Due to the bad vibes brought by my past experiences with local public transportation – particularly the TAXI or CAB, it has been my personal policy to make riding a TAXI a last resort when commuting in Metro Manila. I’d rather take the Bus, a UV Express Van, LRT, MRT or Jeepney than ride a TAXI.
Well for so many reasons that I think most of you know already:
- The flag down rate is 40 pesos – that’s 5 Jeepney rides already. I could go from Paco to Sta. Mesa to San Juan to Ortigas to Rosario, Pasig with that rate. With a taxi, that would cost me around 200 pesos already.
- For 40 pesos you get cheap air-conditioning (not all of them) but there are a lot of taxi out there that are poorly maintained, smells terrible and with an air-conditioning system that is made in hell.
- For 40 pesos you get drivers who don’t shut up complaining about the traffic and how he won’t make the boundary and other problems that frankly – and forgive me for the term – I don’t give a shit because I am paying for the ride fair and square and their financial burdens are not my concern.
- Most Taxi drivers would ask you first where you’re headed before they open their door for you, and if for some reason they don’t like the destination you mentioned, they gave you that face and make some idiotic rationalizations about him not having lunch yet or he’s going to a different direction because he needs to pick-up someone. What the heck, it’s like they’re saying “If you don’t go my way i’m not gonna take you in.” I’m not hitching a ride for free right? So, I say for Taxi drivers who do that.. they could go to hell for all I care.
- Aside from the already heavy on the budget 40 pesos flag down rate, some drivers would even ask you for an additional to the fare before you enter. Or worst, they’d give you a fixed fare amount for the trip and disregard the meter. That’s against the law but that is still being practiced by a lot of drivers out there.
- Another problem with riding a Taxi is if you don’t have an exact amount for the fare. For example, the meter said that you’ll have to pay 82 pesos for the trip but you only have a 100 peso bill on you. Most drivers will not give you any change and give you some lame excuse of him not having a ‘barya’ or ‘panukli.’ Legalized extortion, that’s what it is.
Well those are my reasons and a few more other things. I really avoid riding one as much as possible. However, my wife prefers it over riding a Jeepney so last week, for her annual medical at the MediCard Lifestyle Center which is located at the corner of Paseo and Buendia, I was forced to call a taxi to get her to Makati on time.
An MGE cab pulled over and took us in without asking where we’re going first or even asking for an additional fare. I was expecting the usual Taxi scenario because Makati is such a busy street and Taxi drivers would rather stay away from that place because of the traffic. Well, we didn’t get any of that. Instead, the polite driver drove us to where we’re headed without hesitation or any conditions. He then handed us this piece of paper that has his name on it and all his contact information including the address. He said the paper is for us to be able to contact him in case we accidentally left something behind his Taxi. Well now, what a pleasant surprise. Now that’s something you don’t experience everyday while commuting.
The Taxi driver’s name is Doroteo ‘Jhun’ Ochavo from Sampaloc, Manila. We later learned from our conversation that ‘Mang Jhun’ was the one featured by GMA 7 on Jessica Soho’s show ‘State of the Nation’ last February 27 for the segment ‘TAXI BAWAL MANGONTRATA.’
Mang Jhun has gotten the attention of the TV Network because of his reputation of returning things from passengers that they accidentally left inside his vehicle. When asked why he did the things that he did, he simply said that it was the right thing to do. He also said that because of doing the right thing, he is continuously being blessed with work opportunities. He also consider it a blessing to have intelligent kids who are all scholars. Two are in high school and one is already in college.
To test the sincerity of Mang Jhun, we gave him only the exact amount of fare after reaching our destination. He smiled for the camera with me and never asked for an additional fare or a tip. Mang Jhun is one honest Taxi Driver indeed. Well I guess not all of them are rotten eggs.
Because of this experience, I remember a story that I shared once during one of my leadership seminars. It was a story about this kid on a beach picking-up one by one the star fish that were washed up on the shore because of a storm that passed by their town. The kid knows that the star fish would die soon if they don’t get back to the ocean – and there are a lot of them stranded on the beach. A lifeguard notices the boy, approached him and said: “Hey kid, what you’re doing won’t matter. There are a lot them out here and it will take days to carry all of those star fish back to the ocean. So pack it up and go play somewhere else.” The young boy then picked up another star fish and said to the lifeguard, “But I guess to this one, what I’m doing would matter wouldn’t it?” The lifeguard nods his head and joined the kid in returning the star fish back to the ocean.
Mang Jhun drove for a RentaCar company for 5 years before becoming a Taxi Driver. He’s been a Taxi Driver for 10 years already and I pray that I see more ‘Mang Jhun’ out there. The world would be a better place if we have more honest people around.
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