The wis­dom of the taxi driver

Sun.Star Baguio - - OPINION -

IT is said that if you want to know the pulse of the peo­ple, lis­ten to taxi driv­ers. I was rid­ing a cal­i­brated taxi cab and hop­ing against hope it would not reach mon­strous pro­por­tions like the hor­ror sto­ries I have heard the past weeks.

The taxi driver meekly told me as I was em­bark­ing that his me­ter has been cal­i­brated as if ask­ing me if I re­ally wanted to take the ride, I was rush­ing and had gro­cery bags in to and so hav­ing no choice, bravely said, yes to the cal­i­brated ride.

An hon­est man, I thought, so what the heck.

The cab driver said it is in­evitable that all cabs will be cal­i­brated at some point, ex­plain­ing the LTFRB now cal­i­brates at ran­dom, rather than the sched­ule ear­lier pre­sented, so avoid­ing taxi plates end­ing in 1-23, does not re­ally cut it now. Cal­i­brated cabs are ev­ery­where. It is now com­mon knowl­edge that to ride a taxi is like throw­ing away hard earned mul­lah for the con­ti­nence of a pri­vate ride and the cum­ber­some task of walk­ing.

If you have been liv­ing un­der a rock for the past months and do not know what the hul­la­baloo is all about, let me be the one to break the bad news; the me­ter of the cab will add P13.50 per kilo­me­ter with an added P2.00 per minute as you go along your way, obliv­i­ous of time and space.

The cab driver rued his predica­ment say­ing the hike in fare does not re­ally trans­late into an added in­come for driv­ers, say­ing the bound­ary of each has also been upped by op­er­a­tors.

He sur­mised with the in­crease in fare, the rid­ing pub­lic would now think twice be­fore rid­ing a cab, giv­ing them a de­crease in riders and ul­ti­mately, make life harder of driv­ers in the long run.

I was in a chatty mood that day and the cabbie’s jovial tone made me want to talk to him, if only to take my mind off the taxi me­ter.

The driver said with the in­crease in taxi fare, a cor­re­spond­ing in­crease in salaries should be set forth, to level the field for every­one.

He said only the po­lice­men were given a sub­stan­tial in­crease in salaries and he sus­pected that tax­pay­ers will for a long time be pay­ing for the Duterte ap­proved salary hike for the na­tion’s finest.

My cabbie said any hike in price should be done in a stag­gard pace, so that or­di­nary peo­ple don’t get a heart at­tack.

He now al­luded to the wis­dom of North Korea, with only one leader be­ing fol­lowed and a seem­ing equal­ity for all, com­par­ing it to life in China, which he said, he some­times wished for.

He said he did not vote for Duterte but in­stead for his fa­vorite ac­tor’s daugh­ter, Grace Poe.

He said it is sad that Poe lost to the strong­man; she could have served the coun­try bet­ter as he be­lieved in­stead of the present leader who can bad­mouth even the Pope. A sen­si­ble man, my cabbie was, I thought. The driver then launched into a speech on who was the rich­est in the city, point­ing to the mem­bers of a lo­cal mall and gro­cery chain and con­clud­ing what a charmed life the led.

He said the lux­ury cars one fam­ily mem­ber owned be­fore his death were a sight to be­hold as well as a puz­zle to fig­ure out why the BIT did not give a fuss out of it.

Then he re­mem­bered the fate that be­fell one of the fam­ily, a grisly mur­der un­solved till to­day, and said you can’t re­ally have it all.

The ride ended af­ter 10 min­utes, span­ning 4 kilo­me­ters, there was no traf­fic, the cabbie printed me a re­ceipt and walked me through how to com­pute if my fare was cor­rect.

It was ac­cu­rate to the last peso.

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