It was just half past six in the afternoon, it was dark, and it was raining hard. I was standing on the side of the road, in front of the Citibank building near Plaza Pondok Indah, with just a narrow canopy between me and the violent wind and the pouring rain. I was trying my best to catch any taxi cab, and sadly, there were none of them for the last few minutes… and I was cold without a jacket in a cotton shirt and knee length skirt.
At long last! I saw one heading my way from a distance. I hastily ran out of the shelter and hailed the cab. It was an older cab, possibly a Kotas or a Kosti. Definitely not a Blue Bird, Putra or Express, the only 3 taxicab companies that I can trust. On the other hand, Kotas and Kosti cabs, they’re known to be less safe and trustworthy. On a normal, non-rainy day, I wouldn’t think twice to catch such cabs, for a reason!
“Good evening Pak, turn around at the next u-turn and go towards Pondok Indah Mall.” I ordered as I got in. He didn’t say anything, but he proceeded towards the u-turn 50 metres away. For those of you who don’t know, I live on a street next to the mall, and just about 5-10 minutes drive from the spot I boarded the cab. My destination was conveniently close for me, but apparently not for him.
As we approached the u-turn, he asked me, “How about I charge you a flat fee of Rp. 20.000,-? It’s too close for a metered trip.” I was like, wtf man! As far as I know, all taxicabs in Jakarta must charge by the meter. That’s the rule. So I argued, “Sorry I don’t think so. If you don’t want to turn on the meter, I’d rather get off here, now. I’d like to pay by the meter, please, sir.”
Note: The flag-fall for the trip was Rp. 5000,- and it will cost approximately Rp. 10.000,- on the meter to get to my house, which was HALF the cost he asked for. I knew he was making use of the opportunity, which was the bad weather. Also, he’s a driver for a dodgy cab company. I’m pretty sure and I do hope that Any Blue Bird driver won’t do this!
It was clear that I was bluffing, and I was bluffing hard, cos the rain was pouring even more heavier than ever, and should I get off the cab in protest, there was no shelter anywhere in sight! I’d be drenched to my under-whatevers in no time.
He didn’t say anything again – but after awhile., I observed that he DID turn the meter on for this short short trip. Ha. I won!
Not even 5 minutes later, we arrived at my house. I told him to stop, and I read the meter. Rp. 9.750. Ha, I was right! I opened the door, gave him the Rp. 20.000,- note, and walked out. He was like, “Mbak, wait, your change!” Then I went. “Nah, you keep the change”. With that, I closed the cab door and ran into the house.
I ended up paying Rp. 20.000,- for the trip after all – which was the ridiculous amount he requested, but I didn’t mind. Maybe Rp. 10.000 would mean a lot to him, and I was happy that I could help. But not before I teach him not to take advantage of girls in the rain. Ha!
And so that ends my totally nonsense story for today.