Pic credit: taxisingapore.com]
Have you ever wondered why there are so many taxis on the road, and yet, when you desperately need a cab (when it’s raining, or when you are almost late for an appointment), there are absolutely no cabs in sight?
Have you ever felt frustrated when a seemingly empty cab just zooms past you without stopping? Or when the driver just makes some weird hand signal at you supposedly because he wants to convey the message that he needs to go elsewhere or for some other reason cannot stop his vehicle and let you board?
I thought I might be able to find some answers yesterday, as I was going to meet many taxi drivers in one place. But… by just observing, and by letting the cabbies do much of the talking, I got to know more about this profession. 🙂
You might already know this, if you read my blog regularly: In my free time, I volunteer with the Health Promotion Board as a Health Ambassador. And yesterday, by 8.30am, I was at Comfort Delgro’s workshop in Sin Ming Drive, where the drivers send their vehicles for servicing and repairs. My duties? To direct cabbies to the Health Screening area and also to provide them with information about the CHAS program if they’re keen.
I’ve long suspected that taxi drivers might be at higher risk of certain diseases because their job is a tough one – driving long hours, staying in a seated position, having to hold their pee when they don’t have access to a toilet while ferrying a passenger, stress brought on by unfavorable traffic conditions, etc.
What I observed, however, was that many taxi drivers experience eye fatigue and some of them have blood pressures outside of the normal range. One female driver even shared with me her concerns about liver and kidney issues that might come about due to her long working hours (before she managed to find a relief driver) and how she’s worried about getting diabetes. Also, being the sole hirer means she doesn’t get very much rest, and there’s no time to exercise too. Her relief driver thus comes almost as a lifesaver.
And I also noticed that some cabbies walk with a limp, but we won’t be able to tell as passengers.
So the next time a taxi goes past without stopping for you, perhaps it’s because the driver just did not spot you. And if he did, and makes weird hand signals, he might just need to visit the restroom (and how does one communicate via hand signs that one needs to pee?) so don’t get too upset. Despite being in an air-conditioned “environment” all day, the job of a cabby is a tough one.
If you know of a taxi driver who works for Comfort Delgro, share with him/her about the free health screening at the Sin Ming workshop – it’s available from 8.30am to 11.30am (Mondays to Fridays) and they should also fast for about 8 hours before doing the blood test. 🙂 Likewise, if eligible for CHAS (e.g. per capita household income is S$1800 and below), they should also be encouraged to apply for a CHAS card for subsidies at CHAS GP and Dental clinics islandwide. More information here: https://www.chas.sg/
And if you ever meet a grouchy cab driver, know that you have the power to make his day (and your day) brighter; just wish him a great day ahead and share your best smile. 😀 Try it!