Our Desk | Never ending taxi tales

Lynzy Valles

The idea of complaining about taxis and their drivers has already become such a norm in the city that it is no longer a surprise when drivers refuse to take passengers to their destination, or when they charge exorbitant prices by turning off the meter.

Not to mention the fares a few tourists were hit with when trying to get to the Macau Ferry Terminal when Typhoon Hato hit the city in August.

But it is also frustrating that some are in the habit of smoking – inside their vehicles – while waiting for passengers.

The city’s new tobacco control law came into effect from the first day of this month, prohibiting residents from smoking within 10 meters of any bus stop and taxi stands.

This, again, is not a new complaint but there are still several of them continuing to smoke inside their vehicles despite the enforcement of the revised law on smoking areas.

Unsurprisingly, there are still a significant number of residents heavily complaining about the city’s taxi services, expressing their concerns over authorities ineffectiveness in handling the long-matter.

Just last year, the total number of taxi infractions increased 32.3 percent annually.

There was an increase of 1,339 cases of taxi infractions, totaling 5,491 cases, compared to the over 4,100 cases filed in 2016.

Figures from authorities show that 3,180 overcharging incidents were reported, representing 57.9 percent of the total number of taxi infractions (5,491) in 2017.

The number of cases related to taxi drivers who refused to take passengers was 1,574, an increase 11.4 percent year-on-year.

The growing number of taxi infractions has become a norm; it is what we are already expecting.

However, it is still worrying that this matter has been ongoing for years yet the city always fails to resolve it.

There is much discomfort in riding a public taxi that smells like cigarette while playing loud opera songs.

If they are not playing those kinds of songs on the radio, that means they are using their mobile phones, listening to all voice messages – at a loud volume – in their WeChat groups.

There are also some who just open a bit of their window to ask where you are going and close it when they do not feel like bringing you to your destination; while there are some who drive you swiftly in the city’s narrow streets.

Authorities are not to be blamed for all the discomfort given to riders by taxi drivers. There are still a significant number of them who are friendly and polite despite their struggle in conversing with non-Chinese speakers.

However, we cannot continually see the aforementioned behaviors and consider this a norm compatible with the idea of “Experience Macau.”

This is one of the many things that we would like not to experience when we visit other countries.

Transportation matters and so does its service and personnel.

It has been six months since Uber suspended its services in the region after giving residents the ability to travel comfortably.

Residents have blamed the government for the decision taken by Uber as the ride-hailing company clarified that it did what it could to legitimize its Macau operations. 

In other regions, ridesharing jurisdictions continue to operate and waiting lounges are even available for people who booked a ride through their ride-hailing app.

Grab, a Singapore-based company, launched its first Grab Lounge for its costumers to wait for their ride in a safe and cozy environment – a dream that would probably not come true in Macau. 

Categories Opinion