The taxi drivers in Singapore must be the friendliest drivers in the South East Asian region. I can compare them to the Thai, Hong Kong, Malaysian and especially the Filipino drivers - and the Singaporean drivers are the most courteous. They also seem to be the most chatty - and typically I don't like chatty drivers - and I will plug my ears with headphones when they chat with me. Singaporean drivers ( who we call Uncle ) are ok - because they tend to be talk about positive topics - like their recent vacation to the Philippines or their children or Singapore weather. That's unlike what I can hear from our Manongs back home.
Moreover - how many times have you tried to hail a cab in the streets of Manila and the Manong asks you where you're going and turns you down if you're too near - and turns you down if you're too far? On the other hand in Singapore - you go to a taxi queue and the driver doesn't seem to have a choice but take you in - even your destination is miles and miles away.
|The Taxi Card provided by PS Cafe to their guests.|
I wonder if it's because of the surcharge system in taxi fares in the City State. You see - in Singapore - everything seems to have a surcharge. Hail a cab between 5:30 and 9:30 in the evening and there's a surcharge. Go into the City and there's a surcharge. Take a cab into the airport and there's a surcharge. Call them to pick you up and there's a surcharge. To be honest - the taxi fare can be pretty expensive - but I guess this scheme makes it easier to get a cab without the haggling that you have in other South Asian cities. You hail a cab - or you go to the nearest taxi queue - and you get a cab. Besides - those surcharges make sense. Between 5:30 and 9:30 in the evening is when you can encounter heaviest traffic. The city center is more congested. That taxi fare also seem to imply that the drivers can earn a decent living as compared to their counterparts in the region. So maybe that's why they are nicer.
This prompts me to ask - is the surcharge scheme the answer to our Taxi woes in Manila? Do you think it will improve the overall demeanor of Taxi Manongs?