Across each country you'll find that while in the same occupation, the nature and traits of cabbies differ. In Singapore, we have our own personalised cabbies, well versed in the streets and cultures of Singapore. To be a cabbie is not easy though. In Singapore, you are required to have an existing class 3 license before you can go for the taxi license, be above 35 years of age and have not previously committed any traffic offences. Taxi drivers normally work for a range of local companies, such as Comfort, Prime and City Cab. Prices of a typical taxi ride can range from less than $10 to more than $60, 70 depending on your trip distance, peak/non-peak hour as well as ERP charges.
Singapore Cabbie Uncles Hot
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In London, you have cabbies who speak with a Cockney accent, but in Singapore, I'm proud to say, our cabbies specialise in Singa-lishe ah (mimicking the China accent they always use to poke fun at the newly converted PRCs who seem to be growing in proportion in Singapore today).
In general, I find Singaporean cabbies come in all shapes and sizes. There are some who are friendly, and would love to talk to you about their family and their hopes for the future. There are some that are silent and moody, not uttering a word throughout the journey. There are some scheming ones, who purposedly take a longer route to clock in those few extra dollars and lastly there is the famous Dr. Cai Ming Jie, a Phd holder from Stanford who became a taxi driver after losing his job at a research institute during the recession of 2008. As such, our Singaporean cabbies are indeed not homogeneous and actually have a unqiue flair of their own.
Usually, for an experienced driver like me, I know the shortest routes to my destination and could point out what route I actually want and not what route the cabbie wants (note the difference). However, in the case of my brother, whom rarely leaves the house unnecessary, a few extra dollars is normally burned. Hence, a note of caution when you decide to travel with our own local cabbies, they may not be as warm and fuzzy as they seem.
Sadly, the cabbie uncles that I ride with do not talk much. My ride is usually spent in silence, with directions the only exchanges. However, Singapore cabbies are friendly and they know the way around Singapore well. You can choose your route if you like, but I usually leave it up to them. They don't ever overcharge due to strict laws, so no worries about scheming cabbies.
On the rare occasions I talk to the cabbies, I learn many new things about Singapore and about the world. They share about their day, or of recent political developments, or just plain small talk. These little conversations can really spice up a taxi ride and make your day better. They are also not calculative. If you are short of a few cents or a dollar, they will let it go and not bother you about it. I'm always grateful for that, but please remember to thank the uncle and wish him a good day ahead.