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A Day in A Life of A... Taxi Driver

By my queenstown on Monday, July 26, 2010 with 1 comment

Long and erratic working hours seemed to be a prominent feature of taxi drivers in Singapore. The rush hour jams and increased surcharges over the past few years have heightened our expectations of drivers in delivering reliable standards of services. Today, we shall follow Mr Tan Bak Heng, 49, on his Citycab and find out more about his life as a taxi driver.

Mr Tan & his "darling"

Mr Tan started his career as a taxi driver in 1993 after he obtained his taxi licence from the then TIBS Company (currently known as SMRT). He recalls undergoing the three month licence course where he had to travel twice a week to TIBS Ang Mo Kio branch. Currently, he rents his cab six days a week from his partner at a rate of $51 per day. His work day starts from 4 pm to 4 am every day, except on Tuesday when he takes a break.

At 4pm, Mr Tan takes over the taxi from his partner. He would then drive around Singapore and goes wherever his customers request him to. He keeps himself updated on the directory of roads by first following the passenger's instructions, then remembering them so that he can go to the same place again. He will have to follow his passenger's instructions if they insist on travelling a particular route.

Mr Tan at Work!

In his 18 years of experience, Mr Tan also got to know the various nicknames that Queenstown residents give to their residential areas. For example, when a customer describes ‘16 storey’ flat in Hokkien, Mr Tan understands that he has travel to Commonwealth Crescent. Similarly, ’10 storey’ flats or ‘Chap Lau Chu’  is also known as Tanglin Halt.

Break for lunch!

During his breakfast or lunchtime, Mr Tan will travel around Queenstown for delicious food. One stall that recommends is the handmade stall in Ghim Moh Kopitiam Branch.  Furthermore, on his "rest days" in the past, he will visit the club next to Queenstown Remand Prison for a session of billiards and mahjong.

Asked if he had heard or experienced any interesting stuff which driving, he lamented about how drunken customers had made a mess in his car. He often had no choice but to pick up drunkards and he hopes that they would not throw up in his vehicle. ‘I have to clean for hours after removing the back seatings and floor mats. The smell would stay in the car for days and customers would complain and refuse to take my cab. I could place charcoal and guava leaves in the car to remove the stench.’

At the end of his work day, Mr Tan heads to the Comfort diesel kiosk in Defu Lane Avenue 1 to top up his gas before passing the vehicle to his partner. He spends 40 minutes washing up his car before handing it over to his partner. ‘Cleanliness is a virtue and I would always want to work in a conducive and hygienic environment!’

Mr Tan washes his cab

Let’s wish Mr Tan the best in his career!

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Category: A Day in a Life of A...



Jet rentals said...
February 13, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Nothing comes free but that doesn't mean you would have to pay a huge sum every time you buy or hire something. When you have decided to hire a taxi you need to judge and compare among the options available to you. There would be companies which might charge you real high prices without providing proper services.

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