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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: “Fareness” in taxi services

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I was recently in New York City on a business trip. I used a taxi 3-4 times a day to get to and from meetings, lunch, and dinner. I have to state my experience in the taxis was very good. I was shocked at the level of customer service delivered by each taxi. It was outstanding!
I took a taxi from the airport to the city on my first day. I asked how I could pay and the taxi driver said, “Anyway you want. You are the customer and we want to make you happy.” I about fell out of the taxi.
In summary, the taxis were all clean and in good physical shape. I could pay with one of four major credit cards or cash. I could hail a taxi the normal way, call for a taxi or use one of many smart phone apps to request a taxi. The drivers were all friendly and accommodating. The newer taxis were fantastic with ample leg space, charging stations for my electronics and see-through roofs.
In contrast, when I returned to Macau I was reminded how far away we are from world-class taxi companies. The first experience I had was a taxi trying to charge a tourist MOP100 to go from The Venetian to downtown Macau (off the meter). The tourist got into an argument with the driver and got out of the taxi. The taxi sped away with no one inside.
I recently read that the Macau taxi companies are requesting a fare increase. I would hope that the government would categorically reject this request without a substantial change on the part of the taxi companies. I would suggest that the government not give an increase without a commitment from the taxi companies to the Macau citizens and tourist to address the following areas of concern:

- Increased customer service through driver training
- Deployment of modern dispatch system
- Deployment of Credit Card and Macau Pass payment method
- Revamping the complaint system to make it more tourist friendly and effective

Of course this is a very short list and I am sure every citizen could add to the list, but it is a start.
Since I first arrived in Macau 7 years ago many things have gotten better in terms of quality, modernization and customer service. I have noticed a decline in the service of the taxi companies in every aspect. I hope the Government and all citizens reject any fare increase without an increase in customer service from the taxi companies.

David Schubach
Macau
(Title by MDT)

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Luke 04/06/2014 00:31:37
Yes, it's really poor services. On 23rd of May 2014, I took a taxi from Sheraton to the airport, the receipt shows MOP43.50 but the driver took MOP50 without saying anything. The worse thing is he drops me at Arrive instead of Departure. What lousy services!
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Simon Lam 15/05/2014 08:19:50
I have never been scammed by a taxi driver in Macau. They are not any worse than those in China, I feel the other commenters had isolated experiences.

I think taxi fares are quite low for such expensive city.
The only problem I had is taxi drivers refused to take me due to me not being able to explain the location in Cantonese. Most of them however speak Mandarin and are friendly. So, calm down guys. There are worse places for taxis. Macau taxis are still very cheap comparing to other world cities.

And the taxi licensing law, which was copied from Hong Kong (like any other law) doesn't help. There are no private taxi drivers in Macau unlike in NYC, where drivers own their cars. Taxi licenses cost millions so obviously drivers just work for large investor who buy license. Sick system.
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El 12/05/2014 20:32:36
Poor customer service, Foul language sometimes if you argue with them, the majority of them are taxi drivers because they were fired from casinos because of stealing and cheating or getting into fights. The Taxi company bosses also they dont give a frack about complaints, as they need manpower. The only chance to change this is to allow PRC's to get their jobs for a year.
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Da Pigg 06/05/2014 02:04:10
Every taxi has the ID info of the driver, I think. Photograph it and if you have any kind of problems, send a complaint to the relevant department, which is probably the one that deals with transport. Now, I cannot vouch that this will solve Macau's taxi driver problem, but it will be a start. Next step, what can we do about the bad behaviour of bus drivers?
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Mr G 05/05/2014 20:41:28
Totally agree with your comments David, Macau Taxi services AND their administrating body need to lift their game before any increase should be considered.
The complaint process is as ridiculous as the drivers behaviour and the drivers know that despite the rules they will not be fined or held accountable due to the onus being on the passenger to follow up.
Many drivers are the equivalent of the hookers who work the casinos.
Picking the clients they want, negotiating the fee that want and loitering at casinos and hotels to take advantage of the visitors!
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Melissa R. 04/05/2014 19:55:09
Another unacceptable behavior is the driver's refusal to bring a passenger to potential heavy-traffic area. Worse, displaying the "reserved*****; sign just to avoid picking up passengers in "off-course*****; areas. Taxi drivers most often than not ask where you're heading then refuse to take you if they don't feel like going to certain places. Worst, too amny drivers are just SO rude, they smoke cigarettes while they open the windows without even asking the passengers. These MUST change if Macau wants to be called a first class city!
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Leonard F. 02/05/2014 21:03:03
Just experienced this last Tuesday around 7pm, me and my colleague ask a taxi to take us to Galaxy Macau to go back to the office the taxi driver offer us 100MOP to bring us to Galaxy Macau, when the driver realized that we are from Macau he cancelled his offer and ask us to just get inside the cab. Upon arrival at Galaxy Macau we asked for receipt and the driver said the meter printer is broken.
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noven 01/05/2014 19:00:17
i agree... as for my experience... the taxi driver had asked a MOP 150 from ponte 16 to airport.... he did not even used his taxi meter... so disappointed about this kind of TAXI SCAM.
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David Schubach 03/05/2014 19:01:37
Yes, it happens all the time now. It is truly getting worst by the day!
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Responsible Right of Expression — In the interest of freedom of expression, coupled with a true sense of responsibility to encourage community dialogue, the Macau Daily Times offers its readers the opportunity to express their opinions on new-related matters through this website. All opinions are welcome. However, we reserve the right to remove comments that are deemed to be obscene, or are merely insults written under the cloak of anonymity. MDT