Friday, November 30, 2012

News Flash: Paula attacks Bogotá taxista!

I am sooo glad to not own a car here in Bogotá, making me one of the 85% of the 13 million  folks in town who depend on their feet, the buses, the TransMilenio and, of course, the taxis.
At last count, there are 40,000 of the little yellow beasts here, which number is controlled by the ownership of a cupo, the city's permission to drive maniacally, creatively make lanes where they don't exist, honk the horn continuously, and do it all cheerfully while counseling your passengers on how to avoid bad taxi drivers.  All for a controlled, and lousy fee.  And by the way, most drive for 12 hours a day, 6 days per week.  And by the way #2, the cupo now is bought and sold for around 75 million pesos, or about $40,000.00 US, which is about four times the cost of the little yellow beast itself.  
When I ask them, the average tenure of the taxi driver is about 8 years, ranging from zero to 37.  We found the zero yesterday.   
A disgruntled previous passenger warned us as he disembarked, "He doesn't know where he is."
Surely, we thought, a taxi driver?  Not know where he is?  Pfff!
He didn't have a Bogotá clue.  We were in no particular hurry, I remembered the first day on many jobs, and I had sympathy for a fellow newbie and human being.
But no, not a clue did he possess.  When I directed him to head generally toward the left, he made for the right, finally completing a giant circle, all the while the meter ticking off its digital accounting.  
When we finally arrived, the charitable feelings were about shot.  I asked what the fare would be, and without even looking at the fare card, he answered "ten mil pesos."
OK, I admit it.  This is only a representation of the actual event.  I was too busy trying to grab Paula's hands as they went for the guy's neck, and I couldn't reach the camera.  I don't know what the penalty here in Colombia is for assault with intent to kill , but I wasn't about to find out.
I tossed the guy five mil pesos, which was about 20% over what it should have been and departed the vehicle.  A couple of buckets of cold water over her head, and Paula was like brand new.  
We hope that your taxi drivers know where they are, wherever they are.
Dave & Paula

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