Taxi drivers vs Melbourne

This is not so much a comment about the safety of the drivers, but taxi drivers in general.  Inspired by a post over on Melbourne Metblogs.

Taxi drivers, I believe, are professional drivers.  Professionals in that they get paid to drive you from one location to another location of your choosing.  Lets break that down shall we?

Driving: there is a large body of laws and regulations regarding the operation of a motor vehicle on the roads and highways.  It includes many simple things like speed limits, indicating when a change of lane or direction is desired, and how to follow the lines on a road when turning a corner through an intersection.  It also covers more arcane things like when the use of high-beams is permitted and what to do when another motorist is in distress.  Of the many taxi drivers of many many nationalities that I have encountered, there have been less than 5 that I think would pass a driving exam.  Take some pride in your work people!  Make an effort, know the rules – even the sillier ones, and use them!  I’m sure it doesn’t help that their employers just don’t care; there is no incentive to improve.  Have you ever called a taxi company to make a comment on a drivers performance, or the DoI?  I have never heard people more uninterested in my life.

Location: Police, Fire, and Ambulance services don’t generally have GPS navigation devices – the reason stated is usually that the money could be better spent on life saving equipment, etc.  Their professional drivers are instead expected to know how to get just about anywhere in Melbourne, and to be able to read a map in a moments notice when necessary.  Is it so much to expect this from Taxi drivers?  So they are new to the city perhaps?  A modest up-front (credit-paid, tax-claimable, interest-free for 12-months) fee for the purchase of a GPS navigation device would pay for itself within days or weeks in efficiencies gained through better navigation.

Of course, I write all this in the presumption of innocence, that they do this from incompetence or lack of effort.  I believe this is largely the case, but have definitely had some very shonky drivers.  One for example doubled the fare at the last moment and then tried to deny it.  Sure, it always costs $90 to get to Mill Park from the city at 11pm.  Nice try buddy, but I’m sure it works often enough to make it worthwhile for him to try.

Feeling ranty?  Have a go!