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The six types of taxi drivers in KL

Written by
Joyce Koh

There are always some nice cabbies that are up for a good chat about politics and the best places to eat – the ones who will leave your faith in humanity intact after the ride. But then there are some that have made us loyal fans of Uber forever.

1. The Best Actor
...takes every performance seriously. He uses the meter, wants to do you a favour, and has lots of helpful suggestions on different routes to ‘avoid traffic’. And then the show begins. The Best Actor purposely takes the wrong route to give the metre a good run. Once, we got into a premier cab that went in and out of the city THREE times while the driver kept acting ‘surprised’ that each route he took was jammed. It would have been a convincing performance if the bill didn’t reach such heights.

2. The Stalker a surprisingly common species. On the whole, taxi drivers are a rather talkative crowd. When you drive alone for hours, one can be in need of company. We don’t mind chatting with drivers over social injustice, their kids, the weather or food. But weirdly, the Stalker seems bent on compiling a file on you. Sample questions: Where do you stay? What time do you leave for work? What time do you come back from work? It’s enough to make us squirm in discomfort and write mental notes to buy pepper spray and security systems. Stalkers, if you want to propose a carpool solution, just tell us. This line of questioning won’t increase our trust in you.

3. The Rookie
This newcomer to the world of taxi drivers must not have understood his job description very well. Taxi drivers transport people to the places they need to go. Keyword: where they need to go. We understand your ignorance if we’re heading to obscure locations that no one has ever heard of. But then the rookies enter the scene, the very picture of innocence and ignorance. How can a taxi driver not know the way to KL Sentral? These rides inevitably result in a flurry of calls to the driver’s support hotline (why are you on the phone while driving anyway?), hair-raising sudden turns, well-deserved honks from fellow motorists and a bag of shot nerves at the end of the journey. You need a road map.

4. The Diva
The Diva's stage is set during rush hour. You are hobbling along on blistered feet, carrying back-breaking bags, inhaling cancer-causing fumes and trying to wave down a taxi, all at the same time. The Diva pulls up, winds down the window by half an inch, and grudgingly spares a few moments of his time for this filthy creature by the road. Once he hears your destination, an expression of horror creases up his baby-smooth skin and he’ll shake his head as if to say, ‘We don’t go to Mordor, dear sir. Find yourself another steed.’

5. The Mafioso
There is no better name for them. Without their bright red and yellow cars with ‘taxi’ signs, we won’t even be able to identify them as taxi drivers in the first place. Usually seen in hotspots such as Changkat Bukit Bintang and major shopping malls, these dudes are pack animals, taking on their victims in large numbers. They refuse to use the metre, quote exorbitant ‘flat rate’ prices, and gang up on you, smug in the knowledge that you won’t be able to find another way out of this hellhole without them. If you manage to get away, there’s always another victim desperate enough to say yes.

6. The One
True love is hard to come by. If you have found him, waste no time and ask for his number immediately. This prized species hones his craft to perfection, and we are lucky to have met a few. The guy knows his way, uses untampered metres, drives safely, always has change, and his taxi is clean and smoke-free. The One is downright nice and when you leave the car, you are super surprised that this taxi driver has no flaws at all. If he returns lost items to you, make arrangements to hire him as your personal driver as soon as possible. Better yet, share his number with us.

Got a taxi-driver type you wish to share? Let us know in the comments.

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