Thursday, November 06, 2003

taxi tip: triggered meters

As a long-time taxi rider (sold my car many years ago after all the expenses of gas and parking plus the irritation of traffic made me want to shoot people or at least get out of the car and smash their faces in), I've picked up a few lessons. And it's time to share.

Be aware that a number of cabs have nasty meters. If you've barely budged and the meter looks like you've traveled to Baguio and back, you're so obviously being victimized.

These cabs are custom desgined so that the driver is able to cause the meter to spike at will. The most obvious places are below the meter, on the steering wheel or the area adjacent to the gas pedal. The most novel trigger (so new I just found out about it today) is hidden behind the head of the driver, under the seat cover of his headrest - so if your driver seems to nod a lot...

Who's guilty? Almost all of the Wallis taxis (they reason that it is justified because they have the highest boundaries in the land - P1,400), MGE and a lot of the small taxi companies (with only 1 or 2 units owned).

Who do they like to victimize? People who are blatantly not regular taxi riders, fragile women and people fresh from the provinces.

The best thing is to inform the driver that you know exactly how much you usually pay. If you have no clue, try to look world-weary. Failing that, throw a hissy fit, threaten to report him, take out your cell phone and call the authorities (though you should judge if your fit is warranted because you could get stabbed seventeen times like that poor girl from Publicis).

Or you could ask him to stop at a safe place and just get another cab.


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