A friend recently shared a picture of a white taxi driver waiting for passengers. The picture didn’t show whether he was shouting “Nyabo ogenda?”, “Sebbo, tugende?” or “Sir, will you use the transport services of this beat-down vehicle?” You know how pictures be – worth far less than a thousand words, they can’t even tell you what the people are saying. I’m not sure whether fellow taxi drivers gave Mr. Smith (the picture didn’t indicate his name so let’s jump to conclusions together) the taxi traffic code. In the event that they didn’t (and for the benefit of anyone who intends to drive a taxi), I’ll go ahead and share the taxi traffic code in a two-part series. Here are the rules:
Don’t ever give a turn signal or ‘indicate’. Indicating is for people who don’t have other things to do while driving. That’s not you. You have to keep focussed on getting your passengers to their destination quickly – indicating slows you down.
Stop at will. No matter where you are, you have the right to stop wherever you want – even in the middle of the road. Everyone can wait. You are their pastor today – teaching them a thing or two about patience in affliction. The stray sheep who feel they don’t want the lesson can find space round you and proceed to their non-exciting destination.
Related to stopping the car at will, start the car at will. You have lots of passengers and they, not you, are an impatient lot. Start the car, turn it into the road and go. Everyone ought to see you coming and make adjustments.
The customer is king…only when he’s outside the taxi. Once inside, you own him. He can’t say anything about how you are driving, what you are listening to or what you are saying. The standard response to any complaint is, “Go buy your own car”. You can sugar-coat this in various ways depending on how good you feel that day.
Taxis generally grow up on a diet consisting of fuel that costs less than Shs. 5,000. They can only stomach that much at a go, regardless of how far they are going. Do not attempt to feed yours on anything more than that lest it dies from indigestion or related ailments. Have you seen all those taxis that give-up along the way and you have to stop and take their passengers? Well, they tried to turn their taxis into fuel gluttons. Don’t be like them.