Taxis in New York

 

Among the realms of taxi drivers there is always a small minority of scoundrels. In Saigon, though, this small minority seems to be getting larger.

 

A recent email that did the rounds ended up collecting together four anecdotes on taxi scams. The first was sent out on Mar. 18 by a resident of An Phu to the An Phu Neighbours group on Google (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

“Today my parents took the taxi to come back from District 1 to An Phu,” it read. “It cost them VND800,000. Did I miss something? I had told them that the fare is usually around VND80,000. Where's the trick?"

 

Opening the Floodgates

 

From here the responses began flooding in. One writer complained of a driver from a well-known local taxi company making off with her Louis Vuitton bag and iPod. Another left their computer in the taxi of another high-profile local company. To get it back he had to pay VND1million.

 

Someone else had an even worse experience. Popping out of the taxi for a second, the driver drove off with all his belongings inside – a computer, passports and a whole host of other important documents. Witnesses saw the taxi take off and the man made a police report. When the taxi company was confronted a meeting was held between the authorities and the director. Seven months later the crime is still ‘unsolved’.

 

Caution

 

These incidents have caused the various victims to take precautions, and with petty crime in Saigon growing at an exponential rate, it is well to take note. To follow is some advice, made up largely from the content of the emails:

 

1) Always look at the taxi number before getting in and getting out

 

2) If there is a challenge over the taxi fare, try taking a photo of the driver with your telephone. This usually gets them to back down

 

3) Even though ‘reputable’ taxi companies seem to have a minority of not so reputable drivers, providing you follow advice 1) and 2), if there’s a problem you will have a chance of getting it resolved

 

4) Always take taxis from companies with well-known names. This should in theory help you avoid being ripped off with your fare

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