 100, nonetheless.
Sad Taxi Story #2:
I rode a taxi from General Avenue, Proj. 8 to (supposedly) Starmall Apartelle – our meeting place to Tagaytay for SFL conference. I had with me a handful – one big bag of clothes good for 3 days (I tend to over pack), a bag full of chips and food, and my girly bag. I asked our helper to accompany me to the waiting shed just outside the village, because I cannot carry everything on my own. So I rode this taxi. He sped his way down EDSA. We zigzagged through early morning traffic; I got nauseated because we kept changing lanes without even bothering to signal left/right. We almost bumped into a motorcycle. The motorcycle driver stopped beside the passenger’s window, shouting curses to the driver. The driver went out of his cab to throw curses back to him. I was so scared, I wanted to get out right then and there, but we were in the middle of EDSA – Kamuning that time. So we drove in silence to Starmall. He stopped in front of the entrance of the mall, waiting for me to get down. “Dun pa po sa may gilid ng Starmall, manong.” He stepped on the pedal, drove me an open lot across World Wide Corporate Center (just a few meters away from the Police Station), and told me to go. “Manong, dun po ako sa gilid ng Starmall e. Lagpas na po tayo. Balik na lang po tayo, hindi ko po kasi kaya lahat ng dala ko e,” I pleaded, but to no avail. He yelled to my face, “Putangina naman eh! Sabi mo Starmall? Kanina binababa kita sa may Starmall, ayaw mong bumaba! Tapos ituturo mo ko sa gilid, eh ang sikip sikip doon! Pababalikin mo pa ako, eh ang hirap nga, mag-U turn pa!” “Is that not the point why I hired a taxi?” – I thought to myself. “Magbabayad naman po ako eh,” I tried again. But he yelled more curses. I managed to say, “Hindi kayo karapat-dapat bayaran! Masama kayo!” between sobs. I started crying because I was so embarrassed, angry, humiliated, traumatized all at the same time. When he started yelling more, I called my friend, Kuya EJ – the one I am meeting that morning. He heard everything. He told me to just get out of the cab. I did, and pulled everything at once (adrenaline could do that to you), because I was afraid that if I try to carry my bags one by one, he would speed up without me getting everything out. The meter said Php 140, I threw a hundred at his back seat because I was afraid that he might grab me if I give him the money. I thought I was safe once I was out, but he got out of his cab, pointed a finger at me, yelled to me and called me names. “Magbayad ka!” “Nagbayad na ko! Nasa likod!” Crowd came rushing to my aid. Some comforted me, others called the police. “Pakikuha na lang po ng plate number niya,” I told them.
The police came, but we were not able to arrest the old man. He got away. The crowd told the police what happened, they said I was harassed. Two nice policemen carried my things and accompanied me to FFL Office. “Gusto mong magsampa ng kaso?” “Next time na lang po, late na ako.”
I have heard more traumatic taxi stories like rubbery, rape, etc. But sad taxi story #2 gave me enough taxi trauma already, although I am but thankful that I haven’t been robbed by taxi gang just yet – not if you include “over pricing”.
Things to do when riding a taxi:
1. Lock all your doors. There’s this e-mail saying that there’s this modus operandi wherein the driver will ask you to sit at the left side of the taxi because the right wheel is flat, then he will stop by a dark alley and 2 people will enter the taxi – 1 at the passenger’s seat and the other beside you. They will get all your money and even your credit cards, withdraw all your money, and give you Php 100 so you could go home. This is hideous.
2. Call a friend and dictate to friend the plate number of the taxi. Let the driver hear you. It is not enough to text.
3. Check the taxi before entering and leaving. At a bus station, I entered a taxi with shoulder bag at the back seat. I told the driver to stop and hand the shoulder bag to the one who got out before I entered, but he swore that the shoulder bag was his. I got the number of his operator and called in first thing as I got home.
4. DO NOT ENGAGE IN A HEATED ARGUMENT with a taxi driver. Keep in mind that some drivers are just plain mean – they could do anything to hurt you if they must; do not risk your life. It is not worth it.
5. When in a situation similar to Sad Taxi Story #2, it is best to just get out of the cab and pay the driver.
6. Always check the meter. Do not ride a taxi with broken meters. When in doubt, ask the driver if the meter is working properly. Get the number of his operator when you feel you are being fooled.