Thursday, August 7, 2008

Smoking cabs

This topic really gets me on my nerves. Why is it that taxi drivers need to smoke in their cabs? It was never a problem before, but since the ban on smoking in coffeeshops, I noticed a steep incline in drivers smoking. Have they no consideration for the passengers who use their services? It is their bread and butter thus shouldn't they take proper care of their working environment? Is it the rising costs of living, or the ban in eating places, or they just simply do not care since everyone is doing it?

I had an experience about 3yrs ago, and it wasn't a problem yet at that time, but I had the misfortune of calling a Trans cab (not sure if that's the name of the company, it was a red cab) during peak hours, so you know there's already a surcharge on top of the booking fee. There was a very long queue at the taxi stand and I had my girl with me and we had to rush home thus couldn't wait in line. So he pulled up and once I entered the cab, the smoke hit me. It was fresh smoke, which means he had just smoked on his way to pick us up. Fumbling with a little kid and bags etc, I had to take it. I didn't have the energy to reject the cab. But I let it be known to him that I wasn't happy at all. You know what his reply was? Oh, that is not smoke, it's the smell from the zhi char stall. That got me fuming! Was thinking to myself, you think I'm the age of my 3-yr-old daughter?? I wound down the windows and refused to speak to him the entire journey even though he was trying to mend things. One retort from the drivers (hubby can attest to that) is that the person who was in the cab before us had smoked and they couldn't stop them . Classic! Try a better excuse next time.

In the past year, it has gotten very bad. When I call for a cab, as it is, the fares are exorbitant, so I don't see any reason why I should pay to suffer and put my & my family's health at risk. Even when my dad used to smoke, my sis and I would banish him out to the balcony with the sliding door closed over. Thank God he has quit now for quite a number of years. I always say to people, if my dad can quit, so can you. He's been smoking for so long and he even used to work for a company that retails cigarettes, and worse of all, the staff were given cartons of cigs every month.

These days, since my girl is older and easier to handle, I reject taxis which pull up stinking of cigarette smoke. I don't care what they think. If they were responsible, they shouldn't do it in the cab. Some smell like the nightclub the morning after as all the smells have been absorbed by the leather etc over time. It is pretty disgusting. I often see them on the roads with their windows wound down puffing away. I also never flag for cabs with a window wound down for that reason. I hate it that I've always showered, washed my hair, and then step into a cab and come out of the ride smelling like a smoker. That disgusts me to no end.

The other thing that I used to do when I called for a cab after my many unpleasant experiences was to request for a smoke-free cab. The operator gets a shock when he/she hears my request and they usually say, but the drivers are not allowed to smoke in there. Well, tell it to your drivers then! That option didn't work well for me as sometimes the driver arrives early and will step out of their cabs to have a puff. The smell of course goes on their clothes, so now I say, give me a cab with a non-smoking driver. ;)

Am I being too sensitive? Well, maybe I am but I do not care. That's the stand I take about smoking and and I strongly believe that I am not wrong to protect my family and I. Someone once said that I can't protect my girl forever, but where her health is concerned, I will protect her for as long as I can. As for smokers who do not care about others but simply blow smoke into faces, well, I can't stop my girl from turning her nose up at them. Who will protect you if you don't protect yourself? Therefore, I ask you, is the rapid increase in taxi charges justifiable if we are given such shoddy service?


Jori said...

You are not alone in your disgust with the smell of cigarette smoke. My eldest son (15) will actually leave the area if someone is smoking in it. No one we know smokes in their homes - in fact, very few that we know even smoke! - but it is very illegal to smoke in most public places in Ontario, Canada now. People can even be charged if they smoke in their vehicles with children under 16 in them!
Keep asking for what you want/need. You are paying for the service - they need to provide what you are paying for!

Camemberu said...

Oh you are not alone! I hate smoky cabs too, and have slammed the door shut on some, simply by reflex.

Honestly, regardless of the price I'm paying, I would not want to ride in any smoke-filled vehicle.

Mochachocolata Rita said...

hmm maybe propose to the government to get that banned too?

HK Choo said...

Can try complaining to the cab company? I also dislike the cig smoke, so I will not hesitate to close my nose when someone puffs away near me. Even before choosing a table at the eatery, I will scan around to see if there is any smoker near the table we opted, much for being fanatical. You're not alone, Deb.

SIG said...

Hey girls, thanks for all your feedback to let me know that I am not alone. Wow, I wish that they would charge these people for smoking in their vehicles. And yes, camemberu, I agree. Even before the price hike, I was already closing the door on them smoker drivers. You are too right, Jori. I'm paying for a service and I expect it to reach my expectations.

rita - Hmm... I don't know if that is possible.

hk choo - The company is useless. I've tried that channel.

It's just great to know that I'm not a weirdo. ;P