Rant and rave: Buses and taxis

Today, I woke up quite late. That’s why, instead of taking the usual 7:50 or 8:10 bus, I managed to catch the 8:50 one. Just in time.

It’s the first time I boarded a bus this late.

I don’t like being late. I feel guilty sneaking into the office and hate being caught by my boss. But today, I’m glad I did.

Because I was able to see something you don’t see everyday in Taiwan.

“Zao!” greeted the cheery driver as I boarded the bus. Wow, someone must be happy today, I thought as I settled into an empty seat.

I then noticed that the bus driver greeted everyone who boarded the bus, and said “Thank you” every time someone paid the fare. I even noticed that he knew some of the passengers, and greeted some of them by name.

When one person hailed the bus by mistake, the bus driver didn’t swear beneath his breath. Instead, he asked the lady where she was going, and told her which bus she needed to take.

All these were done with a cheery voice.

You don’t see people like that often in Taiwan — or anywhere else. A lot of people grumble and complain about their job, but this was a man who clearly enjoyed his work.

Sure, maybe he’s just putting on a brave face. Maybe he hates his job too. But he does know that it’s unfair to punish passengers for the sh*t that has been happening in your life and your job. If you have problems at home, leave it at home. If you have an issue with your boss, talk to your boss, but don’t involve your passengers with your problems.

He shares the same work ethics of the Japanese: work is work. Do your job to the best of your abilities, whether it’s in driving a bus, collecting garbage, or taking care of the elderly.

As a bus driver, he may not be earning much. But I admire him and how he does his work. Because even if he’s not earning millions and billions, he does his job to the best of his ability. And I think, this is one way we can measure how successful a man is.

There are a lot of things we can learn if we just look around…


On the other hand, most taxi drivers in Taipei pisses me off.

In London, every taxi driver has to take a rigorous test where they have to know every nook and cranny of the city. Give them an address, and they’ll know exactly where it is, in addition to the fastest way to get there.

Personally, I like to take the taxi when it’s late and the bus/MRT is no longer operational, or if I have no idea where the address is. Understandably, the taxi driver should know where we’re going. Anyway, I usually limit myself to the Taipei area only.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. It seems that in Taipei, as long as you have a yellow car and apply for a license, you can already be a taxi driver.

I’ve had multiple experiences where I’ll ask the driver first if they know the address. They’ll look at the paper and say yes. It’s only after the taxi has been going around in circles several times that you realize that the driver has no idea where he’s going.

But of course, they won’t admit that. They want a paying customer. And of course, they’ll charge you the full fare, even if it’s their fault that you’re lost.

This is one instance on how some people don’t do your job well. If you’re a taxi driver, know your area and what you’re doing. Don’t just do it for the money. Do it with passion and be the best taxi driver there is. That’s why, I’m now wary of taking taxis. What for, if they’re just trying to screw you out of your money?

The Taipei Government should do something about this… it’s clearly not good for the city’s reputation.

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One thought on “Rant and rave: Buses and taxis

  1. I accidentally found this post (what a cool feature this random linking in the new blog is!), and I can see the examples everyday in my surroundings.

    There is such a sharp contrast between those two kinds of people/workers/acquitances that on the day I meet some of the cheerful ones I’m all happy and uplifted, and in the other case it feels very depressing.

    p.s. over here, if the bus driver complaints about someone not paying a fare, a group of punks comes from the back of the bus, beats him up and steals all his income. It’s a common occurence :(:)

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