Thursday, February 26, 2009

GRITS, GUTS, AND GRINS!


Taxi!!!

Queen Latifah is one hell of a driver, if she was really driving the motorcycle and cab in the movie, Taxi. She's so fun to watch. She has her ways of making people laugh. She's original. This movie reminds of the so many taxi drivers here in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

Unlike in the early 80s, taxicabs now in cities like Dammam, Al-Khobar, Jeddah, and Riyadh are plenty. There's no problem flagging down cabs anywhere even during rush hours. There are more taxis than there are passengers to rent them.

The long hours taxi drivers have to put in to eke out a living add to their cup of sorrow. It is invariably 14 to 16 hours daily, with the work day beginning for most drivers at 4:30 a.m. In spite of the tedious work, most of them have more days than riyals to count by the middle of the month.

Gone are the good old days when they used to make up to SR3,000 a month after expenses. Most taxi companies charge the drivers who work for them a flat daily rate of SR120 to SR130, and anything they earn up and above they keep for themselves. Considering the fact that they have to pay for petrol, repairs to the car, their own medical costs and their exit/re-entry visas, there is nothing much left over.

Another problem faced by taxi drivers is the constant abuse they face from passengers. More and more are falling victims of harrasment, which generates an air of mistrust between the driver and the passenger.

Their hardships are many. But they are used to them. What amazes a casual rider is the guys' ability to take hardships in their stride and put on a disarming smile.


21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can relate to this article. I made a lot of taxicab drivers in my years of stay here. There are good and bad drivers, but most of them speak the same language.

Rudd said...

I think something is wrong with this pc. I made it a point to press the correct button, but it isn't working right.

Kudos a well-written articles about our cab friends.

Bay Martin said...

@ Anon,

Are you saying, you met or made friends with many taxicab drivers here. Some are really friendly, some are rude.

Bay Martin said...

@ Rudd,

I am glad, too, most of the taxicab drivers here are friendly and not picky.

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And she's very confident! She's very wholesome, too!

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