I spent a short time with a taxi driver, driving around with him and asking some questions. Ang has been a driver for seven years and works for a large taxi company. He works downtown and responds to the occasional call to meet a passenger. Other than that, he is on his own to accept fares. His shifts are eight to twelve hours and he starts early in the morning—that is a tough day. However, even though he sits in his car all day and it can be tiring, he stressed that it is important to always be alert. I felt very comfortable in Ang’s car and he is a very good driver. As if the driving isn’t enough, at the end of a day, Ang has to return the car, count his earnings, make sure the car is full on gas and ensure the car is clean. Although driving the taxi is fairly easy, getting business and large tips is truly an art. Ang says that if you treat your customers well, listen to them, and drive safely and on time, then they are happy.
The experience was actually a lot of fun and I have a newfound respect for taxi drivers. Ang was a great guy and knows the city incredibly well. Although I don’t plan on being a taxi driver, it was a great experience.