Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Thing Singaporean

After one meeting yesterday in Singapore, I took a cab from Boat Quay. And this conversation followed:

Me to taxi driver (TD): Hi, can you take us to Hyatt?
TD: Yes, come get in. (So we got in)
Me: We're gonna drop him (I was referring to my friend) off at Hyatt, and then you take me straight to the airport, OK?
TD: Well, no, Sir. Can't do that. I serve just "the city" now, can't go to the airport. You have to take another cab at Hyatt.
Me: You can't go to the airport? Is it a rule?
TD: Yes, it's the rule.
Me: Oh, I see. What if I ... double the pay?
TD: No, Sir. Can't do that. I will get another passenger in Hyatt. There's always a passenger. This is rush hour. (Then he was pointing at long queues waiting for taxis all along the Orchard Road). You see those long lines, Sir? This always happens. Around this time (he was pointing at the clock on the dashboard), everybody wants taxi. People should wait long to get one.
Me: (Teasing mode on) Singapore needs more taxis. Don't you think so?
TD: Oh, no, Sir. We're fine. We can handle (the demand, I suppose he meant).
Me: But ... you just pointed to me those long lines.
TD: Yes, but no need to add more taxis, Sir. Too many taxis already.
Me: Why, because that would drive down your price?



  1. ha, you should've told him that you were going to two destinations in the first place, with the airport as the final one. That's the unwritten rule here.

  2. right, rani. will do that next time. been a while :-)

  3. Huahahahahahahaha!!! If one day I get to meet you in person, remind me to tell you about the big fight I once had with a cab driver who was supposed to take me to Boat Quay. I think I gave him one experience that he'll never forget for his entire life. I'm not proud about it but sometimes I just want to bash these cab drivers' heads against their own windows! And the above is just one example of the many encounters I've had with them!

  4. So I'm not alone, Dew. As Singaporeans say, same-same lah :-)

  5. As someone who have live & study in singapore (with their money) for one semaster, I have one objection to the story.

    Government set the rate for taxi (and many of other aspects of life). Taxi driver (and its union) practically has no say on rate determination.

    So it is a quantity-adjustment-Cournot game instead of Bertrand's price game.

  6. Taxi driver (and its union) practically has no say on rate determination.

    Ah, really? And why do you think the government set the rate in the first place? Government is a place where dirty lobbies take place. Taxi owners know that.

    Same old story...

  7. hahaha, you and your wicked humour that could shut kiasu taxi uncle. but yes, if you need to go 2 places or more you should tell them earlier. by now i have learn to avoid any unnecessary arguments with uncle driver. emotionally tiring.

  8. i think you could still sue the taxi driver for not following your order.