Sunday, 10 March 2013

Xenophobic Driver SHD2609R Lavender Street

Mr Ranjan informs the following on 24/02/2013:

I found your blog when I was trying to find out how to pursue complaints with LTA.
I had a very bad experience with a rude taxi driver yesterday (22nd Feb 2013). Here is a description of what happened.

I, with my wife and our one month old daughter, took a cab from the ICA office to the Tekka Market at around 1 PM. As we got near the destination, I asked the driver to pull up on the right side of the Serangoon Road in front of the Verge Shopping Mall. Since, it is a one way road, stopping on the right hand side is possible. Also, Since, it was sunny and I did not want my daughter to get exposed to the sun. The driver did not respond and pulled up one block ahead. When I asked him that why did he not stop where I asked him - he responded rudely, "cannot lah, you cannot stop there". I settled the fare and got down to take out the baby stroller; my wife and baby were still inside the cab. As I got down, I saw another taxi stopping at the same place where I wanted our cab to stop. I opened the driver side of the front door and told the driver that if other taxis could stop there (pointing to the place, where I wanted him to stop), why couldn't he? At this point he flung open the door and walked agressively towards me, shouting at me "so what, if I did not stop there." When I told him not to shout, he started saying, "I can't stop suddenly, I dont have eyes at the back of my head" etc etc. When I told him again not to shout, he came on my face, continously saying "F### you", all the while I was asking him not to shout. At one point he started saying, "Go back your country" repeatedly. He came so close to me that an onlooker had to tap on his shoulder to stop a possible assault. At this point he went back in the cab. 
As I was fetching my wife and baby from inside the cab, I was talking to my wife about the ignorance and rudeness of the driver, he again came out and started saying, "F#$# you, Go back your country". The driver also asked me to complain and go to the court, if I wished. My baby was in my arms now, so I just took the cab's number.
It was a golden color cab, with the number as SHD2609R. I think he was a Chinese driver, in his mid 50s. As I did not know the company it belonged to, I called up Comfort Cab, telling them that I want to complain about a rude driver. The operator told me that she cannot take the complaint as the cab did not belong to her company. I asked her about where to lodge a complaint as I didn't know the name of the company and she she gave me the LTA number.
I called up LTA and narrated the incident. The officer said if I was willing to go to the court. I told her that I didn't know the law of the land and asked for her advice instead. She said that the officers would investigate the matter and get back to me. She took my name and number. 
My complaint is on 3 counts -
1. Being rude and inconsiderate about the passengers needs. I was travelling with a month old infant
2. Using swear words and coming close to a intimidating/threatening distance
3. Using racist language and asking me to leave the country
Later I found that the cab belonged to Prime company. I called them to lodge a complaint, but they said that as I have reported the LTA, that being a higher authority will do the necessary on this matter.
The reason for writing to you is to find out -
1. What would be the next likely course of action here?
2. What sort of proof or witnesses do I need, in case the matter goes to court? There were a few shop keepers that I can approach for help.
3. Should I expect LTA to call and update me? OR Should I call them to pursue the matter further?
Thank you so much, for patiently reading this. Will look forward to your advise.
Yes, lodging a complaint with LTA is indeed the right move as we have seen how cab companies try to trivialise the matter to maintain their profits. I do think the LTA officer should not have tried to frighten you with questions on whether you would be willing to testify in court because there is so much that needs to transpire before that happens. The authorities are strongly governed by regulations here in Singapore and so the course of action will be followed. The proof and court case issue is actually a separate issue and is about his intimidating behaviour which may be an offence under the Penal Code. As with any agency, efficiency is always a question mark so I would suggest calling back to check after 2 to 3 weeks if there has been no follow-up with you. It is unfortunate that you had to go through that horrible experience but whether there is a concrete outcome or not, it will be recorded in the driver's file so he will think twice about being a ruffian to another passenger again.  Thank you for having the courage to stand up to this bully!