Hurrah! No Driving For Me! (Follow-up to Taxi Cab Post)

Thank you Joanne, Niraj and Rahul for taking the time to provide answers. These are only the first of many questions that I have about Singapore. Come to think of it, I didn’t ask Milind as many questions when he proposed marriage and a move to NYC.

Anyway, this is what you told me –

Will I be able to talk philosophy with my S’pore cabbie?
– Unlikely, but you can try 🙂 Some are extremely chatty. Most of them will complain to you about the government. When I tell them I work for the government, the complaints get louder. Many of them are more conversant in Chinese than in English, which may limit their conversation somewhat.

Will he help me with my luggage (NYC cabbies are infamous for never helping with luggage)?
– Usually, especially if you are female and look helpless beside a large suitcase(s). That’s the tactic I use.

Will he give me correct change?
– Absolutely, although of course count your change to be sure. Note: NO NEED to tip taxis (or anybody else, for that matter) when you’re in Singapore. However, I was well trained in NYC and now tip cabbies here a small amount of change – they are inordinately grateful, out of all proportion to the actual size of the tip.

Will he take the most crowded streets at rush-hour (Ever lost your temper when the taxi driver took you through Times Square at 7pm on a Friday?)?
– Perhaps. You will soon learn to direct which route to take.

Will I be able to ‘hail’ a taxi by raising my arm and pretending to be the Statue of Liberty?- Yes, but cabbies in Singapore are extremely annoying. In the main shopping and business districts (Orchard Road areas, Shenton Way), they do not respond when flagged on the street, because they prefer to wait for phone bookings. That gets them an extra $2 or so. It pisses me off mightily, but the dollar incentive is too strong. So, before you come, I can give you a list of taxi phone numbers for you to call. You need a mobile phone, not your arm, to get a cab in Singapore. Note, this does not apply to the more residential areas of Singapore, where your Statue of Liberty pose will get you the cab.

Taxi guys here will give you exact change – sometime ask u to keep change here as well as help u with luggage. Welcome to the unreal world…

If not anything else, I can ally your fears about Singapore cabbies, they are super professional and return your exact change but may not be so good at philosophy.

Milind, I don’t think I’m going to get a driver’s license. (Aah! Just uncovered material for another post!).

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