As a cabby, I feel duty-bound to respond to Ms Angela Xu's criticisms ("Booking cabs: A passenger's perspective"; Tuesday).
Upon accepting a booking, the cabby has to indicate on his mobile data terminal the estimated time of arrival, which may be three, five, seven or 10 minutes. The countdown timer starts the moment the job is accepted.
On arriving at the pick-up point, he has to wait for another five minutes - not 10 minutes as mentioned by Ms Xu - after the estimated time of arrival, if the passenger is not there.
After both times have lapsed, a "no-show" - an electronic form of permission to move off - will appear on the mobile data terminal, which the cabby can activate if he does not wish to wait any longer.
All electronic functions in a taxi are programmed by the cab company and cannot be tampered with.
Cabbies may arrive at the pick-up point later than expected because of unforeseen factors like traffic congestion. Cabbies who are unfamiliar with the area may also arrive late.
Cabbies are self-employed; how much they earn in a day depends very much on how many passengers they pick up.
In other words, playing "tricks" or keeping passengers waiting for no reason does not benefit them in any way.
Seah Kian Chong
This article was first published on October 25, 2014.
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