Chennai Fastrack driver on a Wrong Track!

I was in Chennai recently on a personal visit and took Fastrack cab as the means of transport to move around. One day I had an interesting encounter with a taxi driver. As soon as I got into the taxi, I got a message through SMS that I could avail of 10% discount if the taxi is unclean or the driver is not wearing his uniform. I got a similar message the previous day also which I simply ignored. But this time I was tempted to take the message on its face value and try. The vehicle I got into qualified me for the 10% discount on two counts – unclean interiors as well as a dirty driver. I casually asked the driver whether any of his clients managed to get any discount that day. Sensing my displeasure at the untidy vehicle and the driver, he reacted: “Sir, I come from a very poor family – I hail from Tiruvarror and I need to drive day & night to be able to send money to my family back home. Since I do not get any time even to relax, I find it difficult to keep myself and the vehicle clean”. He went on to add that he is resigned to this fate since he is born into a poor family. This at once had the desired effect on me. I said to myself: How cruel of me to think of a 10% discount at the cost of a poor guy like him! At that very moment I decided to give him a 10% bonus over the real fare instead of  claiming a discount! It’s amazing how a little inquiry into a situation could completely change one’s perspective! However, the story doesn’t end there. Here is what happened next:

The cabbie took an hour and a half to reach my destination, which is Virugambakkam. I visited my relative’s place and explained to him how it took  so long to reach his place. When I told him that I travelled from Triplicane to Vurugambakkam via Egmore, he said: ‘You have been taken for a big ride – it’s a very circuitous route’! No wonder I took more than an hour. It also meant that I had to pay a hefty fare. Instantly my impression about the driver changed completely. My sympathy and compassion transformed to a feeling of anger at being cheated. I got into the waiting taxi and gave him a piece of my mind. He was a little perturbed at being caught and had no explanation to offer. On the way back, he took the right route and  we reached Triplicane within 45 minutes!

Now the question before me was what to do with my earlier decision to pay him a 10% bonus. Before I answer this question, let me pose the question to you: What would you have done under similar circumstances? Would you have paid 10% bonus or claimed 10% discount or something completely different? I would love to hear your views.




Published in: on March 28, 2014 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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