Tale of the Professional Commuter

Dec 4 , 2021
By Kidist Yidnekachew ( Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at kidyyidnekachew@gmail.com. )

Someone who uses a taxi as often as I do has many stories to tell. For instance, it often stands out for me how much of a risk taxi drivers like to take. It is unnerving to watch them drive confidently in narrow lanes racing big trucks and cement mixers, cutting lines, and nearly crashing into other cars. It is a wonder that they do not get into more accidents.

As much as the service taxi drivers offer is appreciated, it is impossible not to be annoyed by their greed. I am always in a hurry; thus I try to get on the last full taxi I can find, squished between passengers. Taxi assistants can be as useful as they are misleading. I often ask them where to get a taxi to a place and they are cooperative most of the time. Sometimes though, they can give people the wrong directions, just to get them inside of an empty taxi.

It is not just the drivers and the assistants that are annoying, though. Some passengers ask to get off seconds after the taxi had started moving. There could be exceptions for certain people carrying stuff or having a physical disability. Otherwise, it would not kill anyone to walk a certain distance.

No wonder then that many taxi drivers are testy. Doing the same manual work repeatedly and often driving in a poorly ventilated car no matter how warm or cool, it does not take much for them to get impatient. They cannot even stand for one minute without looking for another route they can take, even when they know it is a dead end. Even three-wheel vehicle (bajaj) drivers, surprisingly enough, are brave enough to think they can race trucks and get away in one piece.

The other day I was in a bajaj. There was a black Land Cruiser in front of him that was waiting for another car to come out from a turn but the bajajcould not even wait for a minute. He was getting irritated looking for another way but the road was narrow and on top of that cars were parked and the only option was to wait until the land cruiser moved out of the way.

The other thing that irritates me about drivers is when they try to cut lines like they have the audacity to come from behind and pull in front of another car that has been waiting in line for minutes. It is unfair.

What do they think the other cars are doing, posing for a car show?

The same people are probably the ones that cut lines in queues, which inconsiderate people do. I get the urge to cut lines too, but it is an insult to the people standing and waiting patiently. A similarly lacking driving etiquette is people honking at other cars, knowing full well that those cars do not have a choice. It may be a way of relieving stress to the drivers behind the wheels who are honking, but it is pointless to the rest of us folks.

Impatience on the road could lead to accidents. I was recently almost a witness to a car running over a woman. He did not stop when the others cars stopped and sped over. When we approach other cars and we see that they are either slowing down or stopping, then we should at least hold the brakes and check out what is going on. I have witnessed on several occasions many being missed by inches. They were the lucky ones, but many have lost their lives to a speeding driver too. Had the driver taken a second to drive slowly, lives would have been saved. If only! Pedestrians also have to slow down when they cross the road instead of running to get to the other end of it.

PUBLISHED ON Dec 04,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1127]

Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at kidyyidnekachew@gmail.com.

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