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Taxi Tips

In a cab, travelling from A to B in Singapore, I noticed an interesting display device installed in all Singaporean taxis. It's a simple display that sends messages and keeps communication with the taxi HQ. You can see it in this picture here. Right on top of the dash

Interestingly, sitting behind an unusually not chatty taxi driver, I couldn't help but let my prying eyes feast on the juicy information on the display. What was I to do, sit quietly in the taxi and get hypnotized by passing traffic? Or worse, start a conversation with the driver? Besides its something new to a Malaysian

First message i saw, reads... someone lost a purple umbrella in a cab travelling from ABC to XYZ at 6pm yesterday and is looking for it. Must be a pretty important umbrella. I lose umbrellas all the time. If it's raining and I have an umbrella, it almost means, hey kenny, its time to forget your umbrella and leave it behind at the coffee shop! I think I must have lost like 25 brollies in all my life. Some were lost by yours forgetfully or borrowed by someone who simply forgot his promise to return it. There was once an advertising client of mine took a nice blue brolly from me and never gave it back. MR ALBERT FROM CHUNDI INCORPORATED IN DESA SRI HARTAMAS,KUALA LUMPUR... I WANT MY UMBRELLA BACK

Back to the messages. The next one came from someone who lost an X amount of cash in a taxi travelling from QWERTY to ASDF last night, at 2300. Sounds ridiculous but who would return that amount of cash? The message didn't say how much but I assume it must be a lot to warrant someone to call up the taxi service and demand a note to be sent to all the cabs display! This is an excellent service but it would just do no good for Malaysian cabs. These guys are either not bothered or just too busy cutting in and out of traffic like Schumacher on a full bladder to the nearest petrol station

Here are a few tips for cabbing

Don't fall ASLEEP. If you do, your mobile phone might fall out of your pocket. You might wake up in a blurry state and might not know what you left behind. Or you may have been taken for a ride, a longer one that is. You won't believe the amount of things my friends have found in taxi cabs and never found the time to return (OR just didn't want to return) Mobile phones, wallets, hair clips, bags, assignments and water bottles, you name it, they've found it

BE SAFE, ASK! When in a foreign place in Malaysia, like say, Penang, it helps to ask how do the taxi drivers charge. In Penang, it is not uncommon for the taxi drivers to quote a flat charge instead of going by the meter like most taxi cabs in the world do. A 1km taxi ride may easily cost RM8, and thats a crazy fare when a meter-running equivalent would only cost RM2.50- RM3.00 for the same journey

HAVE SOME IDEA OF THE ROADS. Before I took a cab, I asked a Singaporean friend what is the best route to take to get to my destination. So when the taxi driver asks you which road to take, you can look like you know your roads and they will be less likely to rip you off. Don't hold a road map in your hands cause it just spells T.O.U.R.I.S.T! and you're flirting with danger. Chances are you're going to get conned

CHECK and RECHECK Once the cab leaves you, whatever you left in there is as good as gone. It doesn't matter if you took down the cab number because chances are the next person to get into the cab would have found the term 'finders keepers' the rule to go by. If you're lucky to find a good samaritan, you'll thank your very lucky stars and see your belongings again but don't count on it. Always check and recheck the seats to see if you forgot anything. Don't rush out of the cab because losing some time making sure you got everything out is not as bad as losing something precious and expensive like a mobile phone on a silly mistake like that


Taxi is probably the more glam way to travel but it's definitely more costly, especially if you're the guy who lost that expensive Nokia mobile phone that my friend found the taxi ride he took recently






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