Saturday, December 27, 2008

Taxi drivers

What makes them (mostly) such assholes to tourists?

Is it because they hate their jobs? Is it because they hate their cars? Is it because being in the seated position for 10 hours a day reduces seratonin in their body? Is it because it releases a toxin that puts them in a foul mood? Is it because dishonest people become taxi drivers? Is it because convicts are asked to pick up the taxi profession when the jails get too full? Is it because they are forced to work as drivers to pay off the ransom for their children who have been kidnapped by terrorists? Is it because other people treat them like shit so they need revenge? Is it because haggling 30 times a day wears them out and they get tired of being friendly? Is it because the fumes in the car make them angry (carbon monoxide poisoning)? Is it because they truly enjoy taking advantage of tourists? It may be one of these reasons I guess.

It's not that they want to just take your money either. It's not simple economics. The ones here use fear and intimidation and outright lying as part of their business tactics.

I've been told several times from different travelers that they've run across drivers that do 1 of 3 things:
1. Agree to take you around all day for a set price, but then get to about 3pm and then want more money to take you back and/or keep going
2. Agree to take you around for a set price, and then when it comes time to pay they blatantly lie about how much you agreed to and you have to argue with them about what you agreed to
3. Agree to take you to your destination, and then drop you off at a spot 3 miles away from where you wanted to be once you realize it.
4. (This one just happened to me) They ask you to hop into the cab, they start driving to your destination and then they ask for a ridiculous amount of money by the time you get there. You argue about it and threaten to get out, and by that time you're halfway to your destination so he wants you to pay or doesn't want to drop you off early. Then at the destination you're still arguing about what you're going to pay. I basically paid him what I thought was fair and not what he asked and started walking away. He left with it anyway. So basically it was more than enough (like I suspected), he just wanted to intimidate me into paying more because I bet other tourists do.

It seems to happen more in areas that are full of richer tourists. I have been in Sharm El-Sheikh for the last 24 hours which is a popular vacation spot for middle aged wealthy people who live in Europe and Russia. I came here to see this area for a day before returning to Cairo.

It's not just Egypt, I met uncool drivers in China and Thailand too. It does certainly seem to happen more in less civilized countries.

I can't imagine how shitty it would be trying to get through this type of stuff as a solo female traveler. It's gotta be tough.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taxi drivers are almost same everywhere.
1. they are not well paid.
Some of them are owners of car but many of them work as employee and paid day by day as per their earnings.
From their daily earnings, they have to put some amount to their company first, and the remain is theirs. Gas also be deducted.
Usually the driver portion is very small so they have to be tough to make more money.
So, many taxi driver's dream is make money and buy his own car.
2. They are not well educated and the driver job may be the last job they think about.
3. Their job itself is a risky and tired job. Long time working, have to treat many different types of people, worry about accident or even rubbery.
4. Countries who promotes travel try to train thier taxi drivers and make good system to report bad taxi drivers.
You have to be more reasonable and understandable and calm down.

In our old days, many taxis share their seats for many people to make more money. Sometimes 8-10 people in a mid size sedan and run like a bullet. No excuse at all.
We called them BULLET TAXI.
I think still there are many in the world.

December 27, 2008 at 1:53 PM  

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