Hong Kong Taxi Drivers Kill Me

Hong Kong Taxi

I have to use taxis in HK all the time and, seeing as I now work in the middle of nowhere, I now rely on them more then ever so, imagine my surprise when I found out they are death traps. Well, not death traps per se but getting in one is very much a case of Russian Roulette; some good, some bad. Yesterday, I had a combination of both. My day at the factory was typically dull, predictable and frustrating but the travelling to and from work was a riot. Yesterday morning I left my home and waited for a Taxi which eventually pulls up. I get in but I notice that there are some bits of glass on the floor and the passenger window is open. Seeing as it’s hot I attempt to wind up the window but, alas, there is no glass in the door. No sir, the window is smashed. Open mouthed I look at my taxi driver who is a mass of hair, anger and noise. As we pull off I attempt tell him my destination just as he sharply swerves to avoid a truck at some lights. Sweet mother of god, the guy is drunk. As he pulls up at some lights I leap out, dodging the traffic around me, and make it to the pavement and await his chasing of me for the 15 dollars on the clock. He doesn’t come and he instead drives off swearing. So let me get this straight, Hong Kong allows smashed up taxis and drunk drivers? Of course not but I’m now all eyes and ears as it seems some are falling through the net. I hailed down another cab which falls into the GOOD category and I get to work alive.

I left work at 7pm and headed back into Central from Aberdeen via the Pok Fu Lam road via a taxi. All going well, we are driving along and then in front of us BANG – another taxi, for no apparent reason. pulls across two lanes and into another car. I have never seen a car crash before but this one was a good one to break my cherry. The Taxi came off worse as the other car had hit the whole of one side and I am pleased to report no deaths were incurred. Pure theater followed as the car driver, and unfortunately for our Taxi driver the car was a shiny new Jag, got out and calmly, but menacingly, walked up to the Taxi driver who was still in his cab rubbing his neck and looking groggy. This poor taxi driver will spend the rest of his life paying that debt off to be sure. As this was going on around us there was the flashing and wailing of Ambulances and Fire Engine sirens which I assumed, were to attend this crash. I was almost impressed as to the speed and efficiency of Hong Kong’s emergency services until I noticed they just sped past leaving our two characters to duel it out for the moment. Leaving this sorry scene we continue our journey for a few more minutes until our two lane highway becomes one thanks to some cones and and signalling Policemen. Now it is clear where the emergency vehicles were speeding to. As the taxi edges along the single lane I can see there has been another, much more serious crash. Most of if has been cleared up save for one, yes you’ve guessed, smashed up taxi cab with one poor soul being given the kiss of life in the back seat. The poor soul being the passenger and not the driver that is for sure. The other thing I noticed was along with the emergency staff was a camera crew filming the whole thing for the news. Do they show car crashes on TV here? It was a sickening sight and one that you cannot describe with words.The crash not the camera crew although that was stomach churning.

Finally, dropped off at my building I get out and kiss the floor in one piece. Three incidents in one day, all featuring taxi drivers. So, my lesson, was a simple but salient one: wear a seatbelt in every cab you get into. Some, not all, of these drivers are idiots and expect the worse. Seeing the poor passenger in the last crash shocked me into realising what not wearing a seat belt can do. I am now no longer blase when it comes to using these red and white death traps.

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