There're honest cabbies in KL

Recent reports in the dailies, including "Tempered meters" (Sunday Star, 24 Sept) give a general impression that cabbies in the Klang Valley are by and large a dishonest lot.

Not often that I have to use the services of taxis in Kuala Lumpur. But on occasions that I needed them I found the cabbies to be honest and polite.

Allow me to narrate my latest encounter with a cabby a couple of weeks ago when my wife and I went to the Russian Embassy in Jalan Ampang to apply for the tourist visas to visit Russia.

As usual, on that morning I drove my car from PJ and parked it at the Lake Club. I took a taxi from there to the Embassy.

After obtaining our visas at nearly 1.00 pm, we hailed a taxi in front of the Russian Embassy to take us back to the Lake Club.

The cabby was friendly and we started a small chat. He said he just had his lunch and asked us whether we had ours. I told him though we were hungry we could wait until we reached our destination where we would have our lunch.

The streets at that time were jam-packed with vehicles moving at a snail pace in both directions. The cabby tried his best, without breaking traffic rules, to use alternative routes, which he thought would have less traffic. But before he used an alternative route, he would ask for my consent.

It looked like the whole city was jammed with traffic. He became tensed and impatient. Finally after more than half an hour in the jam, he managed to get into Kampong Bahru where the traffic was lighter.

He then became more relaxed and asked us whether he could stop in one of the "warong" for us to take a small bite. We thanked him but told him to proceed with the journey.

We finally reached Lake Club after nearly an hour on the road. The cabby was visibly pleased that the ordeal was over.

I saw the amount of RM9.30 shown on the meter and gave him a RM10 note. He thanked me and apologized for delaying our lunch.

I might be lucky to encounter only the good cabbies all these years. But there are always some black sheep.

So we cannot generalize and assume that the majority of the cabbies in the Klang Valley are dishonest.

An edited version of the above was published in The Star on 26 Sept 06. 2008