We all know that a lot of Manila cab drivers are just two breathes away from our typical pond scum, pusali bottom-dwellers, the lowest of the low, the spawn of Satan let lose on Planet Earth to sow misery to the cab-riding public.
Typically, Manila cab drivers are an unsavory lot–they whine, they complain that either your destination is too far, too near or nowhere near their intended destination. If you are unlucky, they will announce to you that they are adding 50 pesos in the meter while you are already in transit and in the middle of traffic. It’s a new way of defining the classic stick-up (or hold-up, in local parlance).
And why does most of Manila cab smell awful, and it’s seats crumbly and stained with things you’d rather not think about? And the ACs are not even working! Yet the driver treats its passengers as if we are riding first class on a one-way trip to hell.
Here in Manila, I always resort to riding cabs–no matter the distance. I used to hate it when taking the cab from Makati going to the old office in NAIA Avenue, and I hate it still when taking the cab from my place to just a few kilometers away to my new office in Ayala Avenue.Somehow I have the fate of always landing either a snooty, sleezy or moronic cab driver, who is either with no change for a 100 pesos even if its already 11AM, or in no mood to go to Ayala Avenue.
But things always take a very ugly turn when its Christmas
Somehow, the Holidays must have given cab drivers the idea that people are so God-damned rich in December hence their license to dictate the cab fare instead of consulting the meter. With the rest of Metro Manila trooping to mall to spend their hard-earned cash on various trappings of Christmas, getting a ride home is now the quintessential idea of hell, well–aside from living in Maguindanao. With so many people stuck with bags and bags of Christmas shopping, cabbies now feel like we owe them our means of transpo home.
Have you ever experienced waiting a cab in front of Glorietta 3, with not one cab driver turning you down with their various, stuoid reasons–only for you to see them circling again the Glorietta Park in hopes of landing their desired passenger. The cycle i stupid, really. Fare fixing, picking destinations based on the day’s quota…and oh, meter-rigging–cab drivers has literally made it an art-form.
Yeah, I know…they have to make a living, BUT SO DO WE (uncount yourself if your surname is Ampatuan). What makes us different from them, aside from the fact we are wearing the usual office attire and they are wearing their dirty, sweaty polos.
I do note that there are a lot of respectable and morally-upright cab drivers, and I’ve encountered a few of them. Soffice to say, having one on the driver’s seat can be one of the most pleasing experience when commuting in Metro Manila.
But sadly, it’s the evil lot who gains the most press. Why not, when their existence alone is enough to depress even the most hardened surburbanite? The Queen of All Cats and the Hubby knows my hatred for sleezy, scummy cabbies and my significantly short patience when dealing with them. To them, I am a budding psycho serial killer of all cab drivers, with my little tolerance for their ineptitudes. One thing they always do is limit my interaction as much as possible each time we are inside a cab with a scummy driver.
Sometimes I wonder why we can’t discipline our transport companies. Cabs in HK are owned and operated by the government, as do busses.
But then again, involving the government in anything is like inviting Satan to come out and play.