OK, as stated in my Dec 6 post — Run over by transport costs — I would share with visitors what I paid for three taxi rides I took on Tuesday, after ComfortDelgro raised fares and SMRT panting to do the same.
Actually, my cab rides weren’t taken to check how much fare rises are hitting my pocket. I took taxis out of simple necessity, as my trusty workhorse, the 6.5 year old Hyundai Accent, had to go in for service.
Sure I could have tried to get home after dropping off my car via bus and MRT — tho for the life of me I’ve no idea how to get from Alexandra Road to the Balmoral Road vicinity where I live.
I vaguely know the Redhill and Commonwealth stations are nearby and I could take the MRT to City Hall or Raffles Place and then change lines to get to Newton.
From there, I could take a bus (not sure what number?) and after two stops and a short walk, I would be home.
But I’m not so short of cash and so long on time that I would want to fiddle around with this option, especially when I needed to get from the Komoco workshop to the MRT in the first place — and that might involve a taxi ride, as I know of no nearby buses that cover that stretch.
Hence not surprisingly I opted for a cab — all the way home.
The fare was $7.60 and I gave the cabbie $8, adding “no need to gimme change”, because he was exactly the sort of driver I like — he took my instructions on the route to take without demurring; he didn’t try to engage me in small talk (a huge plus!); he spoke good English yet listened to a Mandarin radio station and kept the volume just right which in my books mean decent background noise that didn’t deafened in the close confines of a vehicle.
My fare was not much different from previous rides. Perhaps it’s because I took a Trans-Cab which unlike Comfort hasn’t raised prices — yet!
Soon afterwards, I took a bus from home for lunch with friends at Bukit Timah Plaza. It was a breeze. Four different buses ran from outside my home to the Shell Station opposite BT Plaza where I got off. The TIBS bus was a lot faster than if I had driven, and this was after adding the time spent crossing the overhead bridge and a short walk!
Perhaps because it was such a breeze that I decided to bus-home after lunch and a short shopping spree at Fairprice. Baaaad mistake!
The bus stop wasn’t outside BT Plaza as I was led to believe by several shop keepers I asked in the shopping centre but involved a hike across an overhead bridge that spanned highways and below flyovers. And to get to that overhead bridge I had to make several inquiries and suffered two wrong directions!
Weighed down by shopping and the muggy weather, I mentally scolded myself for not opting to take a taxi right outside the Plaza, instead of trying to catch a bus — when i discovered that the bus stop was actually on Jalan Anak Bukit and only two buses ran anywhere near where I call home.
Then it dawned on me I would have to cross another overhead bridge that spanned Dunearn and Bukit Timah Roads as well as the Bt Timah canal in order to get home, as the bus stop was on the Dunearn Road side. By then the blisters on my feet were screaming so badly that i caved in.
Alas, that’s easier said than done. Six taxis with the green lite on their roofs sailed by nonchalantly but refused to stop. Perhaps it was because of the bus stop but surely not, since I stood well away from it.
So when a Comfort cab that had seen better days stopped, I leapt into it with such relief and gratitude that must have given the driver the unspoken impression I was a friendly passenger.
Baaaad mistake on his part. What the XXXX would I be interested in his being unable to get buah keras at the Pasir Panjang wholesale centre and that he would be heading to the Victoria Wholesale Market to check after he dropped me? What the XXXX would I care that the buah keras was for his Christmas curry?
He kept spraying me with information about his activities , despite my disinterested grunts. Worse, he started crooning to some sucky songs on the radio.
I decided to give him pointed directions on how to get to my destination. Then he had the cheek to contradict me after I had guided him into Stevens Road! When I told him to turn left into Balmoral Road, he said “no, it should be turn right”. Then the road sign loomed large as life with the arrow showing left for Balmoral Road.
Instead of letting his mistake go without comment — I wasn’t going to say anything — he tried to explain and justify. I kept stoically silent. Not even a grunt of acknowledgement.
It wasn’t till we had turn into my condo that he stopped prattling.
I noted the fare on the meter and handed him $8 for a $.7.40 fare. But unlike for the morning cabbie, I put out my hand for the 40-cent change.
I’m mean like that.
Still, if any taxi uncle or auntie is reading this, please take it as a lesson that you shouldn’t initiate the conversation. It’s up to the passener, for crying out loud!
Soon after I got home, Komoco called to say my car is ready to be picked up. I cussed. It was close to 5pm and the taxi witching time.
Yet with a tweak to my favourite Hail Mary parking prayer, I got taxi within five minutes. It was a Comfort cab — at last. Perhaps it was because of my prayer or perhaps other commuters avoided taking Comfort.
No matter. The driver was thankfully again the silent type who after noting where I wanted to go and the route I wanted to take, drove with his lips sealed. Better still, even his radio was off!
I got to the Alexandra Road workshop in now time at all.
And the fare? Mr Silent pointed to the meter. $6.94!
I gave him $7 and a thank you, keep the change.
He said nothing and drove off!
The conclusion after 3 rides? Despite the Comfort price hike, the pain hasn’t kicked in — yet. Only time will tell!
What I don’t need time to tell me is that it’s a blistered life for those who have no option other than public transport — be it bus, MRT or walk! 🙄