Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dishonest Singapore Cabmen?

Singapore is not known as a spick-and-span and squeaky country for nothing.

It has a reputation of being one of the least corrupt countries, regularly scoring among the top two or three least corrupt countries in the world each year.

Its tree-lined roads and streets are neat and clean. So are the eateries. It has an efficient public transport system which includes the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit). Its taxi service is next to none in the world.

Singapore taximen are generally honest and reliable.

But our experience with a cabman on Sunday last, left us wondering.

We had just checked out of the V Hotel at about noon on the 9th, and we were the first in the taxi queue. In fact, when we first queued, we were the only ones when a taxi pulled up.

It was driven by a man who could be an Indian or a Eurasian or a Sikh without a turban.

We told him that we were heading to the Woodlands Train Checkpoint (WTCP) to board the train back to Malaysia and that we wanted to alight at the taxi stand there.

At first, the cabman refused our fare because he said that he was heading to the airport. But when he could not find anyone leaving for the airport, he told us to hop in in the taxi.

It turned out that he did not know the way to the WTCP. After talking to someone on the mobile phone, he told us that he would send us to the old checkpoint and that we could cross over on the overhead bridge.

We told him that we would not do that, as we had several luggage to haul along. We told him to leave us at the WTCP taxi stand. But he insisted on leaving us at the old checkpoint.

I told him that he was being dishonest to accept our fare when he did not know to get to our intended destination.

One thing led to another, and before long, out of exasperation, I told him in no uncertain colourful terms to 'just do your f... job!'

The cabman, being the 'gentleman' that he was, refused to do his job, and told us to get out of the taxi instead!

This is unfortunate, as our experience of Singapore cabmen was a positive one up to that point.

Cabmen who are uncertain or do not know the way should not accept the fare in the first place and not make a fool of everyone.

I am afraid that if there are more such cabmen around, Singapore's good reputation as a tourist's choice destination could be tarnished.

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