I think, therefore I harm
I am not sure about taxi drivers in other metropolises as I haven’t seriously visited any, but here in Montréal I have a serious problem with taxi drivers.
Don’t get me wrong. I respect them as people, as I understand they are trying to make a living with a difficult job. Well, an easy one actually, as driving people around is an easy job. But they have poor work conditions: Low wage, long hours…. I don’t have a problem with the fact that none of them is white, either. After all, immigrants are not stealing our jobs, they are merely filling up positions which we would not stand.
I previously lived 15 years in a smaller city and I can honestly say that I never had a problem with a taxi driver there. My experience then was both as a user and as another driver, and I can sincerely say that I was pleased with them in general. They were just some other cars in the traffic which you would barely notice.
Now after two years in the big city, I can barely stand a taxi within a hundred meters of me. Not as a user (as I’ve not used taxi in recent memories) but as another driver. I often wonder if a driver license is even required to get a taxi license. I wonder if perhaps both come as a bundle which you can retrieve from the bottom of a box of Froot Loops when chance turns.
Taxi drivers will constantly cut me off, turn without signaling, overspeed in slow areas or underspeed in the fast lane. They will turn left in intersections where it is prohibited, run over late yellow lights or cut off pedestrians which are crossing the street (in this area of the world, pedestrians have absolute priority at intersections). They will cut waiting lines in congested bridge access, because their clients cannot possibly wait 20 minutes just like I did in order to cross the bridge and get home. They will go through an intersection as the light turns yellow, even if there is no place for their car on the other side, and completely blocking the intersection for the cars going in the other direction as their light turns green. And as the number one reason I hate them, taxis will stop right in the middle of a busy street during peak hour with no warning, turn their hazards on and wait for their client right there for minutes, blocking 40 cars behind them, while there was a perfect empty parking spot just 20 meters ahead on the side, as if their client was too moron to notice them there. All I can assume is that taxi drivers in Montréal are above all laws and are not subjected to the traffic rules which we, the rest of us, are bound to.
Expressing my opinion to the extend of what is permitted by the law, I tried to honk at them, to yell at them when their window was down, and even telling them how much I hate them for acting as if the traffic rules didn’t apply to them, nothing ever worked. I assume that there is a suggested get away plan printed on the back of a taxi license, which you get from cereal boxes, that says that whatever the angry citizen do or say, they should keep a poker face and calmly reply “Move on” because that’s all I always got from my attempts at showing them how much I hate them.
Mind you, I drive a car for a living too. Maybe not as much as they do, but I suppose a monthly average of just under 2400 km for work purpose isn’t negligible. Half of my job is to pick employees and take them to the scheduled work place and back home safely, in a vehicle which is much larger than a taxi. I obey all traffic rules (and had been punished by a fine the few times I didn’t — hey we all do mistakes!). Whatever happens, I remain calm and safe. Except for when there is a taxi in the vicinity.